Com­ment on pro­to­col on cor­po­ral pun­ish­ment – min­is­ter

Saturday Star - - NEWS -

A PRO­TO­COL es­tab­lish­ing uni­for m stan­dards to deal with teach­ers guilty of cor­po­ral pun­ish­ment and sex­ual as­sault has been ap­proved by the Coun­cil of Ed­u­ca­tion Min­is­ters (CEM) and would be out for pub­lic com­ment soon, Ba­sic Ed­u­ca­tion Min­is­ter Angie Moshekga said yes­ter­day.

“This pro­to­col deals with the def­i­ni­tions of what con­sti­tutes cor­po­ral pun­ish­ment, in­clud­ing in­stances where learn­ers are pub­licly hu­mil­i­ated by ed­u­ca­tors,” said Mot­shekga.

She said de­spite it be­ing out­lawed 20 years ago, im­ages and videos from so­cial me­dia show cor­po­ral pun­ish­ment is still very much alive in South African schools with “dis­turb­ing statis­tics” in­di­cat­ing that more than half of chil­dren in schools were still ex­pe­ri­enc­ing the phe­nom­e­non.

Some prov­inces had higher rates of cor­po­ral pun­ish­ment than other.

The rate of pupils re­port­ing phys­i­cal pun­ish­ment by teach­ers in KwaZulu-Natal was as high as 71%.

Cases in Gaut­eng had de­creased to 34% while the Western Cape was as low as 20%.

The pro­to­col sets out a min­i­mum set of sen­tences for those who have been found guilty of a form of cor­po­ral pun­ish­ment.

“For ex­am­ple, is a teacher is found guilty of (as­sault with the in­tent to do) griev­ous bod­ily harm that is a dis­miss­able of­fence and teach­ers who phys­i­cally harm learn­ers will lose their jobs.”

Mot­shekga said while the ed­u­ca­tion sec­tor had largely agreed on the pro­to­col, par­ents still needed to com­ment.

“In the mean­time, the law stands that if a teacher is found to have a re­la­tion­ship with a child, its a dis­miss­able of­fence.

“The cor­po­ral pun­ish­ment, it’s a law that has been out­lawed…”

Teach­ers would be trained in al­ter­na­tive dis­ci­pline prac­tices as part of the phas­ing in of the new pro­to­col.

Mot­shegka said she was dis­gusted by news that a prin­ci­pal and two teach­ers at a school in KwaZulu-Natal had gang raped a pupil.

“My at­ti­tude to that is one of com­plete dis­gust, dis­ap­point­ment and pain around this thing.”

Re­port­ing back on a school in Ku­ru­man in the North­ern Cape where it was al­leged that many girls had fallen preg­nant, Mot­shekga said their in­ves­ti­ga­tion showed that 16 girls had fallen preg­nant at the school over a pe­riod of three years.

Three of the pupils had been im­preg­nated by teach­ers. – ANA

The Min­is­ter of Ba­sic Ed­u­ca­tion, Angie Mot­shekga

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