Comment on protocol on corporal punishment – minister
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