The President of Tanzania John Magufuli has lauded a senior government official for caning a group of high school students.
The students who were caned while lying face down were accused of setting fire to their dormitories.
A regional commissioner, Albert Chalamila was seen in a video caning the students.
The commissioner’s action was condemned by a government minister but President Magufuli thinks otherwise.
He disagreed with opinions that physically punishing students is an abuse of their human rights.
‘’I have spoken to Mbeya regional commissioner [Mr Chalamila], and I told him: ‘You did a great job caning them’.
“He should have caned them even more. Those who advocate for human rights should pay for the dormitories – these buildings were built by poor parents’ contributions,’’ the president said.
Magufuli said the law on corporal punishment needs to be changed to allow all teachers to beat students.
Tanzanian laws discourage teachers and heads of schools from resorting to corporal punishment.
To punish students by caning, teachers must have a strong reason to do so. They are then limited to four strokes.
But Magufuli intends relaxing the rules and deciding when resorting to corporal punishment might be appropriate.
In many African societies, caning is used as a major form of punishment for children and students.
But there has been a lot of activism by human rights organisations for corporal punishment to be banned from schools.