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Kenya’s government wants caning re-introduced in schools

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Corporal punishment has been widely accepted as negative way of disciplining children whether at home or at school.

For many activists against the practice, the human rights of these children are violated when caned.

Corporal punishment is said to have serious effects on the health, safety and security of children as well as increasing the risk of physical abuse.

Many countries have abolished caning in schools, replacing that with other forms of punishments that don’t inflict injuries on children.

Kenya was one of those countries that banned caning in schools in 2001 but the government is having a change of mind.

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Education minister of the country Prof. George Magoha has announced his desire to have corporal punishment reintroduced in schools.

He said that is the only way to curb what he calls the rising cases of indiscipline among students.

There have been several reports of riots, arson attacks and attacks on teachers executed by students.

The education minister believes caning students will help reduce criminal activities among students.

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Last month the Magoha was quoted as saying at an event that “Learners will not commit crimes and walk scot-free. We shall ensure that these situations are neutralized before they escalate.”

“They must be caned and we shall authorize teachers to punish them,” Magoha added.

Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) seems to disagree with the idea of having caning back in schools.

Kenya education minister
Education CS Prof. George Magoha addressing the press at St Josephs Nyabururu primary school, Kisii (Sammy Omingo,Standard)

Secretary General of the Union, Wilson Sossion said the reintroduction of caning in schools will put students, parents and teachers on a collision path.

“If the government believes that caning will change badly brought up children, let them station a police officer in every school to do that. It [corporal punishment] is also against the rights of children which we stand for as a country,” Sossion said.

For now it appears Kenyan educational stakeholders are divided over the issue and it is yet to be seen how they will react to the eventual re-introduction of caning in schools.

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