The rising cases of indiscipline among school-going children in Kenya have led to calls for corporal punishment to be reintroduced.
The Cabinet Secretary for Education Prof George Magoha last week recommended reintroducing the cane, sparking a national conversation. Speaking in Kisii, Prof Magoha attributed students’ unrest in schools and attacks on teachers to the withdrawal of the cane as a punishment tool.
“I may appear old school but I think we are at a time when we need to discuss how we can bring sanity in our schools and maybe bring the cane on board once more,” said the Prof.
However, the Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) has opposed the cane, saying it would only make matters worse.
‘We will not accept the return of corporal punishment which will put our teachers in conflict with the learners. If they want to return it, let them post police officers to schools who will be doing the caning job because these teenagers are likely to kill the teachers,” said KNUT Secretary General Wilson Sossion.
Speaking at Afraha High School in Nakuru, Sossion said indiscipline among learners is a result of a lack of parental responsibility.
According to Sossion, boarding schools be abolished instead to allow parents to spend more time with their children.
“Parents have a greater responsibility in the upbringing of their children. It is time for this country to abolish all boarding schools and have state-of-the-art day schools.
“Last year’s long break has exposed how parents have abdicated their roles on parenting. We want the parents to regain their skills of guiding their children after work as the work of the teachers is to impart knowledge and values between 8 am to 5 pm,” he said.
“This should be the best reforms alongside employing more teachers and ensuring we have state of the art facilities in the schools,” Sossion added.
The teachers’ representative also noted that a section of education stakeholders would likely oppose the proposal to abolish boarding schools.
“We know this is a lucrative business. If the investors resist, they should be ready for the chaos experienced in the past weeks of arson and assault that have left schools counting losses,” said Sossion, adding that developed countries have fully adopted the day school system.
“Europe and the United States are doing this. We shouldn’t continue to live with the colonial mentality that girls should be confined in schools to avoid circumcision and to stop boys from engaging in cattle rustling and other alike activities,” he said.