Parents whose children return from schools with signs that they have been caned, are at liberty to deal with the teachers involved.
Director of the Guidance and Counselling Unit of the Ghana Education Service (GES) , Ivy Kumi, who gave this charge insists caning students without recourse to the approved alternative sanctions provided by the GES amounts to assault, hence parents should do all they can to take on the teacher in question.
Madam Kumi, who was on CITI TV’s The Point of View said “since caning and all other corporal punishments are forms of abuse, parents can take it up. If a teacher beats a child and he or she suffers marks on the body, it is an abuse. The student has been battered and the parent can decide to report to the police.”
The GES has reiterated its ban on corporal punishment which is mostly caning in primary and secondary schools ordering all schools to immediately adopt a new disciplinary toolkit together with alternative sanctions as measures for correcting pupils and students in schools.
The toolkit indicated that “apart from the physical pain corporal punishment inflicts on children, this approach also causes significant emotional damage. Some of the lasting effects of this method of disciplining school children include physical scars, emotional scars (trauma, fear, timidity etc.) and violent behaviour.”
Ghanaians and major bodies who matter in the education sector have expressed mixed reaction over the subject which gained national interest as they continue to weigh its pros and cons.
Corporal punishment drives students away from school
Additionally, Ivy Kumi intimated that, the fear of being canned, knocked on the head, pinched or asked to kneel down in school is a contributory factor of the high rate of school drop out usually recorded.
“Corporal punishment has physical, psychological and emotional disadvantages for the child. It has kept a number of our students out of school. So in order to keep our students in school, we needed to completely ban corporal punishment in school because of its negative effects. It is not doing us any good. We need to find other ways of disciplining the Ghanaian Child because it does not encourage them to be in school.”
The National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT) has asked it members not to go contrary to the Ghana Education Service’s (GES) directive that bans them from caning their students.
According to the association, a strict adherence to the order will be in their interest and save them from any punitive measure the service is likely to take against them.
President of NAGRAT, Angel Carbonu who believes using corporal punishment to discipline the child is the way to go, advised teachers to be mindful of whatever sanction the GES will take against them in default.
“In the new code of conduct for teachers, it is stated clearly that when a teacher beats a student, the teacher will be arraigned before the disciplinary committee depending on the gravity of situation. Therefore, I call on my teachers that as we speak today, there is a ban on corporal punishment. If you are a Maths or English teacher, go to the school and teach, carry your books and move out so that you will not be arraigned before a court that you have battered their child so that you are saved.”
Ban on caning will break down discipline in schools – Methodist Bishop warns
Ghana risks a total breakdown of discipline in schools and within the larger Ghanaian society, if the Ghana Education Service, GES, continues to relax caning, otherwise known as corporal punishment in schools.
That’s according to Rt. Rev. Samuel K. Osabutey, Diocesan Bishop of Accra, Methodist Church, Ghana.
Rt. Rev. Samuel Osabutey said placing a total ban on caning will be counterproductive, and will have dire consequences on general discipline among students.
“Change for the sake of change does not do anybody any good. I don’t think that in those days when the people were being caned, they were being abused; because there were rules and regulations within which people had to be caned; and the GES must be careful and not just give a blanket instruction. I don’t know what pertains now, but in an older document for teachers when teachers used to cane, there were specific rules on caning; the caning was commensurate to the offense.”