My son aged 6 years has refused to go to school because his class teacher strikes him. Do we have any law that regulates administration of corporal punishment in schools? Does the law allow striking a child who is only 6 years old? I find this a colonial practice which has no room in our society anymore.
Administration of corporal punishment at schools is regulated by the Education (Corporal Punishment) Regulations, 2002. Under the Regulations only the head of school is allowed to administer corporal punishment. However, other teachers can administer corporal punishment to a pupil or student with a written authorisation of the head of school. Corporal punishment is inflicted only where there is a serious breach of school code of discipline or grave offence committed whether within or outside the school which is deemed by the school to have brought or capable of bringing the school into disrepute.
In administering corporal punishment, the head of school or a teacher appointed in writing by the head of school to administer corporal punishment should consider the gravity of the offence, age, health and sex of the pupil or the student offender. The maximum strokes a pupil or student can undergo at a time is 4.
The law does not allow striking a nursery school pupil. A primary school pupil can undergo corporal punishment but the teacher administering corporal punishment should be mindful of the age of the pupil and his/her health in deciding whether or not the pupil should undergo corporal punishment and the number of strokes to be imposed on the pupil.
Moreover, a female pupil or student may only receive corporal punishment from a female teacher. Where there is no female teacher at the school, the head of school himself may administer corporal punishment or he may appoint in writing a male teacher to administer the punishment.
Additionally, each school should maintain a register of corporal punishments. Every time corporal punishment is administered, it should be recorded in the register by stating the name of the pupil offender, disciplinary offence committed, the number of strokes inflicted and the name of teacher who administered the punishment. Every entry in the corporal punishment book must be verified and signed by the head of school.
Refusal to accept corporal punishment by the pupil or parent of the pupil may lead to the expulsion of the pupil from school. Similarly, any teacher who inflicts corporal punishment contrary to the procedure laid in the Regulations may be subjected to a disciplinary procedure for professional misconduct.
Corporal punishment in schools has been banned in many African countries but there are a few that still allow it to be imposed.