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Private schools doubt on caning, offers solution to school unrest

Private schools doubt on caning, offers solution to school unrest

Private schools have accused senior education officials of reacting to the crisis in schools in a “knee-jerk” manner, citing the push to reinstate the cane as a disciplinary measure.

Private schools say the solution lies with the Ministry of Education after Cabinet Secretaries George Magoha (Education) and Fred Matiang’i (Interior) urged the return of corporal punishment in efforts to restore discipline in learning institutions.

They argue that officials should decongest overcrowded public schools as a first step toward relieving pressure on the institutions, which could help prevent and contain the unrest.

They also advocated for a national dialogue on the emerging issues related to student behaviour, rather than reintroducing the cane.

They spoke as stakeholders in the education sector continued to express mixed feelings about Prof Magoha and Dr Matiang’i’s calls to reinstate corporal punishment in schools.

Speaking in Kisii on Monday, the two said the cane would be one method of restoring discipline and order in schools, citing themselves as examples of the value of caning children.

They also advocated for a national discussion about parenting, pointing out that parents have failed to instil discipline in their children while hiding behind a human-rights argument.

“We cannot afford to have students running amok in schools unchecked. We cannot afford to have thugs in schools in the name of human rights,” Prof Magoha had said.

According to the Kenya Private Schools Association (KPSA), schools are overcrowded, and available resources are stretched, resulting in infrastructural and administrative issues that exacerbate school chaos.

Mr Charles Ochome, the new national chairman of KPSA, an umbrella body for private education institutions such as pre-primary, primary, secondary, and teacher-training institutions, stated that schools are so crowded that “some look like colleges with departmental heads and over 2,000 students.”

This situation he says is putting pressure on the government, which is why the government needs to decongest and place these children in private schools where there are spaces.

Most public schools have large student populations, which affects the teacher-to-student ratio and strains available resources.

Mr Ochome proposed that private schools be considered for capitation to aid in student management.

He also urged parents to be good role models for their children, during holidays.

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He called for a thorough discussion of possible solutions to the unrest, claiming that caning was not a silver bullet for dealing with tragedies and student behaviour.

“I am not opposing caning in schools, but we need to ask why it was banned and that is why we must have public participation bringing together all stakeholders to weigh in on how it can be implemented,” said Mr Ochome.

Private schools doubt on caning, offers solution to school unrest


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