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Teachers, Parents And State Differs On Corporal Punishment To Curb Student Unrest

Teachers, Parents And State Differs On Corporal Punishment To Curb Student Unrest.

Teachers are now pushing for changes to two laws in order to address student indiscipline and hold them accountable for their actions while in school.

Teachers claim that gaps in the Children’s Act and the Basic Education Act must be filled if indiscipline among students is to be reduced. They also want the Children’s Act to be reviewed to ensure that students take responsibility for their actions while at school.

Their push has been influenced by flaws in two pieces of legislation that have been blamed for an increase in cases of student unrest and general indiscipline.

Secondary school principals have argued that the Children’s Act protects minors but does not specify their duties and responsibilities while in school.

While teachers advocate for the reinstatement of caning, parents argue that expanding existing correctional facilities for children will go a long way toward improving discipline.

Parents’ View 

On the other hand, parents want more special correctional schools, also known as borstal institutions, to be established and existing ones to be expanded to accept errant students, including those who destroy property and cause harm to others.

Parents support the proposed changes as long as the authority to discipline children does not pass to teachers.

“If it is about having children to respect and obey authority and to protect school property, then we are in agreement. However, if teachers are being given the powers, then we shall not accept,” said Nicholas Maiyo, the National Parents Association chairman.

He is in favour of amending the law to specify children’s obligation and duty to protect school property, fellow students, and school workers.

What’s In The Law

According to the law, children have a duty and responsibility to work for family cohesion, to respect parents, superiors, and elders at all times, and to assist them in times of need.

According to Kenya Secondary School Heads Association chairman Kahi Indimuli, the law is silent on students’ duties and responsibilities to schools, which is why there have been cases of school property destruction,

He is in favour of amending the law to specify children’s obligation and duty to protect school property, fellow students, and school workers.

Section 47 of the Children’s Act calls for the establishment of rehabilitation schools and remand homes. 

Section 50 of the Act states that the minister may establish as many children’s remand homes as he deems necessary.

Corporal punishment is illegal

The government outlawed corporal punishment, or caning, in schools in 2001 when it passed the Children’s Act, which protects minors from all forms of abuse and violence. 

Kenya is also a signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which states that corporal punishment is unacceptable.

The Ministry of Public Service, Gender, Senior Citizens Affairs, and Special Programmes is in charge of the children’s law and has yet to weigh in on the debate.

Beatrice Elachi, the Public Service and Gender Affairs Chief Administrative Secretary, admitted that the Children’s Act does have flaws.

The proposed amendments to the two laws are also included in the 2016 special education investigations report on school fires. Claire Omollo led the team that prepared the report. 

The report proposed amending the law to provide for children’s rights while also imposing corresponding responsibilities.

Similar recommendations were made by the National Assembly Education Committee in a 2019 report, in which MPs called for a review of the Basic Education Act as well as regulations to address student indiscipline.

Government’s Solution To Student Unrest

However, Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha and his Interior counterpart, Dr Fred Matiang’i, have recently hinted that caning in schools may be reinstated. 

According to the two, caning, misbehaving students could be the solution to cases of indiscipline in schools, which have resulted in arson attacks by students.

A 2016 investigation team report proposed the establishment of a “holding institution” to cater for accused students and those in court or under investigation for criminal acts, which is supported by the parents’ proposal.

This means that students accused of torching schools or inciting riots will be barred from studying alongside their innocent classmates.

However, it has emerged that the government is opposed to sending children to rehabilitation centres because research shows that doing so would have long-term consequences for minors.

According to officials with the Directorate of Children Services, there are approximately 30 statutory institutions for children. Two national reception assessment and classification centres, nine rehabilitation schools, and 14 remand homes are among them.

Children are held in reception centres for three months before being transferred to rehabilitation centres. The maximum stay in a children’s home is three years.

Children whose cases are still pending are housed in remand facilities.

Although these facilities provide a variety of correctional services, the government is moving toward a policy in which their use is only used as a last resort. 

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Maiyo, on the other hand, wants the number of rehabilitation schools to be increased so that deviant children can be moulded into responsible and useful members of society.

Many cases of strikes, arson, and misdemeanours have been reported among students over the years, as teachers’ hands remain tied. Parents have also been accused of abdicating their parental roles in their children’s upbringing, including failing to instil discipline.

Teachers, Parents And State Differs On Corporal Punishment To Curb Student Unrest



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