small foundation with a big impact

corporal punishment

Ngorika Happy Watoto School is committed to protecting and safeguarding the welfare of the children in its care and recognises its role in ensuring that all children are allowed to grow up as children protected from harm and abuse and free from exploitation. This includes not administering corporal punishment in our school.
There are however challenges in ensuring this policy is accepted by teachers and parents. Firstly, canning is part of Tanzanian culture, intended on gaining respect, and is widely used at home by parents or guardians. Breaking this habit is not easy despite sanctions against teachers who are still tempted to use it to gain control over a classroom or manage a disruptive child. We have teachers and staff who have been used to using corporal punishment as a way of correcting childrens behaviour for a long time, and breaking this culture is tough. There is the challenge of ‘if not corporal punishment, then what?’ which gives rise for the need for significant training and greater creativity from teachers. Then we have the conflict with some parents, who sometimes come to the school and demand that the school should administer canning on their children to correct their behaviour. In one case, when we explained to a childs parents that is forbidden within our school, they decided to transfer their child to another school.
Legislation provides some support, but despite the introduction of the Tanzanian Law of the Child in 2009, the government has not totally prohibited canning of students. There are now some steps which need to be followed before canning, which is some progress towards eradicating it, or at least significantly reducing the use of corporal punishment.
Correcting students by corporal punishment has brought a lot of harm to children in Tanzania. In one recent case in Western Tanzania, a child died after receiving corporal punishment from his teacher. The teacher was jailed and received the death sentence.
Despite these headwinds, the conflict in implementation, and the challenges of alternatives, we remain committed to stopping corporal punishment. We put lots of effort into ensuring that all our teachers and staff are aware of using other ways of correcting students’ behaviour apart from using corporal punishment by conducting training and professional development courses.
Respect of a student does not come through canning and administering corporal punishment but by good care, great quality teaching, managing students expectations, and close monitoring through counselling and guidance. We remain 100% committed to this.

Dr Jonas Michael
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