In 2001, the Kenyan government passed a policy that outlawed corporal punishments in all schools. The move was part of the country’s effort to join the Global Initiative to End Corporal Punishments in Schools. Corporal punishment is considered a violation of basic human rights with a broad range of negative outcomes including antisocial behaviors. Research also show that children who are regularly subjected to corporal punishment could develop mental problems and experience an increased aggression. Accordingly, Kenya’s lawmakers saw it wise to outlaw corporal punishment in schools.
However, increased students’ misconduct in schools across the country has evoked the need to rethink the role of corporal punishment in learning institutions in Kenya. Since 2019, more than 100 Kenyan schools have burned down in apparent arson attacks. The number was significantly low in 2020, but that may be due to the fact that most schools remained closed for the better part of the year following the emergence and the spread of COVID-19. This year, schools have been operational for less than four weeks with worrying outcomes. Several schools have been closed down and a number of students arrested for sparking violence.
On 28th January 2020, the Education Cabinet Secretary, Prof. George Magoha outlined the need to reintroduce corporal punishments in all schools. Although announcement was contrary to the current official government’s directive regarding how teachers should deal with students, it could see caning finding its way back into schools soon. According to Prof. Mogoha, reintroducing corporal punishment will enable teachers to deal with unruly students.
But that’s not all. The Ministry of Education has iterated even stricter regulations against students’ misbehavior. In the statement, Prof. Magoha declared that students expelled from schools for grave misconduct will not be admitted in other schools.
“Learners will not commit crimes and walk scot-free, we must curb the situation before it worsens. If learners burn a building or do something wrong, they must be caned hence need to give teachers power to punish them,” Prof Magoha said.
Moreover, the Ministry of Health will start paying surprise visits to schools to randomly test students for drug abuse. This step follows the suspection by educators and health officials that the unruly behaviors evident in schools could be the result of drug abuse by students.
Do you think corporal punishments should be reintroduced in Kenyan schools?