Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha’s call for the reintroduction of corporal punishment in schools has elicited mixed reactions from members of the public.
The Education CS made the appeal while addressing the media on Thursday, January 28, at St Joseph’s Nyabururu Primary School in Kisii County.
Magoha had argued that corporal punishment would aid in reducing indiscipline in schools, following the recent surge in cases of students setting dormitories on fire and attacking their teachers.
“Learners will not commit crimes and walk scot-free. We shall ensure that these situations are neutralised before they escalate.
“They must be caned and we shall authorise teachers to punish them,” Magoha had stated.
His sentiments were, however, seconded by some while meeting crude opposition from others.
Jared Motito, a Mathematics teacher at St James Nyaronde Secondary School told Kenyans.co.ke that though the CS had called for the action, it would require a legal process to implement.
“We cannot cane students because it’s against the law. It would have to go through parliament so that it can be passed and reintroduced. But again, these students are our children,” Mr Motito stated.
Education Specialist Professor Kahu told NTV on January 31, that the move would only worsen the current situation rather than rectify the students’ morals.
Professor Kahu opined that some of the hostility experienced in society today is as a result of corporal punishments administered in the past.
“Corporal punishment tends to make the people subjected to it very angry, and they grow up as people who are bitter. I went through school when corporal punishment was the order of the day and we produced bitter people. That is why you see the Kenyan society is very chaotic up to date,” Professor Kahu argued.
He noted that the bitterness flung around by some leaders and even elderly persons in the country was as a result of the punishment.
Professor Kahu advised that the Ministry of education be run by education specialists rather than anybody with no background in education. He urged that matters education be run through a semi-autonomous body under the Ministry of Education.
Some parents, however, agreed with the reintroduction of corporal punishment, noting that it would help tame the recent cases of indiscipline among learners reported in the country.
“I myself was caned as a student, and I am who I am today because of the cane. It is good so long as it does not cause any bodily harm,” a parent stated.
Another defended teachers, saying that parents taking action against teachers had made it harder for them to discipline learners, thus sparing the rod.
“I agree that caning should be reintroduced. Our children have become tough headed and are not listening to teachers anymore.
“A teacher tells parents they have done something wrong, and the parent doesn’t want you to cane the students. Caning should be reintroduced,” another added.
This comes at the back of efforts by the Ministry of Education in ensuring schools run swiftly without cases of learners interfering.
Magoha had stated that MoE would partner the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) to investigate incidents in school and arrest culprits who would face the full wrath of the law.
The parents urged that MoE deploy professional counselors to schools to guide learners mentally, others also calling for spiritual counseling and drug tests, to establish drug and substance abuse among the learners.
Education CS George Magoha assess the learning situation at Embu County Primary School on Friday, January 15, 2021.