The IFP calls on the KZN MEC of Education, Peggy Nkonyeni to urgently organise the Summit on Ending Corporal Punishment and Promoting Positive Discipline in schools after serious claims levelled against one of the teachers at Lugobe High School in UMbumbulu, South of Durban who is accused of beating students with a pipe if they fail to answer questions in mathematics.
"The purpose of this summit would be to bring together, for the first time, a group of leading policy makers, attorneys, educators, children's right activists, and researchers from multiple disciplines and individuals who concur that corporal punishment of children is an unsuitable and potentially damaging way of disciplining and teaching children. The goals of the conference will be to raise public awareness about the rights of children and problems associated with corporal punishment. It should develop strategies advancing the provinces intention to prohibit and eliminate all corporal punishment of children from all parts of the province," said IFP KZN Spokesperson on Education, Mrs Thembeni Madlopha-Mthethwa, MPL.
"South Africa abolished corporal punishment in September 1997, and 18 years later corporal punishment is still being applied by some educators. It is therefore of grave concern to the IFP that there are still schools that turn a blind eye to corporal punishment. Corporal punishment must stop as it violates the learners' right to education and dignity. Action taken against those who apply corporal punishment is disproportionate to the damage done to children. The need to promote non-violent methodology and awareness among all those working with children is essential if we want to remedy this situation," continued Mrs Madlopha-Mthethwa.
"Educators must be provided with alternative disciplinary measures as opposed to beatings or canings. They can require students to write a statement describing the negative effects of their behaviour, or to apologize for their mistake in front of their classmates. Every time one becomes upset by a student, one must remember a simple message: the goal of our actions must, first of all, not be punitive or to enforce our sense of discipline. Rather, it must be to help children to learn self-discipline and the rules of our society and the expectations and values of the culture," concluded Mrs Madlopha-Mthethwa.
The IFP further calls on the MEC to urgently take action against the Lugobe High School teacher and other teachers who still use corporal punishment in our schools, and to fire those guilty of beating our children. The IFP will further table a motion in the KZN Legislature to implement more stringent vetting mechanisms for teachers.
IFP KZN Education Spokesperson,
Mrs Thembeni KaMadlopha-Mthethwa, MPL, 071 884 3844 or 079 114 3015
Mr Phendulani Biyase, IFP KZN Legislature Media Liaison Officer, 073 024 5675