GNAT calls for reintroduction of corporal punishment in schools

GNAT says reintroducing corporal punishment in schools will restore discipline among students, following recent acts of misconduct among students

The president of the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), Philippa Larsen, says the Ghana Education Service (GES) must think of reintroducing corporal punishment in schools across the country. GNAT believes corporal punishment will help restore discipline among students.

The GNAT president’s announcement follows acts of misconduct and violence by some students taking the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE). Journalists, invigilators and officials of the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) have been assaulted at various secondary schools.

Philippa Larsen is therefore urging the GES to consider reintroducing corporal punishments in schools to curb these acts.

WASSCE riots

Last week was dominated by news of riots by students at a handful of senior high schools in the ongoing WASSCE.

Students of Tweneboah Kodua Senior High School in Kumawu were captured in a viral video vandalising school property. In a separate incident, students of Bright Senior High School in Kukurantumi also assaulted a journalist and some examinators supervisors, reportedly after being incited by their headmaster.

Similar incidents were recorded at Battor Senior High School, Sekondi College and Juaben Senior High School. 

Consequently, the GES on Friday dismissed 13 students involved in the riots and barred them from writing the WASSCE.

However, President Akufo-Addo directed the Minister of Education, Matthew Opoku Prempeh, to engage with the GES to reconsider the punishment.

Alternative punishments

Mrs Larsen believes the reintroduction of corporal punishment in schools will go a long way to restore discipline among students.

“I think that, as a country, we should look at corporal punishment and bring it back in a way,” the GNAT president told the Accra-based Starr FM.

In 2017, the GES announced that it had banned all forms of corporal punishment in schools across Ghana. The ban was part of efforts to promote a safe and protective learning environment for schoolchildren.

Last year, the GES gave further details of its directive, suggesting to teachers to find alternative ways of punishing recalcitrant students.

A statement from the GES in January 2019 said: “In view of this, the Positive Discipline Toolkit, containing positive and constructive alternatives to correcting children, was developed in 2016 as a component of the Safe Schools Resource Pack.

“Management is directing teachers in all pre-tertiary schools (public and private) in Ghana, with immediate effect, to adopt the Positive Discipline Toolkit together with other sanctions prescribed in the Unified Code of Discipline for Basic Education Schools of the Head Teachers’ Handbook (2012 edition) as measures for correcting pupils and students in schools.”

E A Alanore

* Asaase Radio 99.5 – tune in or log on to broadcasts online.

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