From ALLOYCE KIMBUNGA in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania
DAR-ES-SALAAM, (CAJ News) – HUMAN and children’s rights groups have urged Tanzania to abolish corporal punishment following the prevalent brutalisation of students by their teachers.
According to a study by the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) on violence against children, teachers in the East African country frequently whipped, kicked, punched students, including with weapons.
Girls suffer further humiliation after being beaten while menstruating while sexual abuse and harassment by teachers, with little accountability, is rife.
In a recent study, Human Rights Watch (HRW) documented widespread use of corporal punishment that exceeds the legal limit of the government’s current regulations. Studies by the African Child Policy Forum show the frequency of abuse by teachers is alarmingly high.
Children are caned for reasons including late arrival for school, not answering questions correctly, and not completing assignments.
They are sometimes forced to jump squats, kneel and walk on their knees with hands on their backs.
Senior political leaders, including President John Magufuli, have also repeatedly encouraged corporal punishment in schools.
He was last year quoted as attributing his success to the beatings he received in class.
HRW’s Agnes Odhiambo corporal punishment, in all its forms, was violence against children and should be scrapped from institutions of learning.
“It harms children’s physical, mental and emotional health; their behavioral development; their ability to learn well; and can lead to dropping out of school.”
The National Education (Corporal) Punishment Regulations (1979) legalise corporal punishment. It allows only principals to strike pupils on their hands or “normally” clothed buttocks with light stick.
– CAJ News