E Cape education boss takes aim at corporal punishment

The continued physical abuse of pupils by some teachers in the Eastern Cape has been condemned and called “entirely embarrassing” by the education department’s head.

Superintendent-general of the Eastern Cape department of education Themba Kojana said he was appalled by the continuation of corporal punishment in schools despite it having being banned more than two decades ago by the government.

In a statement this week, Kojana said he was dismayed that some teachers were still abusing pupils physically.

“The administration and practices of this punitive measure [corporal punishment] in some schools within the province has not only dismayed but entirely embarrassed the province.

“This happens despite the fact that the practice was banned 21 years ago in the country.

“The practice has been declared a form of assault and anyone found administering it could be penalised for a jail term.

“Anyone found guilty of doing it is contravening both the South African Schools Act and the constitution.”

Kojana urged parents and pupils to report anyone practicing corporal punishment in schools to both the department and police.

“This is worrying to me, and those educators found doing it may lose their jobs for practising this evil and punitive measure.

“Chapter 2 in Section 10 of the South African Act states that such acts are prohibited in our schools and any person who contravenes this law is guilty of an offence, making them liable on conviction to a sentence which could be imposed for assault.

“We can no longer let this go unnoticed.

“As such, in all the schools that have reportedly been practising it, investigations have been conducted and consequence management will follow for those found guilty of practising corporal punishment,” he said.

Just last month, the Daily Dispatch reported that a Breidbach primary school teacher appeared in the King William’s Town Magistrate’s Court charged with assaulting a 10-year-old pupil.

The teacher allegedly pulled the pupil’s hair before slapping her on the face with an exercise book. — oreillya@tisoblackstar.co.za

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