Teachers, parents warned against corporal punishment

Parents and teachers should find other ways of disciplining children without corporal and humiliating punishments.

During a roundtable discussion on positive discipline programme in Rwanda held in Kigali, on Tuesday, participants said corporal punishments harm and affect children morally, intellectually and socially.

The Positive Discipline programme was implemented in May in five out of 17 Sectors of Burera District through discussions in families and schools.

The programme has been credited for reducing school drop-out rates.

The latest study done by the Positive Discipline programme reveals that 56 per cent of teachers practiced physical punishment through either slapping (at 66 per cent) or hitting with objects (68 per cent).

“Children’s rights should be respected. It is the responsibility of both parents and teachers to use positive discipline approaches when children do wrong so that they feel free and comfortable to express their feelings about such a fault,” Claudine Uwera Kanyamanza, the executive secretary of the National Children Commission (NCC) said at the meeting.

The meeting sought ways of protecting children from corporal and humiliating punishments either at home or at school.

Kanyamanza said parents and teachers should be able to sit down with children and discuss rather than rush to use corporal punishment which she considers a form of violence against children.

Marcel Sibomana, the child rights protection coordinator at Save the Children Rwanda, the organisers of the roundtable discussion, said positive discipline minimises harm and motivates children during their studies.

“There is no doubt that positive discipline approach can create harmony among teachers/parents and children once applied well,” Sibomana said.

Rwanda is not listed among the 42 countries, worldwide, which have already prohibited all forms of corporal punishments of children.

But Robert Twongyeirwe, the pedagogical inspector of education at Rwanda Education Board, said Positive Disciplining programme is to be included in the new school curriculum to strengthen relationship between students and teachers.