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Education Ministry investigating Hillside Naalya over corporal punishment

FILE PHOTO: Corporal punishment

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Education and Sports Ministry is investigating allegations of corporal punishment at Hillside Nursery and Primary School, Naalya, Kampala suburb. This follows a complaint by a parent accusing teachers at the school for punishing children for scoring low marks.

According to a Facebook post by a parent, children in primary four are given ten strokes of the cane for scoring less than 80 percent in a given subject. Some parents complained on the school page saying primary five pupils are given at least two strokes of the cane for scoring below the pass mark.

Now, Patrick Muinda, the Assistant Commissioner for Information and Communication in the Education Ministry, says the ministry has instituted investigations into the allegation, saying corporal punishment was abolished in schools. “The permanent secretary has asked the Directorate of Education Standards to carry out immediate investigations into the allegations. It is a serious issue and the ministry of Education doesn’t condone such behavior in schools,” he said. Government outlawed corporal punishment in schools in 2015 and advised schools to adopt other punishments such as making learners to write statements.

Failure for schools to adhere to the ban leaves them open to criminal charges such as endangering the life of a human being. Resty Maclynie Atwooki Kirungi, a Director at Hillside Nursery and Primary School confirmed to URN that they had already met ministry officials to resolve the matter.

“We have met with ministry officials. We have laid out strategies on how to deal with the issue. We do not want to broadcast it on Radio,” she said. Dr. Kedrace Turyagenda, the Director of Education Standards, says punishing children for performance is unfair since many things contribute to poor performance including poor teaching methods.

“Punishing doesn’t help children understand the concept of what is being said or taught. It is very unfair that the teacher in this report decided to punish with canes rather than follow provided measures to check poor performance,” she said.

She says that administering corporal punishments in schools in unacceptable. According to Dr. Turyagenda, teachers in such situations should first examine their teaching methodologies and revise them before punishing pupils.

“Since we cannot measure the IQ of learners early, teachers need to do this to determine whether it might be the cause of why some pupils might be failing a class. Caning is not a solution to getting good marks.”

Hillside Nursery and Primary School was one of the top performers in the 2017 the Primary Leaving Examinations as all candidates passed in division one.

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