Keetmanshoop-Despite the government outlawing and banning corporal punishment in schools in 1991, the practice continues at some schools in the //Kharas Region, New Era can reveal.
This came out at a stakeholder’s consultative meeting at Keetmanshoop this week, where participants were amongst other things asked to make inputs on the school calendar.
Opening the floor for inputs on the school calendar, deputy director of programmes and quality assurance at the //Kharas education directorate, Petrus David Titus, said cases of teachers beating learners in class is common in the region.
He said there seems to be a link between corporal punishment and the long three terms, saying when teachers are exhausted and stressed due to long working periods, they tend to beat learners as a disciplinary measure, especially those that want to cause problems and disturb classes while teachers want to finish their work.
“Many principals here can tell you about how many letters we received on teachers beating children – some cases are investigated by the police and some are with the courts. The three terms are tiring, and when teachers are tired and stressed, they beat the children,” he noted.
Titus could however not provide New Era with more information on how many such cases were reported this year, saying the staff member dealing with issues of this nature was not in office.
He however said some teachers, named in cases reported, have been issued with a final written warning, under the signature of the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture, while others have been referred to a disciplinary committee.
Titus said despite reported cases of corporal punishment, the region has a no-tolerance policy on the abuse of learners, be it physical, emotional or psychological.
On the school calendar, many of those in attendance opted for a change to four terms, instead of the current three, and while the four terms will be costly to government, some were of the opinion that it is worth it.
“I prefer the four terms – if we calculate how much government spends on teachers that are forever on sick leave, it will still be the same. It does not help we have three terms but the person who is in front of the learners is exhausted and unproductive,” said one of the parents.
Some suggested that the four terms be designed in such a way that learners are on holiday during the coldest days of winter.
Others were however fine with the current three-term calendar, saying changing it to four terms will mean shorter holidays for the learners, while some said the government will not be able to fund the four terms, as it was already struggling financially.