The never ending school fires that have been witnessed in the Nation have put to debate the reintroduction of caning in schools.
There have been more fire incidents that have been reported in just under three months ,a number of students including those in the so called National schools have been charged and many others under investigation.
Education Cabinet Secretary Professor George Magoha and his Interior counterpart Dr Fred Matiangi are the latest to join the divisive topic in regards to the caning of children in schools.
Speaking in Kisii on 6th December 2021, the CS’s advocated for the reintroduction of corporal punishment in order to be able to bring sanity and discipline in schools which they alleged was going under if swift measures were not to be undertaken.
“People are holding our children like eggs the reason why our children cannot handle stress; young couples are killing each other. Our children are thoroughly undisciplined, you don’t have to create a taskforce to find out that our children are doing what they want,” CS Magoha said.
“Which Human Rights are those when you want to burn your colleagues in the halls? And that will lead to the talk of whether we still need boarding schools in the country,” he added.
Similar sentiments were echoed by Interior CS Matiangi who said it was time a National conversation on the current wanting parenting was fixed.
“We have buried our heads in the sand for too long especially from the point of view of parenting. If you want to know the challenges that we have with parenting in this country talk to school Principals. School Principals are some of the people who have the toughest jobs in this country,” he said.
And seemingly taking a swipe at the Human Rights activists who have condemned such a move, Matiangi said caning was the only way to go to curb such incidents.
“So our work is to build schools as they burn them down? It is tough love, our children must understand one thing that it takes sacrifice from Parents to get these things,” Matiangi added.
But education experts have opposed the idea of re-introducing caning in schools as it was outlawed by the government because it was most of the time misused by the teachers.
They allege that some teachers would beat up their pupils badly to a point of injuring them especially when these teachers had their own challenges in their homes.
Parents are also divided on this thorny issue.one Mary Njambi aka mama Mumbi from Githurai 45 argues that corporal punishment is not in any way an answer to Indiscipline in schools.
“Sidhani kama kuchapwa shuleni kutasaidia infact kutaongeza uoga tu shule au hao mastude wanaeza kuwa vichwa ngumu badala yake na wadeal na hao teachers wao, tuko 21st century where other measures need to be taken. Caning students isn’t a solution in fact this could lead to revenge mission where students might end of the day end up attacking teachers for caning them,” She said.
“Mimi lazima nidiscipline mtoi. hakuna kuizubaa, infact mi hushangaa na mapero wanadai ati walimu wasichape watoto wao. kwani hii nchi inaenda wapi? tunaleta uzungu uzungu kila mahali hii nchi. Kitambo pero yeyote angepiga mtoto akimpata amefanya makosa lakini nowdays ati human rights…ohh going to court….bla bla bla….ridiculers It’s annoying. I am the conservative type of Parent who believes in disciplining children. I mean where is this country heading to? That one can’t discipline another person’s child when he/she wrongs because one might be taken to court. That is not how we used to do things,” Jane Kutoh from Pangani said.
So how about we open this conversation a little bit more. Can a degree of corporal punishment be the solution to the current situation in our schools?
To some degree I share the sentiments of the Cabinet Secretaries that we should introduce the cane back to school I mean spare the road spoil the child.
I still firmly believe that if corporal punishment is properly implemented not in an abusive way or not in a way that traumatizes children it will greatly help in situations where common sense has failed in schools.
But let me be clear I am not in support of excessive corporal punishment I am for a regulated corporal punishment where there are checks and balances this is to avoid a scenario where teachers become perpetrators of violence against children.
We can surely not sweet talk violence away from schools a reasonable type of punishment will surely help. And unless there is a scientific research especially in Kenya that says this will not change the trajectory of burning schools in Kenya then I am here for a little Kiboko.
BY WEMA TOYWA #WEMA’STAKE