Current Date:

Tuesday, 23 October 2018
 

Education Ministry Calls for Alternatives to Corporal Punishment

Khartoum- Representative of the Ministry of Education of Khartoum State Dr. Ikhlas Abbas Mohamed

has affirmed keenness of the ministry on abolishing corporal punishment in all educational institutions and finding alternatives to it.
The educational official, speaking in a deliberation meeting on positive reinforcement of alternatives for corporal punishment at schools, organized by Media Association for Children in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and the Council for Child Welfare of Khartoum State under auspices of international organization on child welfare, called for training of the educational cadres and provision of safe environment for children.
Director of Training Department at the Ministry of Education of Khartoum State Dr. Eltayeb Mohamed Al Amin, on his part, pointed out that positive reinforcement aims at boosting self-confidence and enhancing motivation for education, reviewing challenges that face positive reinforcement.
Chairwoman of Media Association for Children Enam Mohamed Eltayeb, on her part, stressed that corporal punishment has dangerous effects, calling for finding alternatives for it in schools as she referred to the role of the association in advocating children issues and disseminating the culture of children rights in the society.
Representative of the Council for Child Welfare of Khartoum State Hana Al Bili, on her part, reviewed the efforts being exerted by the council for raising awareness on children rights.

Background

School corporal punishment refers to causing deliberate pain or discomfort in response to undesired behaviour by students in schools. It often involves striking the student either across the buttocks or on the hands, with an implement such as a rattan cane, wooden paddle, slipper, leather strap or wooden yardstick. Less commonly, it could also include spanking or smacking the student with the open hand, especially at the elementary school level.
Advocates of school corporal punishment argue that it provides an immediate response to indiscipline and that the student is quickly back in the classroom learning, as opposed to suspension from school. Opponents, including a number of medical and psychological societies, along with human-rights groups, argue that physical punishment is ineffective in the long term, interferes with learning, leads to antisocial behavior as well as various forms of mental distress, disproportionately affects students of color, and is a form of violence that breaches the rights of children. 
Poland was the first nation to outlaw corporal punishment in schools in 1783. School corporal punishment is no longer practiced in any European country. As of 2016, an estimated 128 countries have prohibited corporal punishment in schools, including all of Europe, and most of South America and East Asia. Approximately 69 countries still allow for corporal punishment in schools, including parts of the United States, some Australian states, and a number of countries in Africa and Asia

Definitions

Corporal punishment in the context of schools in the late 20th and early 21st centuries has been variously defined as: causing deliberate pain to a child in response to the child's undesired behavior and/or language, "purposeful infliction of bodily pain or discomfort by an official in the educational system upon a student as a penalty for unacceptable behavior”, and "intentional application of physical pain as a means of changing behavior" (not the occasional use of physical restraint to protect student or others from immediate harm).
 
Prevalence

Corporal punishment used to be prevalent in schools in many parts of the world, but in recent decades it has been outlawed in 128 countries including all of Europe, most of South America, as well as in Canada, Japan, South Africa, New Zealand and several other countries. It remains commonplace in a number of countries in Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East .
Much of the traditional culture that surrounds corporal punishment in school, at any rate in the English-speaking world, derives largely from British practice in the 19th and 20th centuries, particularly as regards the caning of teenage boys. There is a vast amount of literature on this, in both popular and serious culture. Britain itself outlawed the practice in 1987 for state schools and more recently for all schools.
In most of continental Europe, school corporal punishment has been banned for several decades or longer, depending on the country (see the list of countries below).
From the 1917 Russian revolution onwards, corporal punishment was outlawed in the Soviet Union, because it was deemed contrary to communist ideology. Communists in other countries such as Britain took the lead in campaigning against school corporal punishment, which they viewed as a symptom of the decadence of capitalist education systems. In the 1960s, Soviet visitors to western schools expressed shock at the caning of boys there. Other communist regimes followed suit: for instance, corporal punishment was "unknown" by students in North Korea in 2007. In mainland China, corporal punishment in schools was outlawed in 1986, although the practice remains common, especially in rural areas.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, there are three broad rationales for the use of corporal punishment in schools: beliefs, based in traditional religion, that adults have a right, if not a duty, to physically punish misbehaving children; a disciplinary philosophy that corporal punishment builds character, being necessary for the development of a child's conscience and their respect for adult authority figures; and beliefs concerning the needs and rights of teachers, specifically that corporal punishment is essential for maintaining order and control in the classroom.


Effects on students

School officials and policymakers often rely on personal anecdotes to argue that school corporal punishment improves students' behavior and achievement. However, there is a lack of empirical evidence showing that corporal punishment leads to better control in the classroom. In particular, evidence does not suggest that it enhances moral character development, increases students' respect for teachers or other authority figures, or offers greater security for teachers.     
A number of medical, pediatric or psychological societies have issued statements opposing all corporal punishment in schools, citing such outcomes as poorer academic achievement, increases in antisocial behaviour, injuries to students, and an unwelcoming learning environment. They include the American Medical Association,[  the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the Society for Adolescent Medicine, the American Psychological Association, the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, the Royal College of Psychiatrists, the Canadian Paediatric Society and the Australian Psychological Society, as well as the United States' National Association of Secondary School Principals. 
According to the AAP, research shows that corporal punishment is less effective than other methods of behaviour management in schools, and "praise, discussions regarding values, and positive role models do more to develop character, respect, and values than does corporal punishment”. They say that evidence links corporal punishment of students to a number of adverse outcomes, including: "increased aggressive and destructive behaviour, increased disruptive classroom behaviour, vandalism, poor school achievement, poor attention span, increased drop-out rate, school avoidance and school phobia, low self-esteem, anxiety, somatic complaints, depression, suicide and retaliation against teachers". The AAP recommends a number of alternatives to corporal punishment including various nonviolent behaviour-management strategies, modifications to the school environment, and increased support for teachers.