Last week President of the Republic, Omer Al Bashir called for reviewing the banning of corporal punishment in schools, but to my understanding he didn’t issue
a directive to practice corporal punishment.
The President call is for the concerned educational institutions to review the issue considering that they are experts in this field.
Five years ago a group of education experts and Psychologists conducted a thorough study on the impact of corporal punishment on pupils and they came out with important results on top of which are initiating trainings on alternatives to this practice in the schools besides stopping the practice.
Sudanese government included in its regular report about the implementation of UN Convention on the Rights of the Child that it banned the corporal punishment in the schools.
Most of the studies conducted on the issue found that children who experienced corporal punishment performed worse in the subject they study.
The use of physical punishment, such as smacking, slapping or hitting with a hand or implement, is contrary to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which has been ratified to protect children from corporal punishment in all settings, including the home and school.
I agree with the view that “mild” or “moderate” forms of corporal punishment are an effective and non-detrimental means of instilling discipline and obedience into children.
Studies typically rely on cross-sectional data where child development measures are collected at the same time as reports of corporal punishment. It is then difficult to separate out what comes first: children may perform less well as school because they are hit, or children may be punished because of poor performance.
It is evidenced that children with more highly educated parents have better educational outcomes. The associated negative effect of corporal punishment on children’s outcomes was equivalent to the child’s primary caregiver, usually the mother, having between three and six years less education, depending on the country.
Corporal punishment not only violates children’s fundamental rights to dignity and bodily integrity, but by impacting upon their engagement with schooling it has the potential to have long-lasting implications for their life chances and can reinforce inequality.
Legislation is an important first step towards eradicating corporal punishment, but on its own is not sufficient. Greater attention is required to understand why bans are not implemented, to support positive teaching practices and to work to address social norms that sustain the myth that physical violence promotes children’s learning and development.