Members of the Swaziland Parliament want corporal punishment brought back to schools. Some said teachers were unable to cope with children without caning them.
Beating was banned in Swazi schools in 2015 and the Ministry of Education and Training adopted an approach it called ‘positive discipline’ which did not include beating children.
MPs debated the cane at the Ministry of Education and Training portfolio committee on Wednesday (15 March 2017).
According to a report in the Swazi Observer, ‘The MPs said they didn’t understand why the ministry had decided to do away with corporal punishment as they (MPs) were a result of it.’
The MPs said the positive discipline adopted in schools was causing problems for teachers because they no longer knew how to deal with wayward pupils.
MP Thuli Dladla, a former teacher, said, ‘Corporal punishment, if done properly, is positive. There are situations that need one to use this type of punishment to drive the message home.’
The newspaper added, ‘She said children needed to be beaten from time to time to keep them in check.’
Another former teacher, MP Mabulala Maseko, said the violence in schools was at its all-time high because the pupils were being positively disciplined.
MP Mthokozisi Kunene said children needed, ‘to be beaten from time to time’.
Responding, Dr Phineas Magagula, Minister of Education and Training, said the abolition of corporal punishment conformed with international conventions the kingdom had signed to.
The cane was abolished after numerous cases of brutality were reported in schools across the kingdom.
In 2011, Swaziland was told by the United Nations Human Rights Periodic Review held in Geneva it should stop using corporal punishment in schools, because it violated the rights of children.
But the practice of whippings and floggings was so ingrained in Swazi schools at the time that the top teachers’ union official said he was surprised that inflicting corporal punishment was against a child’s rights.
The United Nations Human Rights Periodic Review received a report jointly written by Save The Children and other groups that corporal punishment in Swazi schools was out of control. The report highlighted Mhlatane High School in northern Swaziland where it said pupils were ‘tortured’ in the name of punishment.
The report stated, ‘Students at this school are also subjected to all forms of inhumane treatment in the name of punishment. The State has known about the torture of students that go on at Mhlatane High School for a long time, but has not done anything to address this violation of fundamental rights.’
Sibongile Mazibuko, President of the Swaziland National Association of Teachers (SNAT), was quoted in the Times of Swaziland saying as teachers they had been underestimating the impact corporal punishment had on children rights.
‘It came as a surprise what impact corporal punishment has in terms of violating children’s rights. In fact, we were not aware we are violating children’s rights. The submissions by the countries and the criticism received by the country during the meeting was an eye-opener that corporal punishment should be abolished,’ the Times quoted Mazibuko saying.
CANE BANNED IN SWAZI SCHOOLS
SWAZI SCHOOL ‘TORTURES’ STUDENTS
CHILDREN CHAINED AND FLOGGED BARE
PROBE VICIOUS SCHOOL BEATINGS
SCHOOL FLOGGINGS OUT OF CONTROL
SCHOOL HEAD PUBLICLY FLOGS ADULTS