By Michael Odeng
The Minister of Education and Sports, Jessica Alupo, has expressed concern that some teachers were defying the ban on administering corporal punishment in schools, warning of stern actions on perpetrators.
"We imposed a legal ban on corporal punishment and mental harassment of students. Therefore it must stop in schools and colleges," Alupo told teachers on Friday.
The minister was responding to teachers' queries on how discipline should be maintained in schools following the government ban on caning.
She said that professional teachers should find several approaches to punishment, and corporal punishment is not the answer to indiscipline.
"I want to urge all of you to be mindful of your professional responsibility. This applies also to any other form of punishment or act that may cause injury, damage, defilement of disfigurement to the human body. The use of the cane as a disciplining measure shall not be permitted in schools and colleges, as well as nursery schools and infant classes," Alupo said.
Alupo made these remarks during the World Teacher's day symposium celebration to mark the 50 years of Golden Jubilee at Pope Paul Memorial Hotel at Ndebbe in Kampala. This was marked under the theme "Take a Stand for Teachers"
Alupo also encouraged teachers to build children's commitment to the value of democracy, equality, justice, freedom, secularism, respect for human dignity and human rights.
She emphasised the empowerment of teachers through provision of opportunities to share policy perspectives and decision making in pursuit of educational development and reforms.
"It is a known fact in our communities that teachers are creative and talented people and can make significant impact on the lives of learners of all categories," she added.
Senior coordinator for education and employment Dennis Sinyolo said quality education nurtures human talent and creativity by contributing to the personal and professional development as well as social, cultural, economic, political and environmental development.
The world teacher's day has been celebrated worldwide, on October 5, since 1994, in recognition of teachers and the enormous contribution they make to the development of society and the future of nations.
Sinyolo noted that Uganda is among the 33 countries in the world with a severe teacher shortage. UIS projection shows that Uganda needs to increase its teachers stock by 5% every year.
"During my study, I noticed a worrying trend; instead of increasing, the number of primary teachers had actually declined by nearly 2% over a period of two years (between 2004 and 2006).