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CSOs develop a tool to end corporal punishments in Ugandan Schools

By Evaline Namuwaya

Added 16th May 2019 06:07 PM

The Communications Officer of Raising Voices, Tabitha Suubi said the tool helps create schools free from violence.

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Pupils of Katikamu SDA having lunch at school. PHOTO: Evaline Namuwaya

The Communications Officer of Raising Voices, Tabitha Suubi said the tool helps create schools free from violence.

 
Annet Namono, a teacher in Mbale on March 27, 2019, punished an 18-year-old senior three student at Nyondo Secondary School in for failing to complete his homework.
 
While at St. Theresa Nyondo health centre III, Denis could not live long following the intense pain he went through at school after being beaten by his teacher. Those that happened to rush him to the hospital were his fellow classmates, he did not make it.
 
It is against this background that Civil Society Organisations have developed a tool that could reduce the number of cases against children in schools.
 
Yvonne Laruni, a program officer at Raising Voices, an organisation that advocates for rights of children said during the 2019 Global Action Week for Education that took place between April 24 and May 1, they advocated for a good learning environment.
 
“Learning is a right, children go to school not just to learn but to also enjoy the learning process, that is why Raising Voices is implementing a program code-named “A good school” where there is a clean environment, a good relationship between a teacher and the learners, better meals,” she explained.
 
The Communications Officer of Raising Voices, Tabitha Suubi said they developed a methodology called the Good School Toolkit that helps create schools free from violence.  She adds that while they recognise that the right to education does not only involve attending school, but also how students experience school.
 
“As Raising Voices, we believe that preventing violence in schools is important to children’s enjoyment of the right to education! Parents and community members too need to get fully involved in schools to shape a culture that supports children to learn free from violence,” she noted.
 
Teachers speak out
 
Suzanne Kyambadde, the headteacher of Katikamu SDA Primary school said since they adopted the “Good School Toolkit”, there has been a big difference in class performance and behaviour.
 
“Here we use the “wall of fame” where we write names of the best-disciplined pupil, best class performance, smartness, proper behaviour in class and those who care most for others. At the end of the week, we reward them, this makes others follow these examples,” she explained.
 
Richard Otim, the headteacher of Outspan Primary school in Bwaise said they work hand in hand with the student’s body named the “children’s court” to discipline pupils who tend to be indiscipline. If that method fails then the adults intervene.
 
“I have been one of the advocates for none-use of corporal punishments in school because since we started using the Good school toolkit, three years ago, a lot has changed. Harsh punishment has proven to work less if one wants results from disciplining pupils in the school,” he said.
 
In a 2014 report named “Out of School Children Study in Uganda”, by UNICEF also showed that approximately 28% of children sampled highlighted lack of interest in school as a contributor to dropping out. The unfriendly school environment was one of the major reason children gave for losing interest in school.
 
Findings from the Uganda National Violence Against Children Survey, 2018,  one in four girls (25%) and one in ten boys (11%) reported sexual violence in the past year. Four in ten girls (44%) and six in ten boys (59%) ages 13-17 experienced physical violence in the last year. More than one in five 13-17-year-old children reported experiencing emotional abuse in the last year.
 
In another baseline survey done by Raising Voices and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in 2012, from 3,706 (1,937 girls) attending P5, P6 and P7 in Luwero district, nearly all girls and boys surveyed had experienced physical violence by school staff in their lifetime – 94% girls and 93% boys.
 
Rose Sseninde, the minister of state for primary education said there is a need for more resources to implement the laws against corporal punishment in school.
 
“We have good laws against corporal punishment in schools but our implementers in the local government need to get more funding to see that this is dealt with,” Sseninde explained.
 
Corporal punishment was first outlawed in 1997, when Uganda, which has one of Africa’s most youthful populations, passed the Children Act. In the years that followed, human-rights advocates say children continued to face corporal punishment in their homes and schools.  In 2016, the corporal-punishment ban to all schools and colleges.

 

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