LAST week, it was reported that a boy at Luzira Progressive Junior School died after he had been caned by a teacher. Although there is debate for and against corporal punishment, the official position of the education ministry is against it.
â€˜Spare the rod and spoil the childâ€™ is no longer an attractive adage. Corporal punishment is not the best way of instilling discipline in children.
In fact, psychologists argue that corporal punishment can easily turn a difficult child into a worse one. The best way to help a child is to have a holistic understanding of his needs.
It is common in our schools to beat children for any reason under the sun. For example, speaking vernacular can attract a beating! Beating is not a method of teaching. Instead, it is a confession of professional failure! Child psychology and child study are very important aspects in the training of teachers.
In the case of the dead boy, it is possible the caning had nothing to do with his death, but it is also unlikely that the teacher would have beaten him if he knew the boy had a heart condition.
According to the postmortem, the cause of death was Rheumatic Heart Disease (RHD).
Experts say RHD is a complication of Rheumatic fever, an inflammatory disease that can involve many tissues including the heart, joints, skin, and the central nervous system. Rheumatic fever can cause permanent heart disease.
The â€˜smallâ€™ cane administered by the teacher on the boyâ€™s back could have been a fatal catalyst! It is essential for all schools to ensure they get a medical report on all their pupils at the time of enrolment.
As a rule, parents should be required to have their children undergo a full medical check-up. With a medical report signed by a qualified doctor, the teachers will know the individual circumstances of their pupils and how best to relate to them.
Schools must have pupilsâ€™ medical records