George Kebaso @PeopleDailyKe
The debate on whether to return the cane as a form of disciplining in schools has once again been reignited.
But to have the cane back in the hands of teachers, the law that put a caveat on corporal punishment has to be changed first according to Education Cabinet Secretary, George Magoha.
Speaking to journalists on Saturday at the Starehe Boys Centre, the CS said he believes that if well-applied, corporal punishment would instill discipline in children.
“I strongly believe well-applied corporal punishment will instill discipline in our children, but, there is a law which bars that one, so until the law is changed it remains banned,” he said after officiating celebrations to mark 60 years since the school was founded, by the late Geoffrey William Griffin back in 1959.
However, while sharing his personal experience with journalists on how corporal punishment possibly shaped him to be what he is today, the CS said in the African culture, it is always important to smack a child to instill discipline.
“I keep asking myself did we change the law to follow the external culture or not. Because in our culture it is ok to smack a child, but to do so responsibly.
For me, I had six of the best six times, and if I did not have them, perhaps I could have died as one of those hopeless people out there,” he said, even as he cautioned that his statement should not be taken to mean it is a policy.
“I am talking from my personal experience. But as a minister, I can’t make such a pronouncement without due process. I don’t want to be unconstitutional lest people would think I have become mad and contradicting policy,” the CS said.
The government banned corporal punishment in schools in 2001 and enacted the Children’s Act Government of Kenya, 2001— which entitles children to protection from all forms of abuse and violence.
Kenya is also a signatory to the Convention on the Rights of the Child United Nations, 1990 which states that discipline involving violence is unacceptable.
Use if must!
Kenya National Parents Association chair Nicholas Maiyo said although parents are divided on the matter, the association is advocating for the return of the cane, but to be used only when it is necessary.
“In our views to Parliament, we supported the idea of returning the cane to schools, but not to be used to administer punishment. We want it back as a demonstration that it is available and can be used when it is a must.
Kenya Secondary Schools Heads Association chair Indimuli Kahi said corporal punishment is an alternative but not the best.