‘No need to beat children in schools’ – Manickchand hints at overdue review of corporal punishment 

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Education Minister Priya Manickchand says there is no need to discipline children in schools by hitting them and hinted at a review the guidelines for corporal punishment in the school system.

Manickchand, while speaking to the News Room on Tuesday, acknowledged that there were breaches of the Ministry of Education’s guidelines for disciplining children.

Based on guidelines, corporal punishment in schools must only be administered by the head teacher, deputy or designated senior mistress or master.

Even with those guidelines, there have been complaints circulating online which suggest that teachers within classrooms are disciplining students.

The Education Minister, however, believes that physical punishment for children should be eliminated from schools.

“I think the time has come for us to allow other forms of discipline – to promote other forms of discipline – and to allow them to grow up in a violence free world, beginning with how we instill discipline; and so that is something you will see on our table very shortly,” the Education Minister stated.

Education Minister, Priya Manickchand (Photo: News Room/October 6, 2022)

“I personally do not believe we should be beating children in school; I think the rules we have right now are frequently breached and that is visible from social media.

“I believe that the very least we could do is allow parents to opt out of their children being disciplined with flogging or blows and so it is something we have to look back at and I am committed to looking back at it for the school system.”

Manickchand reminded the public that there have been instances when consultations were taken to Parliament over the forms of discipline in schools. Manickchand herself has led legislative debates on this before.

On Friday last, Manickchand gave teachers and trainee teachers a stern warning about “beating children black and blue” in the classrooms. She reminded teachers that they are responsible for nurturing children. She also told them that their attitudes and behaviours at school- whether good or bad- will leave a mark on the students in their classrooms.

Guyana signed onto the United Nations (UN) Rights of the Child Convention which sets out universal legal standards for the protection of children against neglect, abuse and exploitation. It also guarantees children their basic human rights.

 

 

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