Bisnauth warns against excessive force in schools

Guyana Chronicle
October 19, 2000

MINISTER of Education, Dr Dale Bisnauth has sent a strong message to teachers using excessive force for discipline in schools.

"It will not be tolerated," he warned Monday, while delivering the feature address at the commissioning of Providence Primary School, East Bank Demerara.

Bisnauth said complaints of that nature are normally channelled through a report or letter.

But, early on the morning of October 16, a concerned grandfather visited him because a teacher was constantly "boxing" his grandson. The Minister said he had a conversation with the Prep `A' child who made it quite clear he does not want to go back to school. "Imagine boxing a Prep `A' child systematically," Bisnauth exclaimed, stating that it was done by a Cyril Potter College of Education (CPCE) graduate who was educated in psychology, child behaviour and issues relevant to the discipline.

The Minister said the teacher had forgotten to apply what she learnt.

Bisnauth recalled that a mother took her child to him last week and he was so horrified by what he saw, he instructed the woman to write a report for him and go to the Police immediately.

"And believe me, I am to call the Police in and put that teacher in their hands. "A new child in a new primary school, just leaving nursery and she beat him. If you see his back, covered with welt, raw and still bleeding.

"I cannot, for the life of me, understand how some people can be so cruel. I cannot understand, for the life of me, what a five-year-old plus child could have done to provoke such a wrath for this child to be beaten so severely and so savagely," the Minister admitted. "I will not tolerate it and I am sure that no parent would tolerate it. I am also sure that no headteacher would tolerate it. I am also certain that the majority of teachers will not tolerate it either," Bisnauth said.

"We have got to make a distinction between discipline and abuse in the education system," he stressed. Reflecting on his boyhood days at school, the Minister remembered teachers operated on one major principle of curriculum delivery, that knowledge was to be communicated through a strap or cane dexterously applied to your backside.

He said that is why a lot of boys hated school, and up to today, he still has very unpleasant memories of those days. "I hope it is changing. I sincerely hope so," Bisnauth said, appealing to teachers to develop the capacity for caring the nation's most priceless resource, its children.

"Think of each child you teach as your own. Every boy and girl are your children and our children. Teach them well, not only in the delivery of the curriculum, but also in the way you treat with them," he urged the teachers.

Bisnauth acknowledged that teachers generally have a greater influence than parents over the average child. "Whatever the teacher says is most authoritative. Since that is the case, it is incumbent upon those who deliver the curriculum to deliver not only Mathematics, English, Social Studies and Science, as important as these subjects are, but to deliver the subjects in such a way that something of your own caring personality, interest and ethics will communicate as well," he advised.(Guyana Information Services)

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