Keep corporal punishment in schools - workshop
Stabroek News
June 18, 2004

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The National Workshop on Discipline without Beating yesterday said corporal punishment should be retained in schools. In this photo, a parent signs the signature campaign in support of the position. (Ken Moore photo)

Corporal punishment should be retained in the school system, stakeholders at the National Workshop on Discipline without Beating agreed yesterday.

The understanding that children in schools across the country should be physically disciplined was reached at the conclusion of the two-day workshop conducted by the National Commission on the Rights of the Child (NCRC) in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and the United Nations Children's Fund.

Chairman of the NCRC, First Lady Varshnie Jagdeo told the gathering yesterday that the understanding that corporal punishment should be retained in schools was shared by both adults and students at the workshop.

It was agreed that guidance programmes should be created in schools and stakeholders should examine why corporal punishment is not used in some schools.

The need for effective conflict resolution in schools and the wider society was also recommended together with a better understanding of corporal punishment and discipline.

Guyana is a signatory to the Convention on the Rights of the Child which in February declared that Guyana should expressly prohibit corporal punishment by law in the family, schools and other institutions.

As it relates to corporal punishment in the home the workshop did not take a position. Though the issue was debated during the sessions, stakeholders directed their focus to the school system.

NCRC launched a signature campaign yesterday seeking to find out whether children should be beaten in school. Children below age 18 are not permitted to sign.

Some 50 schoolchildren from across the country were involved in the workshop as well as teachers, officials of the Education Ministry, parents and interested parties.

Recommendations from the workshop presented to Education Minister Dr Henry Jeffrey yesterday said workshops on parenting skills should be conducted in every region.

Similar workshops have been planned for New Amsterdam, Anna Regina, Linden, Mabaruma and Bartica to spread the word that there are effective alternatives to beating.

Several persons at the workshop yesterday raised concerns about the signature campaign saying that the word `beaten' should be substituted by corporal punishment since beating connotes violence.

The Teaching Service Commission (TSC) recently took disciplinary action against two city primary school teachers found to have beaten two students, one of whom suffered a broken arm.