A large amount of readers voted for corporal punishment in schools despite exceptional cases of battering against students.
A majority of our site visitors favoured the use of canes on disobedient learners as opposed to being left alone. The responses were forwarded in the light of a tragic incident which led to the death of a female instructor, Odilinye Rita, who was assaulted by the mother of a pupil named Okafor Chinaza.
The incident which occurred on Wednesday, November 29, 2017, at the Starlight Secondary School, Ogidi, Anambra State, brought to the fore the lack of cooperation between educational institutions and parents, which has seen the latter object to the scolding of their children.
Rita was put at the receiving end of an undue violence after flogging the student who had refused to carry out an assigned task involving the cleaning of a classroom as indicated on a roster. According to Vanguard News, Chinaza was rude and unwilling to heed correction given by the deceased, a behaviour that prompted some scolding.
Her mother's reaction seemed a bright reflection of the type of training she had been exposed to - a factor that resulted in the demise of her teacher.
There have been an apparent reduction in the quality of morals instilled in pupils by their schools as a result of the reservation against corporal punishment which has helped put some naughty students in check in the past.
Admittedly, some teachers have taken to extreme measures while disciplining erring pupils, a factor that has discouraged the application of tough corrective measures.
The 2016 battering of a female pupil, Ogechi Anyalewechi by administrators at the Eva Adelaja Girls’ Junior Secondary School in Bariga, Lagos, is one in a recent list of cases that has prevented the use of force when correcting students.
Anyalewechi was 14 and had suffered the worst treatment possible for her impulsive reaction after the Head Girl of the school slapped her for being rude. The school principal as well as other senior teachers had ensured that she suffered the consequence of returning the slap which left her body in a bad shape due to an intense beating.
This act received condemnation from Princess Uzamat Akinbile-Yussuf, a Lagos State Commissioner for Youth and Social Development, who insisted that such brutality will not be condoned all in the name of discipline, The Nation News reports.
Some parents have raised fears that this position might have a detrimental effect on the upbringing of their children.
“During my days (mid 60s-mid 70s), there was discipline. If you did anything wrong you were flogged. In the secondary school, especially in the boarding house, we were given corporal punishment. However, society has changed and we are looking up to America.
"In America you cannot beat children. But the maturity of children in America is different from our own children here; so if we just import those laws and behaviour, it’s going to spell doom for us. In America, where you don’t beat children or use verbal abuse and all that, you now have gun problems.
"Students go to school with guns and they shoot their classmates, it is indiscipline. So if you refuse to flog your children, it’s going to spell doom for Nigeria. In my days, in the boarding house you have senior prefects, they can flog you and you have bruises and you won’t even have the guts to report to the house master.
"It is discipline. If I flog my child, and he has bruises, the government will tell you it is wrong; but if we don’t, it will spell doom for us," a parent, Mr. Williams Oladeji told The Nation.
Addressing the issue appears to be a very delicate one and requires long thinking and not hasty decisions. The Biblical book of Proverbs warns that sparing a child of the rod implies hatred for the individual.
Perhaps, a thorough review of the educational policies will be apt in a bid to quickly change what has benefited students who are now adults in the past. The fact is that the mindset of children born in the current era is rather unique and should call for a special approach as opposed to indulging them.
An effective training of instructors in a bid to deal with contemporary challenges of nurturing students should also be considered for a balanced experience - one of the essence of the idea of education.