Angie Motshekga: This is how you deal with rogue pupils

2013-10-10 09:10

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Just and equitable alternatives to corporal punishment are available to teachers for dealing with rogue pupils, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga has said.

Speaking to City Press about discipline in schools, in the wake of a number of reports of pupils rising up against their teachers and assaulting them or verbally abusing them, Motshekga said the most effective way to deal with rogue pupils was to suspend or kick them out of class.

“We encourage teachers to employ other forms of discipline like forcing the kids to clean the school, pick up papers, exclude them from class and get them to stand on their feet for a long time.

“Sometimes teachers beat up kids for arriving late, but it’s better to exclude them. They must know that if they are late they won’t be able to get into the class,” she said.

“Sometimes they are destructive in class, just detain them, so that they don’t go home when other kids go home. Don’t allow them to take breaks or even go as far as calling their parents. You can even suspend them and tell them you will not be allowed in the school premises in the next week.”

Corporal punishment, she said, was violent and not the most effective way of addressing ill-discipline.

“The problem with corporal punishment is that it promotes violence. It’s a very violent act to beat up kids. It actually teaches kids that problems are solved through violence. You know they say violence begets violence”, she said.

Rather than beating them, just deal with the problem, she said.

Ronnie Moroatshehla, principal at the Masopa High School in Limpopo, said discipline in schools was a serious challenge.

“The constitution of this country, the Schools Act and the code of conduct of teachers all outlaw corporal punishment. But the means brought about to replace corporal punishment don’t work.”

For example, a suspended pupil will be disadvantaged because of the missed classes.

“Similarly, you can’t place them under detention without the parent consenting that they will come fetch them very late after school. Discipline in schools remains a serious challenge,” he said.

Many parents, he said, had outsourced the disciplining of their children to teachers. “This doesn’t work,” Moroatshehla said.

Kwanele Zulu, a teacher at Thembelihle Primary School in Mpumlanga, said ill-discipline in schools increased exponentially after the abolishment of corporal punishment.

“I don’t really know if the increase in bad behaviour is linked to the abolishment of corporal punishment. I’m not endorsing corporal punishment, but I can tell you that kids fear corporal punishment more than being suspended, detained or made to clean school premises.”

The Glenvista High School made international headlines last month when a pupil was filmed while attacking his teacher with a broom. A few days later in the Vaal another teacher was wounded when a gun accidentally went off while he was trying to disarm a pupil.

Video: eNCA

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