Adamu commends UNICEF, TRCN for moving to end corporal punishment in schools

By Paul Michael

Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, has commended the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria (TRCN) for collaborating to end corporal punishment in schools.

UNICEF, an agency of the United Nations that is responsible for providing humanitarian and developmental aid to children worldwide has collaborated with TRCN to develop a draft national action plan targeted at ending corporal punishment.

While commenting on the initiative, Adamu said the action plan would improve enrolment, retention, transition and completion in education.

The Minister, who was represented by Hajia Binta Abdulkadir, the Director, Senior Secondary Education Department, stated this at the National Awareness Creation Meeting on Ending Corporal Punishment in Schools.

Adamu said the country is beginning to see a global change of how corporal punishment is considered, noting that now it is easier to see that such punishment is not effective and that there are alternatives.

He said, “the Federal Ministry of Education, therefore, endorses this plan to serve as a roadmap for ending corporal punishment in schools in line with the Child’s Right Act passed into law in 2003.

“It will help to protect children’s right to a life of violence.”

Meanwhile, the Registrar, TRCN, Prof Josiah Ajiboye, said that learning and safety could no longer be thought of as separate entities, hence the need to build a safe education to build better and safer children.

Ajiboye harped on the need for a more effort to educate parents and teachers on the implication of corporal punishment as well as the alternatives that were available to them.

He said good school discipline depends on skilled and properly trained teachers, not students’ bad behaviour.

According to him, “Globally, there is a paradigm shift from corporal punishment in schools because of its effect on pupils.

“It has been proven to be ineffective, dangerous and an unacceptable method of controlling and maintaining behaviour and discipline.

“This is because it brings negative rather than positive consequences in the whole process of teaching and learning.”

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Ajiboye, therefore, said the campaign was committed to seeing a school culture that ensured a safe and respectful environment for everyone.

On his part, representative of the Technical Working Group of the action plan, Noah Ashibi, said over 62 per cent boys and 59 per cent girls were reported to have experienced some form of physical abuse.

Ashibi, who is also an Assistant Director, TRCN, Cross River Coordinator, further stated that pupils had such abuses as corporal punishment in schools and at home.

He stressed that the findings have huge implications for children’s right to education in Nigeria and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 4.

He said, “Nigeria is presently struggling with a large number of out-of-school children, a phenomenon largely attributable to the various forms of violence affecting children.

“In a recent survey of learners, teachers, parents and traditional leaders in northern Nigeria, 62 per cent of learners reported experiencing various forms of corporal punishment such as flogging, slapping, kicking, frog jump and other physical violence.

“Over half of the respondents identified teachers as the main perpetrators of corporal punishment.

“These violent disciplinary practices persist with the large body of research that acknowledged the physical, emotional, developmental and psychological harm that they inflict on children.”

However, he called for serious action from all stakeholders to eradicate the practice from schools.

Also, Mrs Odinakachi Ahanonu, the Policy Advisor, Civil Society Action Coalition on Education for All (CSACEFA), called for a strong synergy in ensuring that the plan contributed to ending corporal punishment in schools.

A call to action was placed on federal, state, local governments, and school levels to create awareness on the dangers of corporal punishment, coordinated at all levels.

Stakeholders were also charged to develop and implement a policy framework focusing on ending corporal punishment in schools and homes.

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