The incident involving a Top Class pupil at Home Kindergarten in Najeera Township, a Kampala suburb, is very unfortunate and regrettable.
A teacher in an early learning centre allegedly beat up a six-year-old child, who later died from her injuries.
Albaqueen Kainerugaba, was allegedly beaten by her teacher while in class as a way of punishment. The details on the nature and extent of beating are not yet known but the incident is a subject of police investigation.
The school and the deceased’s parents at first thought they would have an out of court settlement. Alas! The child died before that could happen.
In 1997, government outlawed corporal punishment in the country’s schools but this has not ended the habit. School children are bearing the brunt of school and government’s failure to enforce the ban on corporal punishment, leaving many victims along the way.
Many incidents of pupils and students who have been maimed, who have had their careers cut short and others dying as a result of corporal punishment have been reported but the beating or caning of learners has continued unabated. It is extremely disturbing for a parent to receive this unpleasant news from a school or health facility that their child is unwell or dead as a result of beating at school.
Teachers are administering corporal punishment as a way of compelling learners to master the learning areas, almost bordering on rote learning, to force the students to remember and regurgitate what has been learnt.
But why should corporal punishment persist in schools amid a law outlawing it and the associated negative impact it brings? Why should students continue to lose their lives, ostensibly done to make someone learn?
All stakeholders; the ministry of Education, parents, teachers and activists should join hands to stem this barbarism that is manifesting in schools.
Children can still learn and understand without a threat of caning! It is good to benchmark and find out how other countries inculcate knowledge without beating learners.
The culture of beating where some want to evoke the Bible teaching of spare the rod and spoil the child, has been misused to the detriment of the children.
It is high time government revisited the issue with the view of instituting severe punitive measures to make it very costly for the perpetrators of corporal punishment.
It is a savage attitude to imagine that students can only learn when they are beaten. But worse outcome of this beating like the death of six-year-old Kainerugaba is disheartening and heart breaking and must be stopped.
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