The Ministry of Education and Ghana Education Service have jointly opposed the use of corporal punishment as a corrective mechanism in our public and private basic schools. Ghanaian Teachers, especially those in public schools have been advised to adopt measures provided in the “Head Teacher’s Handbook” and the “Positive Discipline Toolkit” provided by the Ghana Education Service and the Ministry of Education to deal with inappropriate behaviours exhibited by their pupils or learners.
So, Over the years, there have been controversies and debates currently in our country surrounding the use of canes on students in schools. While some believe that canning is the best way to discipline students who go wayward, others believe that caning does not in any way help discipline a child hence a need for its abolishment.
Corporal Punishment Was Effective in Some Years Back
In some years back, a teacher was among the most respected individuals in the community. a teacher holding a cane in the school compound put a little fear in students and they turned to comport themselves for the fear of been lashed by the teacher. Most of us benefited greatly from it.
In those days, if a teacher’s shirt is seen hanging around a public toilet no student will ever try going near the place until the teacher is done and gone. Nowadays students see teachers as their peers, I witnessed a teacher holding two gallons to fetch water and met his students on the way, the students asked the teacher “Sir are you going to fetch water?”, they never bothered to offer the teacher a helping hand. In the 80’s and the 90’s students go to teacher’s house to fetch water for them.
Indiscipline in Secondary Schools Nowadays
It has been realised that students’ indiscipline in secondary schools in our country Ghana has become a national issue that has eaten too deep into the students’ moral up bring. Students have become uncontrollable and highly disrespectful to: themselves, Teachers, School Administrators, Parents and to the society at large. Students portray different types of indiscipline behaviour among which include the following acts: boycotting of lessons, watching and practicing pornography, lies telling, violence, dishonesty, disobedient to teachers, prefects, and school administration, rapping school/class mates, alcohol consumption, confronting and stabbing teachers in schools, vandalism, lateness to school, cultism, drug abuse, insulting/assaulting, stealing, rioting; among others.
The extent to which students’ indiscipline behaviours in school are increasing are not known whether these influences come from their peer group, their parent’s attitude, teacher’ attitude, school culture, climate and environment.
Seriously, Indiscipline in school greatly affects the quality of teaching and learning, uncovered or unfinished school curriculum.
Moreover, here is the case we are living in a 21st Century World fill with Advances in Industry, Science and Education, change of mentality in our time, affecting us both positive and negative way. In one word, we are living in a global village because of advances in Technology.
But is the caning the solution to indiscipline among students in our schools? This question can be valid because despite measures provided in the Head Teacher’s Handbook and the Positive Discipline Toolkit and the caning in many schools, indiscipline is still high in schools. Some students even go to the extra mile by fighting their teachers. So, should Ministry of Education and Ghana Education Service try another method to minimize the impact of indiscipline among students? Here is mine personal suggestion:
Should Ministry of Education and Ghana Education Service Adopt the Ivorian’s Method?
I personally was a student in Ivory Coast precisely Abidjan. To succeed in Ivory Coast as a student, one must be very competitive and disciplined in all spheres. Just like Ghana, Ivory Coast officially banned all forms of corporal punishment of students in schools as part of the efforts aimed at promoting a safe and protective learning environment for students at the JHS-SHS level, meaning that students are mature enough and can be responsible for their own bad bahaviour.
However, strict measures have been put in place to ensure that students comply and conform with the school rules and regulations. Most Schools in French countries have system which keep track of every student’s life record. At the beginning of every academic year, each student is given “16 points” which it’s called “behavior, conduct or discipline point”.
A student gets a deduction if he or she repeats any form of misconduct for three times or less. For instance: sleeping, lateness to school and fighting in school attract one-point deduction each. But, disrespect to teachers or other school authorities can attract more than “2 points” deduction.
Parents of a student whose points have been deducted less than “10 points” get informed at the spot since below “8 points” the student might repeat his class. A student who reaches “Zero points” is then expelled from the school no matter how intelligent that student is. Both Learners and their parents or guardians know the consequences of expulsion. I am a product of that discipline.
If caning was the solution to indiscipline in school, like by now students should still not be seen engaging in bad behaviors. However, that is not the case. Despite the rate at which students are caned, indiscipline is still on the rise. Some students still go ahead to engage in wayward behaviors with their mind already prepared for the cane they will receive. It is just like saying “after all it’s just caning”. As a matter of fact, some students are so used to the cane that it is no longer causes them fear.
Finally, with this strategy adopted by French countries with deduction of points on “conduct or behavior” works on students even though not 100%. Ghanaians teachers would be happy to welcome this strategy as indiscipline has overwhelmed our educational system to the extent that students hide behind social media to insult leaders.
This article has already been sent directly to the “Ministry of Education” and “Ghana Education Service”.
By Michael Djan
Michael Djan is a concern citizen about Education in Ghana especially French Education and Digital Marketing Blogger/Content Writer @ frencheducationgh.com