The Ministry of Education (MoE) has warned school administrators against issuing corporal punishment to learners in public and private schools in the country.
In a press statement signed by the Secretary for Education Chikondano Mussa on Tuesday, the Ministry has learnt with deep concern the circulation of a video clip on social media purportedly from Mwitiya Primary School in Machinga in which a teacher is whipping a learner mercilessly with a rod in a classroom.
The ministry would like to inform the general public that there is no school by such a name on its register of schools in Malawi.
“The Ministry would like to take this opportunity to remind all schools proprietors, head teachers, principals, teachers, support staffs, parents, guardians and all stakeholders that corporal punishment is not allowed in schools, whether private or public,
Children are entitled to be protected from any treatment that is, or is likely to be hazardous; interfere with their education or be harmful to their health or to their physical, mental or spiritual or social development. ” Reads the statement.
Research has shown that corporal punishment leads to dropout of learners from school which is contrary to the Ministry’s strategic priority of increasing equitable access to primary education by all school-age children in Malawi.
Recently, the Malawi Human Rights Commission released an investigation report on a similar incident into allegations of corporal punishment and child sexual abuse at Kalibu Academy private school.
In the report, the commission said it is carrying out sensitization meetings with school staff, and teachers on corporal punishment and good governance targeting all schools.
The commission said it also advocates for the prohibition of corporal punishment in the laws as is the case with regional trends in Zambia and South Africa which have completely banned corporal punishment in schools and other settings.