Corporal punishment still persists in Cape schools

Statistics from the Provincial Education Department has revealed over 200 W Cape teachers have been found guilty of using corporal punishment over a year, despite it being illegal.

Paddy Attwell, Spokesperson Western Cape Education Department, talks to CapeTalk's Mike Wills (standing in for John Maytham) to discuss the implications of these figures.

If you look at the figures, less than 1% of the workforce, they are not statistically significant, but every case matters and over 200 does sound like a lot.

Paddy Attwell, Spokesperson Western Cape Education Department

Corporal punishment is illegal in terms of the South African Schools Act.

What kind of corporal punishment is being meted out?

It can range from a child being slapped, through to a serious assault. But we always view it in a serious light. Corporal punishment is regarded as serious misconduct.

Paddy Attwell, Spokesperson Western Cape Education Department

Very often it's a slap on the hand, but it can involve a stick. Some people claim it could involve a plastic pipe, whatever implement comes to hand.

Paddy Attwell, Spokesperson Western Cape Education Department

What happens to teachers accused of this misconduct?

Atwell says there are two aspects in dealing with this. One is a disciplinary action which involves an investigation once a complaint has been received.

We investigate every complaint.

Paddy Attwell, Spokesperson Western Cape Education Department

The other aspect is providing support and training on how to manage discipline. and encourages positive behaviour.

But we can't underestimate the challenges that many of our teachers face in classrooms.

Paddy Attwell, Spokesperson Western Cape Education Department

Atwell says they remain committed to building a society based on the values of our Constitution, and there is no chance of corporal punishment returning.

Listen to the full conversation below:


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