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Feature Article of Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Columnist: Akpah, Prince

Abuse Mistaken For Discipline

A Threat To Child Right (EDUCATION)

Keywords as define by the Collins Dictionary.

Abuse: treatment of someone cruelly and violently

Discipline: Practice of making people obey rules or standards and punishing them when they do not.

I have had my basic and secondary education in Ghana, a country noted for the instillment of discipline in her society. Discipline in it's natural sense must be aimed at correcting mistakes but not to the extent of harming the offender or inflicting pain physically and emotionally.

The kind of discipline i have witnessed and experienced in the various schools i attended are ushered for the right purposes but not in the right way.

Children's right have been violated through improper discipline in Ghana and Africa as a whole. Can you imagine students loose their right to education just because they do not want to take stokes of cane any longer from their teachers. Some teachers also go to the extent of using bamboo stick, big size nim tree branches and other items just to punish students. A 2001 publication by UNICEF "knowing and living our rights" a distraught teacher of Croatian took ten pupils of the six grade to her home and kept them locked up in a room for several hours; just to serve as a way to punish these students for something they may have done wrong.

In Ghana, even though students are made to sign bond of good behaviour before they start senior high school (secondary), they are also made ignorant of the code of conduct that govern educational institutions in the country. Some of the rules have also being made unbearable, dear reader can you imagine when a student fail to attend a social gathering in senior high school in Ghana, the student stand a chance of being withdrawn from the school by the authourities. One that has provoke me to break my silence on the way child Right concerning the RIGHT TO EDUCATION is being violated through discipline in giving INDEFINITE SUSPENSION to students irrespective of the class they are, based on the declaration by the head of institution by his/her own discretion which is not found among the rules and regulations governing the school. Students are made to stay in the house without going to school till when they are remembered and forgiven by the authorities of the school, they are invited back to the school to continue their studies. Is this not going to affect the academic status of the students-our future leaders? Are the human resources of our nation and the world at stake?

Discipline has now turned to be an abuse status of our rights in our schools. I attended a government senior high school, where the headmaster can autocratically halt all academic programmes and usher punishment to the whole student body including the prefectorial board just because some students (not all) did not attend school morning devotion.

I have being a victim, where a teacher put his personal interest, that is, being known as the best teacher to lash students when he punished me for making good use of my time by making good use of the school's library when we did not have a teacher in the class attending to us for any subject.

I can also remember in my final year in junior high school, students are to report as early as 6:30 am for classes.When you come after this time, you are liable to be punished by a teacher, even though this is just to instill punctuality in the potential future leaders, the teachers just use any material they have in hand to beat late comers, i have also being a victim of this several times and i can tell you this punishments do not change the lifestyle of so many who report late.

Lashing students have become a pleasure for some teachers in Africa. Whiles in junior high school i can remember a teacher who can ask you a question and expect you to answer within a second and when you fail, you receive strong lashes as he is known for.

Students in Africa and Ghana drop out of school because of this attitude of lashing by student. This induce fears into then with the mindset that they only get lashed in school. MORE NEED TO BE DONE TO HELP AFRICAN CHILDREN GET TO KNOW THAT EDUCATION IS A RIGHT but not SOMETHING THEY MUST BE PART OF.

AKPAH PRINCE.

akpahprince@ymail.com

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