THE Zimbabwe Teachers Association (Zimta) has distanced itself from a petition to the government, demanding authorities to reinstate corporal punishment in schools.
Raymond Majongwe, the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe secretary general, reportedly sent a petition to President Robert Mugabe asking that he retract provisions of the new Constitutional that outlawed corporal punishment, arguing that this would lead to a sharp increase in cases of indiscipline among pupils.
However, Zimta chief executive officer, Sifiso Ndlovu said they were against the petition and will never be in support of anyone that condones violence.
“Two years ago we Zimta joined an international campaign against violence in schools and made a plea to the government to ensure a safe environment within schools and that included the total extinction of violence in schools,” he said.
“Now that we were granted our wish we cannot start to cry foul.
“We hail the judgment passed by the High Court to ban the punishment of children using any violent form, including caning and believe that it will yield positive results.”
In the petition, Majongwe said: “As a union, we are receiving reports from our members in schools that cases of indiscipline are on the rise. Outright removal of corporal punishment could easily worsen the situation.”
He said corporal punishment helped to keep students in line and that the scrapping of that form of punishment works against efforts to nurture responsible citizens and attain higher pass rates in schools. Ndlovu, however, insisted that there were many other non-violent ways of disciplining learners.
“Our wish is to create safe schools and a pupil can be progressively disciplined by not using violent forms like caning, spanking and even rebuking,” he said.
“Violence strips a person of their humanity and being young certainly does not mean the person is any less of a human.
“Children that come from violent backgrounds are highly likely to live violent lives and we do not want that for our future leaders.
“A lot of issues in Zimbabwe are dealt with violently already and the school is the last place we want a culture of violence cultivated .”
Earlier this year, Harare High Court judge Justice Ester Muremba ruled as unconstitutional the caning of a student who had been convicted of rape.
She ruled that section 353(1) of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act Chapter 907 was invalid in terms of Section 167(3) and Section 175(1) of the new Constitution.