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Influence of Physical Punishment Ban on Student Discipline in Public Secondary Schools in Kenya: A Case study of Ugenya, Gem and Siaya Sub-Counties

Abstract

David Otieno Onyango and Enose M.W. Simatwa

The Kenya government outlawed Physical Punishment in schools through enactment of The Basic Education Act (2013). This was as a result of the recommendations of the Task Force on Student Discipline and Unrests in Secondary Schools which revealed that Physical Punishment was one of the major contributors to indiscipline among students. Despite the ban the level of indiscipline in schools had remained a major concern in Ugenya, Gem and Siaya sub-counties, where cases of indiscipline for the years 2010-2015 were 514 (51%) higher than those experienced in Siaya County, 694 (44.1%) and national, 22050 (42.7%) for the same period. Therefore the objective of the study was to establish the influence of Physical Punishment ban on the level of student discipline in secondary schools in Ugenya, Gem and Siaya sub- counties. Discipline and organization among students in schools is vital in creating a conducive environment for learning. Discipline is a big concern for the teacher because the success or failure of a teacher or a principal of a school depends on it. Therefore students discipline is a critical factor in judging the performance of teacher. Besides, teachers are in loco parentis while a child is in school; they serve as surrogate parents. It is on this basis that teachers in Kenya were legally permitted to use physical punishment in 1972 through Legal Notice No. 40 of 1972. However, in 2001, the same Legal Notice was overturned by Legal Notice No. 56 of 2001, Children Act 2001, Constitution of Kenya, 2010 and The Basic Education Act 2013 because the disadvantages of use of physical punishment outweighed its advantage. It was also against the universal Declaration of Human Rights, that no person should be subjected to degrading treatment, torture and inhuman treatment, a product of United Nation to which Kenya is a signatory. It was also ostensibly against Kenya’s penal code. The study established that physical punishment ban in secondary schools was about 60%. The relationship between the physical punishment and level of student discipline was high, positive and statistically significant. Regression analysis revealed that increase in the increased level of student discipline in public secondary schools. Physical punishment means inflicting pain to a person’s body. The forms of physical punishment include: canning, slapping, pinching, manual work, sitting in hot sun, kneeling, punching, running around school, play grounds, smacking, fetching water from streams, and spanking. The infractions to which these forms of physical punishment were found applied included: violence upon teachers and other fellow students, robbery, engaging in habitual profanity, vulgarity, sexual assault, terrorist threat against school authority extortion, death threats, drug abuse, vandalism, theft, disobedience, sneaking from school, truancy, possession of inflammable substances, firearms, gay, physical attacks, fighting, sexual harassment, bullying, noise making, unrest, strikes, fornication and flirtation. Prior to the ban the level of student discipline had seriously deteriorated to the extent that some parents were withdrawing their children from schools, which had been perceived earlier as havens of peace and institutions of character building apart from talent development and expertise re-engineering.

DOI: 10.14303/er.2016.135

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