Teachers who administer corporal punishment on students, especially in public schools, have been advised by experts not to extend such disciplinary measures to girls.
Teachers’ disciplinary measures which involve flogging the erring student either on the buttocks or on the hands with a whip, is meant to create a more disciplined learning environment.
On the other hand, while scores of educationists are of the view that corporal punishment is a humiliating way of instilling discipline and should be abandoned, others believe that without it, students may take a wrong turn in life.
Recently, there was huge public outrage in Nasarawa state following a video which had go viral on social media showing a male teacher flogging female students at Government Science Secondary School Nassarawa-Eggon, on their buttocks, over lateness. The state government swiftly reacted by abrogating corporal punishment in schools and suspended some teachers from the said school.
A female teacher said corporal punishment which involves flogging students is a legal means of changing undesired behaviour in the classroom but too much of it could lead to injury and even affect students’ achievements.
An educationist, Dr Ibrahim Eshi, said that flogging is an acceptable punishment for female students but because of their weakness, they should not receive strokes of the cane like their male counterparts. He said female students could be given hard labour instead of flogging because it could become fatal, adding that it is inappropriate to flog female students on the buttocks during their periods.
“These practices flourished in the 1960s and 1970s when some of us were in school, because in those days educationists had no broad perspective on corporal punishment. They administered it at the level they wanted, even on female students. But today there are other segments that could be applied on female students,” he said.
Eshi further stressed that dealing with inappropriate behaviour in female schools could be very challenging, adding that the best approach for teachers is to invite parents and brief them about the attitude of their wards so as to jointly take appropriate disciplinary measure.
He explained that corporal punishment doesn’t allow the authorities to instill discipline in students in core educational institutions.
“In fact, denying a child lessons for three days while he stays within the school premises is a good punishment,” Eshi said.
A retired teacher, Abubakar Suleiman, on his part, said that corporal punishment will not make students take their studies serious, put them under control or improve their behaviour. Flogging will rather scare students to stay away from schools. He advised schools to employ a guidance counsellor who will offer advice to troubled students and assist teachers in taking appropriate decisions.
An educator, Uzokwu Chidibe, said one of the key elements in school administration is discipline and that while it is generally necessary to control students in school, it is not acceptable to use severe punishment in the process. Therefore, teachers must devise means of talking and advising students rather than beating them, adding that if punishment is necessary, it should be least humiliating and that teachers should use praise to reward students for engaging in appropriate behaviour.