By Joseph Erunke, ABUJA
THE United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, has said 85 per cent of Nigerian children between the ages of one and 14 experience violent discipline in schools, with nearly one in three children experiencing severe physical punishment.
UNICEF Chief of Education, Saadhna Panday-Soobrayan, disclosed this at a two-day National Awareness Creation Meeting on Ending Corporal Punishment in Schools, organised by the Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria, TRCN, in collaboration with UNICEF, in Abuja yesterday.
Panday-Soobrayan described the discussion on ending corporal punishment in schools as “difficult and heart-breaking,” stating, however, that the presence of participants at the meeting was a testament to Nigeria’s determination to uphold every child’s right to safety, well-being and quality education.
He said: “Yesterday, we confronted the harrowing reality that 85 per cent of children between the ages of one and 14 in Nigeria experience violent discipline, with nearly one in three children experiencing severe physical punishment.
“Much of this violent discipline takes place in the form of corporal punishment in the very institutions that are entrusted to keep children safe, develop respect for human rights and prepare them for life in a society that promotes understanding peace, and conflict resolution through dialogue.”
Also speaking, Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, who was represented by Binta Abdulkadir, endorsed the action plan and roadmap for ending corporal punishment in schools, in line with the Child’s Rights Act passed into law in 2003, to protect children’s right to a life free of violence.
Adamu noted that globally, there was evidence indicating that corporal punishment in schools had impacted negatively on attendance and learning as well as outcomes.
Earlier, the Registrar of TRCN, Prof Josiah Ajiboye, said globally, there was paradigm shift from corporal punishment in schools because of its effect on pupils, adding that the practice had been proven to be ineffective, dangerous and an unacceptable method of controlling and maintaining behavior and discipline.
On his part, the World Bank Senior Education Specialist, Prof Tunde Adekola, said the global bank believed there was a correlation between learning, poverty and corporal punishment, stressing the urgency of implementing the action plan against corporal punishment in schools.
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