HARARE – Primary and Secondary Education deputy minister Paul Mavhima has said schools and parents must continue administering corporal punishment on pupils but employ proportionate disciplinary techniques.
This comes after High Court judges have ruled that the use of corporal punishment on children at school and in the home is illegal — though the Constitutional Court still has to confirm the ruling.
Speaking at the presentation of a science laboratory at St Killian High School in Rusape on Tuesday, Mavhima said corporal punishment was necessary.
“Parents, what we only don’t want is for you to kill the children, but punish them. Teachers, punish them and rebuke them for this country to remain in good hands,” Mavhima said.
“We are now old, we want to leave this country in the hands of a generation that will better this country, and this is the generation that we hope is now going to transform this country economically and industrialise it. So, they should be punished, they should be reprimanded for them to be a good generation that we will pass responsibility to.”
The recent ruling by Justice Esther Muremba outlawing corporal punishment on children as was previously permitted by the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act has raised a storm among the Zimbabwean populace with those in the child rights sector mainly applauding the ruling while others in the general public and some sections of the education sector bemoaning the outright ban as unsuitable for the local context.
The ban was in fact simply an interpretation of the Constitution which in Section 53 outlaws the subjecting of any person, which includes children, to physical (corporal punishment) or psychological torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.