Government has been urged to as a matter of urgency to enact a law to abolish corporal punishment of children in the country to protect their rights.
The Ghana Media Advocacy Programme, (G-MAP), a non-governmental organisation (NGO) on child rights, which made the call said the practice was affecting the development and wellbeing of children.
A statement issued in Accra and signed by Mr Abdul Malik Jeleel, Executive Director of G-MAP, said in the Northern part of Ghana, some children abandoned the classroom and roam the streets as a result of corporal punishment.
It said “Recently, in the media, a case is reported of Kwabena Gyan, teacher of Oda Nkwanta Local Authority Primary School, facing charge of provisional murder at a magistrate's court at Akim Oda. He allegedly administered two stokes of cane on a 14-year-old pupil, Victoria Ampofo, and others, and Anpofo died later on in the day”.
The statement expressed the hope that with the track record of the Minister of Women and Children's Affairs (MOWAC), Ms. Akua Sena Dansua, as women and children rights activist, she would be able to lobby government for the enactment of any such law to promote the rights of children.
It wondered why the abolition of corporal punishment was not included in the Children's Act (1998), which seeks to protect children from torture, inhuman or degrading treatment and cultural practices which are injurious to their physical and mental wellbeing.
The statement said “children, who suffer torture or corporal punishment, might grow into adulthood with terrible memories. Some of them could even become deviants, hardened criminals or hate humanity, even their own parents, with its grievous consequences on society.”
It said the NGO was mindful of the old adage “spare the rod and spoil the child” but suggested that appropriate, safer and effective alternative methods of disciplining children should be adopted.
The statement said “We are also concern that with the practice of corporal punishment, children are most likely to suffer injuries which might not be reported to the police and have psychological consequences on the children”.
It said it was unfortunate that in some instances people seeking to correct the behaviour of children through corporal punishment themselves became victims of attacks or legal action when the children suffer injuries in the process.
The statement urged the media to intensify public education of parents, guardians and professionals working with and for children about the harmful effects of corporal or violent forms of discipline and promote positive non-violent forms of discipline and respect of child rights.