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22.12.2011 Education

'Comply With Policy On Corporal Punishment'

By Emmanuel Bonney - Daily Graphic
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The Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) has advised the Ghana Education Service (GES) to put in place mechanisms to ensure strict supervision and compliance with its policy on corporal punishment in schools.

It said although many countries had recognised the harmful effects of the practice and had abolished it, “Ghana still maintains canning as the main form of corporal punishment in our schools, where teachers freely wield canes”.

Presenting the highlights of the 2011 CHRAJ Report on the State on Human Rights in Ghana, the CHRAJ Commissioner, Ms Lauretta Vivian Lamptey, said “During the period under review, the commission found out that the GES policy on corporal punishment was not respected,” adding that it was evident that the majority of teachers was abusing it, thereby injuring pupils in the process.

She said CHRAJ had had the occasion to recommend that corporal punishment be discontinued in schools, and that until that was done, the commission recommended that the GES should put in place mechanisms to ensure strict supervision and compliance with that policy.

The CHRAJ boss called for an increase in both the Capitation Grant and pupils benefiting from the School Feeding Programme, to improve the delivery of basic education and attract more school-age children.

She said the Capitation Grant should be increased from the current GH¢ 4.50 to GH¢ 7.00 to meet the operation costs of schools and pointed out that pupils who benefited from the School Feeding Programme programme should be increased from one million to two million next year.

According to the CHRAJ boss, the “combined effects of the Capitation Grant and the School Feeding Programme has increased school enrolment, retention and attendance by pupils in deprived communities”.

On the Capitation Grant, for instance, the commission found that of the 211 basic schools inspected in 2010 to evaluate the disbursement of the Capitation Grant, it was realised that the grant had been of some assistance to the schools.

“The grant has improved funding support to the schools and increased supply of teaching and learning materials to the schools.

However, 60 per cent of schools monitored continue to charge fees (PTA and printing levies) to support their operations, due to the inadequacy of the grant,” it said.

CHRAJ said delays in the release of the grant was seriously undermining the efficacy of the Capitation Grant programme.

The commissioner said, “The commission commends the government for increasing the Capitation Grant to GH¢ 4.50 per child per term in 2009. However, in the view of the commission, the rate is still too low”.

The commission called on the government to release the grant to the schools before the commencement of each school term, adding that the Capitation Grant should be administered in such a manner that would ensure that all Ghanaian children benefited from high quality basic education.

Ms Lamptey said the delivery and expansion of quality basic education remained a profound challenge, notwithstanding important initiatives such as the Capitation Grant and the School Feeding Programme.

Lack of trained teachers in public schools, she said, contributed to the poor quality of education at the basic education level.

She said results of monitoring exercises carried out over a five-year period showed that a large number of schools, especially basic schools in rural communities, lacked adequate teaching and learning materials in spite of the Free Compulsory Universal Basic Education policy.

“The continuous existence of non-school going children who are supposed to enjoy free basic education is disturbing,” she emphasised.

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