Punishmment and Discipline in Schools: an assessment of the Impact of Abolishing degrading Punishment on Discipline in selected high Schools of Solwezi district

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Phiri, Freddie Nkhani
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In Zambia today, a number of international policies have been ratified; among them was the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) which was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 20 November 1989 and came into force on 2 September 1990. In line with this Convention the Government of the Republic of Zambia banned all forms of degrading punishment in schools in 2003. This case study therefore assessed the impact of abolishing degrading punishment, especially corporal punishment, on discipline in selected high schools in Solwezi district of Zambia. The objectives of this study were, firstly, to find out whether the ban on degrading punishment in schools was being effectively implemented and, secondly, to assess the impact of the abolishment of degrading punishment, especially corporal punishment, on discipline in high schools. The three high schools were coded A, B and C, while data was collected from ninety (90) pupils, thirty (30) teachers and three (3) headteachers; through questionnaires, focus group discussions and interviews. The findings of the study revealed that the abrupt imposition of the ban on corporal punishment without provision of alternative and less harmful forms of punishment has led to the sudden deterioration of discipline in high schools. In view of the research findings, recommendations were made to the Ministry of Education to generally involve all the stakeholders to come up with alternative positive practices of punishment. Colleges of Education should revisit their syllabi to suit the demands of the changing psycho-social factors influencing learners' pattern of behaviour, and a number of alternative discipline solutions were suggested to the headteachers such as detaining offending pupils after school and informing their parents as a deterrent.
Educational Sociology--Study and Teaching--Zambia , Discipline of Children--Solwezi-Zambia , Punishment(school discipline--Zambia