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SOS-Primary School Abomey-Calavi against corporal punishments in neighbouring schools!
04 March 2009
In the framework of the follow-up and evaluation of the advocacy for the fight against corporal punishment, pupils who are members of the executive board of Hermann Gmeiner primary school of Abomey-Calavi, the two headmasters, the teacher in charge of sponsorship at SOS Children’s Village Abomey-Calavi and the specialized teacher visited a primary school in the town of Abomey-Calavi.

Here like in many other schools, the teaching/learning/evaluation approach is often accompanied with corporal punishment or any other means which can violate the moral and physical integrity of learners. The Hermann Gmeiner primary school of Abomey-Calavi has undertaken a crusade against such a thing.

Corporal punishment is not new in Benin Republic. It has appeared with the colonial schools. Then, the student who is capable of repeating the lessons like a parrot is good. The one, who fails in doing so, is bad. Because of that, he has to be properly beaten. In spite of the educational reforms which have been conducted, the practice continues. There has been a departmental order signed by the minister of primary education under number 100, which forbids corporal punishment in schools in Benin Republic. But the Hermann Gmeiner primary school of Abomey-Calavi feels very concerned with the respect of the children’s rights. To that effect, it has organized meetings with the actors of education, especially teachers and radio presenters.

To that effect, the pupils who are members of the executive board of the Hermann Gmeiner primary school of Abomey-Calavi actively participated to the meeting with the teachers and pupils of the primary school that was visited. They were eye witnesses of a scene. A teacher in sixth grade class was leading a mathematics course. He asked a student to go to the board for an exercise and the latter failed to do the operation. The teacher, in his fury started beating him properly. The pupils in campaign stood up and asked the teacher not to do so again. They took the stick from him and broke it in small pieces.

They took the remaining sticks and burned them. The teacher confessed that his methods are not good and that it was high time he changed.

It is worthwhile recalling that the Hermann Gmeiner Primary school of Abomey-Calavi worked with some private schools last year on the same plea. Teachers were instructed so that the use of stump and stick would definitely disappear from the educational system. It was known by everybody that corporal punishment will never solve education problems. The patience and the expertise of teachers are really required in the teaching/learning/evaluation approach. It is no more a secret that some teachers hide their defect by using corporal punishment. They do so because they refuse to question themselves. They then forget that teaching/learning/evaluation approach is an art which requires a permanent self evaluation questioning. But, when corporal punishment is the ultimate solution to make pupils follow their teacher, one must worry about the competence of that teacher. The use of corporal punishment produces violent citizens who will in turn perpetuate it in their community. But, the Hermann Gmeiner primary school of Abomey-Calavi which wants at any cost to make children’s rights be respected is in favour of an advocacy against corporal punishment. Of course, the task isn’t easy; but there is hope that our plea will be understood and accepted one day. Concrete examples have been given in order to edify the participants. In Abomey-Calavi school administration, a student died because he was beaten by his teacher. The authorities were informed and some measures have been taken. An official letter has been sent to schools to warn teachers who are used to such a practice.

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