Corporal Punishment and Whether to Stay OR Leave Africa.

Corporal punishment has been one of the most frustrating experiences we have ever encountered in our 65+ years. To address the corporal punishment in our school, we contacted the parents of two learners who had been physically punished at the hands of a beautiful, young, articulate, kind-looking teacher.

The parents are professionals who are very supportive of their daughters who are exemplary in every way. The girls, of course, had not reported to their parents for fear of disappointing them. The parents were shocked, took the matter to our school’s Executives (it is a semi-private school) and the principal announced shortly after that: it is unlawful to use corporal means of punishment and it will not be used at this school.

The teachers usually ignore him, but this time, they listened grumbled, but listened. Now they blame every-misconduct on their inability to discipline (isn’t corporeal punishment the only way?)

We offered documents (from their own government’s Ministry of Education) suggesting alternative methods, but no one was interested.

We came here for one year, extended for a second, and although the learners are begging us to stay longer, we just cannot. We are using our family back home as our excuse, but honestly, we cannot handle this any longer.

We are well aware that if we don’t have another US volunteer to replace us, the beatings will continue. It isn’t just the issue of punishment; it is blatant disregard for any directives given by any authority figure. We tried to be understanding, tried to accept the differences, but the learners deserve so much better, and we can’t see where they are going to get it.

We also went directly to the learners, telling them that they way they are treated is wrong teachers laughing at them if they cry when the teacher berates them; teachers punishing them when other learners accuse them, but never being allowed to tell their side of the story; teachers telling them that they should know the material if they ask for help and then refuse to waste their time by explaining again; teachers asking learners if their parents are too poor to buy them a new pair of shoes when their toes are sticking out of the ends; asking learners why the parents don’t come to Parent’s Meetings, they must not care about you ; teachers referring to girls’ developing breasts and laughing because her blouse doesn’t close properly and always, always these things take place in front of other learners & teachers.

The kids have stolen our hearts, the teachers are products of their upbringing, and we are abandoning them. We just cannot do this any longer!


2 thoughts on “Corporal Punishment and Whether to Stay OR Leave Africa.

  1. Andre Weaks

    Students shouldn’t be laughed at or questioned this way, things will change because the kids need motivation in order to be successful.


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