ActionAid Recommends New Model To Replace Corporal Punishment

ActionAid Ghana (AAG) has proposed the replacement of corporal punishment in schools with a new concept dubbed ‘Positive Discipline Approach (PDA).’

The PDA requires the use of non-violent means such as counselling and verbal correction, instead of caning, kicking, slapping and other physical means, including verbal or emotional forms of harm meted out to pupils in schools.

Addressing media practitioners in Bolgatanga on a day’s sensitisation programme, Mr Joseph Degbedzui, the Programme Officer of AAG, said corporal punishment, which is still predominant in some basic schools in the country, makes the school environment unsafe for children to learn.

He cited, for instance, that as a result of corporal punishment, some children either stop schooling or do not attend school regularly.

The Programme Officer explained that, based on that,  his outfit, in collaboration with its partners with support from Lotteries, a charitable organisation based in the United Kingdom, had  begun the piloting of the implementation of the PDA in some selected schools in the Talensi and Binduri districts of the Upper East Region.

Mr   Degbedzui indicated that as part of the implementation process, a team of seven, made up of staff of AAG partners, including the staff of the Ghana Education Service (GES) of the two districts, attended a Trainer of Trainers’ Workshop in Sunyani, so as to serve as a resource team to lead the implementation of the PDA in the region.

“The team has so far sensitised selected GES office staff on PDA, trained Parent-Teacher Associations, School Management Committees and teachers of the project schools, and has also sensitised pupils  of the eight pilot schools on the project,” the Programme Officer disclosed.

He explained that the essence of the engagement with the media practitioners was to sensitise them on the PDA and to solicit for their support in setting the agenda in promoting the new concept, to be adopted by the GES and implemented in schools, to replace corporal punishment, which was still being used in some schools.

Mr Peter Asaal, the Monitoring and Evaluation Officer of Belim Wusa Development Agency (BEWDA), who served as one of the facilitators of the programme, stated that there were instances where many pupils encountered learning disabilities as a result of brain damage and deficiency disorders, and said such pupils needed special attention and care when teaching.

He impressed upon the media to endeavour to set the agenda on the new concept    and to help ensure that a conducive environment was created for teaching and learning.

The media practitioners gave the assurance that they would use their respective platforms to sensitise teachers and to advocate for PDA to be adopted in schools to replace corporal punishment.