29 March 2019

Swaziland: Girl, 12, Has Fingers Broken At Swaziland School in Latest Case of Illegal Caning

A 12-year-old girl in Swaziland / eSwatini had her fingers broken when she was caned 25 times across her hand, in the latest case of illegal corporal punishment used in schools.

The girl at Mkhuzweni Primary School had failed 25 questions in a test. She had missed classes previously and was not prepared for the test, the Times of Swaziland reported on Friday (29 March 2019).

It reported, 'This resulted in her sustaining serious injuries such that she fractured some of her fingers. She was not the only one who was punished as her other classmates received 18- 20 strokes depending on how many questions they did not get right.

'A teacher, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said other parents came to complain to the school's headteacher about the beating of their children.'

The Times said Regional Education Officer of Manzini Mlimi Mamba confirmed he attended to the case. Deputy Police Information and Communications Officer Inspector Nosipho Mnguni said the matter had been reported and investigations were ongoing.

Corporal punishment was banned in Swazi schools by the Ministry of Education and Training in 2015, but caning continues. There are many reports from across Swaziland that pupils have been brutalised by their teachers.

In a debate in the Swazi Parliament in March 2017 members called for the cane to be brought back into schools. The MPs said the positive discipline adopted in schools was causing problems for teachers because they no longer knew how to deal with wayward pupils.

There had been 4,556 cases of 'severe corporal punishment' of children in Swaziland's schools over the previous four years, Star Africa reported in March 2016.

As recently as November 2018 it was reported police were investigating St Theresa's Primary School, Manzini, following an allegation that teachers whipped children to make them do better in their exams. In June 2018 teachers reportedly caned every pupil at Mbuluzi High School for poor performance.

In August 2017 it was reported boys Salesian High, a Catholic school, were forced to take down their trousers and underpants to allow teachers to beat them on the bare buttocks.

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