Is corporal punishment alive and well in Western Cape schools?

Equal education has released the results of a Western Cape survey that says 80% of learners have been victims of corporal punishment in schools, despite the fact that it is outlawed.

Equal education General Secretary Tshepo Motsepe spoke to Charlotte Kilbane, standing in for Stephen Grootes, about the survey they conducted across 244 schools.

Face to face interviews were conducted with principals, teachers, parents and learners on a range of questions from school access control, teacher attendance through to gang related incidents and corporal punishment.

The survey was conducted over a four to five month period.

The results confirmed that the corporal punishment reported was a of a serious nature.

We are talking about batons, we talking about sticks, we talking about belts.

Tshepo Motsepe, Equal Education General Secretary

We also need to look at the response of the Western cape Education Department's response...they say they deal with it.

Tshepo Motsepe, Equal Education General Secretary

Motsepe says there is a high level of intimidation resulting in low reporting numbers.

Equal Education have found children are frightened to report cases as they fear parents will not believe them, or teachers might give them lower grades.

he says when parents do report, they are treated with disdain by schools.

There is a level of disgust that is shown towards parents when they come to schools to complain about the use of corporal punishment especially in poorer areas.

Tshepo Motsepe, Equal Education General Secretary

He says there is also a lack of reporting by principals and district officials.

Western Cape MEC for Education Debbie Schafer responded saying incidents are being reported by principals. The first port of call, she says, is the school and in particular the principal.

The Safe Schools hotline is 0800 45 46 47

Schafer says it is difficult to talk about intimidation without concrete cases, but she believes the department gives a great deal of support and assistance.

She says even in the poorest communities most people have cellphones and its quite simple to phone the hotline. there are also district staff and social workers visiting schools.

We have workshops for our principals and teachers to inform them about the illegality of corporal punishment .. and an abuse no more principle.

Debboe Schafer, MEC Education W Cape

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