Nigerian Child Protection Advocacy Urges a Ban on Corporal Punishment in Schools and Homes for Safer Learning Environments

Zakari Isah -Kaduna 

The National President of the Foundation for the Protection of Women and Children in Nigeria Hajiya Ramatu Tijjani is calling on parents and guardians to cease administering corporal punishment to students and children, both in schools and at home.

She is advocating for an urgent need to eliminate corporal punishment in schools across the country to facilitate effective and efficient learning.

Ramatu made this call in a press release issued in response to a recent incident involving the alleged beating to death of a student by a school teacher in Zaria, a local government in Kaduna State, in northwestern Nigeria.

She defines physical or corporal punishment as any action intended to cause physical pain or discomfort without resulting in injuries. She emphasizes that such bullying inflicts mental, social, and psychological damage to the well-being of the victims.

According to her, there have been instances where corporal punishment meted out by teachers to children, either in the form of flogging or bullying, has tragically led to the death of the child. She emphasizes the urgent need to address this issue and put an end to all forms of corporal punishment in society, particularly within schools and homes.

She notes that corporal punishment has forced many students to drop out of school, highlighting the necessity to curb these practices in all educational institutions.

She advocates for a policy that prohibits teachers, principals, or headmasters from using corporal punishment, asserting, "We are not saying you should not discipline the students; there are different types of punishments, but corporal punishment is no longer allowed in our schools."

Furthermore, she suggests that bullying should not be tolerated in secondary schools. She points out that bullying differs from corporal punishment, where senior students might try to intimidate junior students.

Instead of relying on corporal punishment, she recommends using positive and negative reinforcement. Positive reinforcement can include praise and words of encouragement, while negative reinforcement can involve disciplining a child who disobeys by having them kneel in front of the class, rather than resorting to physical punishment.

The practice of corporal punishment is gradually diminishing in Nigerian schools. However, there is ongoing debate among teachers, parents, and other stakeholders about the potential effects of this development on pupils.

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