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Sunday, July 3, 2022

Kenya: Four Reasons Why Physically Punishing School Children Doesn’t Work

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When I was a child I went to school in South Africa. This was the late 1970s. At school, the teachers would hit us. It was called getting the cane, the cane being a long, flexible stick. This tradition, exported from a Dickensian Victorian English model, was very popular with some teachers. They were seen as terrors: you didn’t want to get the cane from them. There was one teacher in particular who would use the cane a lot. We were all petrified of him, and we hated him at the same time.

Often boys would be caned in public. Once I was caned on a sports field in front of a group of students. They thought it was funny. On one occasion, I was sent to the headmaster’s office. He was a tall, solemn-looking man who wore a black headmaster’s gown. He ordered me to place my head under a table and gave me two strokes. I remember crying, but it wasn’t from the physical pain, it was from the…

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