Education Act to be Amended to Prohibit Corporal Punishment

The Government is to amend the Education Act to explicitly prohibit corporal punishment in schools.

This was stated by Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, while making his contribution to the 2017/18 Budget Debate in the House of Representatives on March 21.

“Already. several of our laws prohibit corporal punishment. Corporal punishment is prohibited in early-childhood institutions… and places of safety and children’s homes,” he pointed out.

The Prime Minister said alternative systems of discipline and behaviour management must become the main systems of discipline in schools.

He pointed out that during the period of the education transformation programme, the Government spent much money on a behaviour modification and management stream which was designed to empower teachers with alternative methods of behaviour change, behaviour modification and classroom management.

“Such alternative measures did not include corporal punishment,” he added.

Mr. Holness said the introduction of Deans of Discipline to assist with the pastoral care of students has worked “very well”.

“It has reduced the level of violence in schools, it has reduced fights and improved discipline,” the Prime Minister noted.

The Prime Minister said there may be resistance, but urged teachers and the Opposition Spokesperson on Education to support the alternative means.

He said the use of alternative methods and corporal punishment are contradictory.

“I think the modern society that we are striving for must make a decision that public institutions must not use violence as a means of correction, discipline or righting wrongs,” Mr. Holness emphasised.

Article by: Chris Patterson
Photo from: www.jis.gov.jm

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