No to Corporal punishment
Joint Statement by FWRM and Save the Children Fiji: No to Corporal Punishment
Children should be protected from all forms of discrimination and violence.
Save the Children Fiji (SC Fiji) and the Fiji Women’s Rights Movement (FWRM) stands together in solidarity to reiterate that there should be zero tolerance for corporal punishment in schools.
There needs to be mutual respect between teachers and students and that corporal punishment is unlawful and is not the answer.
“Schools should be safe and empowering for our children. Parents and carers should have every confidence knowing their children is in a learning environment and not in fear of being physically punished,” said Fiji Women’s Rights Movement Executive Director Nalini Singh.
“An environment where children continuously fear being physically punished only forestalls their learning and development, which has been proven numerous times through various research.”
More education and awareness is needed on the rights of children as outlined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child that Fiji ratified in 1993.
Teachers and school boards have the duty of care to ensure their students are safe and must be knowledgeable of this, in accordance with the Ministry of Education’s Child Protection Policy and Behaviour Management Policy. The Child Protection Policy clearly states that physical abuse against children in school is prohibited.
“No type of violence against children is justifiable. There is zero tolerance on Corporal punishment in schools therefore, teachers must understand this and act as role models and should know that no matter what the circumstance, there are other positive ways to disciplining children,” says Iris Low-McKenzie, Chief Executive Officer of SC Fiji.
Being a teacher is one of life’s most noble and rewarding experiences. The privilege of having children placed in one’s care and entrusted with their learning can inspire teachers to be powerful and positive influences in the lives of their students.
SC Fiji understands the immense responsibilities and challenges of teaching, and often the frustrations of not knowing how to reach to particular children added with the teacher’s own personal stresses which can make the situation more overwhelming
Without good support for teachers in equipping them with alternative forms of discipline; often the misbelief that classroom discipline is no more than scolding and hitting of students. Teachers need to be trained in what their policies mean in practice which supports non-violent forms of discipline; and global research on violence against children have shown that positive discipline is more effective than violence. Positive Discipline in Everyday Teaching package is based on research on effective teaching, child’s rights principles and decades of research on healthy child development.
“We are deeply disturbed by the public outcry on social media on this issue. Children are continuously discriminated because of their age and their rights as a person is not recognised because of archaic societal norms,” said Ms. Singh.
“The prevalence of violence against children is astounding and there needs to be a stronger effort to change our attitudes when it comes to children and their human rights. Particularly at home and in our schools where it should be fostering a safer, respectful space.”
FWRM and SC Fiji recognise the demanding responsibility teachers and educators face every day in their jobs and strongly support promoting a respectful and positive environment for schools. This kind of environment cannot be fostered through the use of violence and there is no excuse for any form of violence and assault against children.