Attitudes of teachers and pupils toward use of corporal punishment in Nakuru municipal primary schools, Kenya.
Simiyu, Christine Namalwa.
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The use of corporal punishment in schools is a highly topical and much debated subject worldwide. With the advent of humanitarian principles, corporal punishment was classified by the United Nations (UN) as violence and child abuse and this led to the banning of its use in schools by many countries especially in the western world. Kenya is not an exception as it recently followed suit by banning the use of corporal punishment in schools, through the enactment of Education Act Number 30 of 2001. Despite the ban, information from press reports and other literature seem to indicate that the practice of corporal punishment continued unabated in Kenyan schools. However, there is little information to indicate: (1) whether infact corporal punishment was being practiced in the selected schools or the extent/prevalence and nature of its practice; (2) what maintains corporal punishment in schools; and (3) strategies for eliminating it. Moreover, the extent to which teachers and pupils are aware of the ban is not known. Three main goals of this study, therefore, were to establish: whether corporal punishment was being practiced in Nakuru Municipal primary schools in Kenya; the attitudes that the primary school teachers and pupils hold towards the use of corporal punishment in the selected schools and the impact, if any, that their attitudes had on the practice of this punishment in those schools. The study applied a Survey research design. Questionnaires, with both open-ended and closed-ended items were used to collect data from the respondents. The respondents' attitudes were expressed in terms of their beliefs, feelings and views about the use of corporal punishment in school. The attitudes were measured in terms of the respondents' degree of agreement and disagreement with the attitudinal statements measured along a Likert scale which gauged their beliefs, feelings and views about the use of corporal punishment in the selected schools. The target population consisted of teachers and pupils in four primary schools in Nakuru Municipality. A sample of 72 teachers and 160 pupils was selected. Descriptive and inferential statistics were used to analyse data using the SPSS software package. The results obtained indicated that corporal punishment was being practiced in the selected schools and the teachers and pupils this practice was supported. Corporal punishment was being practiced by teachers in Nakuru municipal primary schools despite their knowledge of the legal prohibitions and negative consequences of this practice. It was also established that the attitudes of the teachers and pupils towards the use of corporal punishment in school had a significant relationship with the practice of corporal punishment in the four selected schools. Where the teachers and pupils had a favourable or positive attitude towards the use of corporal punishment in school, the level of the practice of corporal punishment was very high but where the teachers and pupils has a negative attitude towards the use of corporal punishment in school, the level of the practice of corporal punishment was extremely low. The teachers and pupils justified the practice of corporal punishment in the selected schools under the belief that it had merits. It (corporal punishment) was believed to be a chastisement for children, a catalyst for good academic performance and the most effective deterrent for bad behavior, laziness and a corrective measure. The conclusion drawn was that the teachers’ and pupils’ attitudes towards the use of corporal punishment in school had a big impact on the practice of corporal punishment in the four Nakuru municipal primary schools. The study concludes with a set of recommendations for curtailing the use of corporal punishment in schools in Kenya. (1.) Abbreviated as CP in some parts of this report.