Corporal punishment queried

National, Normal

The National – Wednesday, December 8, 2010

ACTING secretary for Education Dr Joseph Pagelio is concerned about the reintroduction of corporal punishment next year as proposed recently by the Madang Urban Youth Council (MUYC).
In a statement released on Monday, Pagelio warned the MUYC to be careful on the issue as corporal punishment had been disallowed in all schools in the country as a form of student discipline.
He said school boards had the right to punish students who break school rules through suspensions, expulsions and provision of work.
“No one apart from the school board has the power to punish students who break school rules,” he said.
He said there were existing laws that might be breached if corporal punishment was reintroduced. 
These laws could include the Education Act 1983, Criminal Code Act and the Lukautim Pikinini Act.
He also highlighted section 62(1) (e) and (f); section 68(i) and (e); section 74(1) (b) and (c), and section (e) of the Education Act 1983 which did not permit this form of discipline.
Pagelio said the use of any form of discipline particularly the reintroduction of corporal punishment without the authority of the school board would be in direct breach of the Education Act 1983, which governs the schools in provinces that did not have education acts in force, including Madang.
He said if a student was caned for breaking a school rule, the student could sustain serious injuries.
Even if the student caned did not show any injury, the act of beating might be seen as a “misdemeanor” or physical assault on the student under the Criminal Code Act (CCA), Pagelio said.
He said if a student died as a result of beating, the person responsible could be charged with manslaughter or murder under the CCA.
Pagelio suggested to  MUYC members to meet with the provincial education authority, school boards of management and parents and citizens groups to discuss their roles and responsibilities in relation to trying to curb social issues such as drugs and alcohol consumption, and others that might be associated with the students in Madang town in order that they could work together to enable MUYC achieve its goals.
Pagelio said if students were seen outside of school loitering around in town during school hours, they should be reported.
He said MUYC members should  refer complaints of such instances to  the schools so that appropriate actions could be taken by the respective school boards of management.