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THE EFFECTIVENESS OF CORPORAL PUNISHMENT ON ERADICATING TRUANCY IN SECONDARY SHOOLS: CASE OF COMMUNITY SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN MAGU DISTRICT
1.1 Background to the Problem
Norbert (2005) presents that truancy is considered as one of the challenging problems in all European school systems. The growing significance of careers and examinations for job applications and poor schools achievements which is due to absence of schooling has raised the interests of many educational stakeholders to continue discussing the issue of truancy in secondary schools. Baleinakorodawa (2009) presents the same case of truancy in New Zealand. Also Monkie (2004) explains that truancy continues to be one of the growing problems that educators identify amongst learners’ problem in South Africa. Due to increasing school truancy in South Africa and other African countries like Tanzania attention is highly needed to diminish the situation.
According Mwananchi News paper of June 17 2014 almost two and a half millions of children are not in schools in Tanzania. Reasons given are many such as unfriendly school environments and home related factors. URT (2012) shows that number of enrolment rates of students in lower classes differ much with retention rates. Also completion rates in ordinary secondary schools in Tanzania are decreasing. URT (1996) reports an increasing number of truancy and drop-out of primary school pupils in Mwanza region whereby Magu district is noted to be being having a high level of truancy and drop out than all districts in the region.
The establishment of SEDP has increased the number of community secondary schools in Tanzania and Magu district in particular. The data from Mwanza regional
reports of 2009 show that Magu district had 11270 pupils sat for National Primary Education Examination whereby out of them 6452 pupils passed the examination while 2789 pupils selected to join form one in the first session which was 43.22 percent and 2600 pupils were selected in the second session which was 40.29 percent. That means 5389 students were enrolled in form one in 2007, and 1063 pupils were not selected to join form one. The average number of student enrolments in form one is increasing from 1650 to 1800 in 2000s and from 2000 to 3500 in 2010s.
Both annual reports from DSEO’s office in (2012) and (2013) present the big difference between enrolment and completion rates in secondary schools in Magu district. These reports present the range of truancy to be between 60-75 percent as a result to high secondary school student dropout. This is against the Tanzanian devotion for increasing access to education at all levels of education, including access to secondary school education. Many studies have pointed out a number of reasons for truancy and its effects on students, schools, societies and nation at large. For instance Straus (2000) points out that corporal punishment in secondary schools may lead to student truancy.
Corporal punishment has a long history in the development of man, and it has been a preferred mode of correcting behaviour of children in Tanzanian communities and schools. Daily News Friday 12 July (2013) comments that the use of corporal punishment is strongly rooted in our society and is passed on through generations; however, this doesn't mean that corporal punishment is justified. Straus, (2000) adds that for decades, teachers have believed that the use of canes is the best way to
correct misconduct done by students. He adds that, truancy is one of the misconduct in secondary schools that normally teachers punish against. Also, Straus (2000) explains that corporal punishment which primarily involves caning, was administered whenever a student was found to have defied any of the regulations set by a school, such as engaging oneself in physical fighting with a colleague, failing class tests, shouting in class and truancy or any other act of misconduct which a teacher may deem punishable.
TGEI (2010) explains that access to education in Tanzania has vastly improved in recent years, notably following the abolition of fees in 2002 and the introduction of capitation grants as part of the Primary Education Development Plan (PEDP) 2005-2009, the number of children enrolled in primary schools has raised from just over 7 millions to nearly 8.5 millions an increase of 11.9 percent and a resulting primary school enrolment rate of 95.9 percent. TGEI (2010) adds that in spite of these gains enrolments are compromised by high dropout rates which are attributed by truancy. TGEI (2010) provides data estimating that one in five children is not attending school at any time. The biggest cause of dropout at both primary and secondary schools is truancy by contributing between 69 to 79 percent respectively. Other attributing factors include social cultural values, corporal punishment, lack of facilities and inability to meet the direct costs associated with education such as uniforms, food, and school supplies.
Akporaro (2008) found that truancy behaviour has been associated with delinquent activity and poor educational outcomes. Communities that experience high levels of truancy have also experienced long-term negative consequences. Breda (2006)
comments that truancy is a form of behaviour that is generally overlooked by the public at large. Sheryl (2010) found out that corporal punishment was the most form of punishment in secondary schools in the Southern Tanzania, particularly in Iringa region, that most teachers support its continued use, but believed in moderations. He adds that the majority of students and teachers were unaware of national laws to restrict corporal punishment and agreement between students and teachers is that corporal punishment was used for major and minor students’ offences such as misbehaviour and tardiness. However, he ended up explaining the students’ attitude of disliking its practices and believes that it was ineffective and results in emotional as well as physical distress.
According to Society for Adolescent (2003) corporal punishment may adversely affect students' self image and their school achievement. This is connected to Roussow (2003) who explains that students who receive corporal punishment show symptoms of dejection in studies, poor performance in academics, and failure in participating in the teaching and learning process enthusiastically. Corporal punishment in most of community secondary schools in Magu district takes a form of physical punishment which involves canning, collecting stiff sands from far away, slashing school grounds, pulling out big stones and trees.
Ahmad (2013) in his study found that students who are physically punished develop a negative attitude towards learning. He adds that beating students violate human rights and is against national and international conventions which Tanzania signed as a form of protecting children Also, apart from human rights, beating children make them develop a low self concept and see aggression as a means to solve problems of
life. Akporaro (2008) argues that, there is no consensus of opinions about the effect of physical punishments on students while a school of thought views it as harmful and negative and another sees it as positive. However, he concluded favouring the negative side that physical punishments intimidates students this results into developing low self esteem, show dejection and hesitations to participate in learning activities.
UNICEF (1999) presents that teachers personality and behaviour are just as important in modelling their students’ concept of the self and self-esteem. Thus, teachers must provide the appropriate degree of freedom where there is enough room for making choices and decisions. Students need to act respectfully because when they feel respected and well thought of, they also learn to respect and have a higher regard for them. UNICEF (1999) adds that teacher’s affection creates feelings of personal dignity and commitment in the students. Also shows that good teachers will never resort to humiliation, ridicule or sarcasm, but will rather convey expectations, which the child will try to accomplish. Breda (2006) explains that most teachers feel that their main duty is to achieve results and to focus on learners who wish to do well at school. This may result to neglecting helping other needy students such as truants as they need to be also guided and feel part of school so as to continue schooling.
URT (1995) explains the intention of the government to establish community secondary schools as a means to increase access to education especially to every ward in the country. Whoever found that high dropout as a result of high truancy becomes a challenge towards this move by the government. URT (2005), adds that students’ enrolment increased from 11,832 to 289,699 in 1961 and 2001
respectively, but the country experienced a sharp increase from 289,699 to 1884270 in 2011 and 2012 respectively, Both Primary Education Development Program (PEDP) and Secondary Education Development Program (SEDP) are considered an attributing factor for such increase (Guardian 14th Sep.2013).
HakiElimu (2011) explains the increase in total enrolment of students in Form one to Form six by 75.5 percent from 1,020570 to 178547 students in 2007 and 2011.respectively. This is due to different government initiatives of constructing at least one secondary school for each ward all over the country. URT (2012) comments on the increase enrolment rates in schools, however, has pointed out that internal efficiency is threatened by increased rates of truancy as a result of dropout.
Straus (2000) explains that corporal punishment can easily be abused that it leads to physical injuries or misused. Arab (2011) acknowledges that schools exert powerful influence on students’ achievements these includes reducing truancy as well as dropout in schools. However, he comments that corporal punishment increases truancy, violence and vandalism. Kaur (2005) adds that a frequently punished student will be a problematic person tomorrow. Yaghembe (2013) found that most secondary school teachers believe in the frequent use of corporal punishment as a means of correcting students’ behaviours.
In her study, she shows students’ responding that truancy is a major disciplinary problem by 50 percent. URT (2012) explaining schools situations in Magu district has commented on increasing of truancy in community secondary schools by showing big difference between enrolment, retention and completion rates. Taking 5
community secondary schools as a sample in 2012, Form one enrolments was 1150 students of 100 percent and ,in 2013 From two retention rate was 956 students, about 194 students with 17.39 percent dropped from schooling ,and retention rates in Form three was 854 students ,about 102 students which is 25.73 percent dropped, Finally (URT 2012) presents that numbers of students registered for form four examination in the year 2012 and 2013 respectively is low compared to enrolment numbers, the reasons for such high drops is truancy and other social, economic and cultural related factors.
Eastman (2007) argues that secondary school students are more likely to attribute their truancy in school to schools’ based factors than home related factors. This matches with Straus (2000) who shows correlation between using corporal punishment and increased schools’ truancy rates. AIR (2012) explains that truancy behaviour can be associated with delinquent activities and poor education outcomes. Thus, it is of such views that communities like that of Magu should address this issue critically so as to reduce the truancy rates by increasing attendance in secondary schools. On this hand teachers and community at large need to play vital role in understanding and addressing the situation.
Roussow (2003) also argues that using corporal punishment affect both psychologically and metal development of students, Thus teachers need to find out other effective approaches and appropriate skills in reducing truancy rates in Magu community secondary schools. Mweru (2010) found that some teachers use corporal punishment to students as a means of showing their frustrations of working in unimproved environment. Also, he concludes that corporal punishments break
relationship between teachers and students. Finally, once this relationship is broken learning becomes difficult. The persistency and increasing rates of student truancy apart from the teachers’ application of corporal punishment regularly in schools has made the researcher to raise interest in finding out the effectiveness of corporal punishment on eradicating truancy in community secondary schools in Magu district, Mwanza region.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
HakiElimu (2011) notes that, dropout due to truancy increased from 36.2 percent in 2009 to 72.2 percent in 2010 in Tanzanian secondary schools. And the size of truancy in most of community secondary schools country wise is higher compared to the rate of truancy in advanced secondary schools. URT (2012) found that truancy is higher, especially in form three classes than other classes in Magu community secondary schools which results to high dropout rate. HakiElimu (2011) adds that truancy alone contributes to 72.7 percent of the dropout in schools and other factors like economic hardships and cultural contribute 13.8 percent. The problem of truancy in Magu community secondary schools in Magu district is increasing despite the teachers keeping on using corporal punishment as a means to reduce it. From the existing literature, there are no answers to the question on whether corporal punishments are effective in eradication of truancy; this is the knowledge gap that the current study intends to bridge.