Background to the Study

Punishment is the act of administering disciplinary action for a misconduct. It is an attempt to re-establish control. It can also be defined as the application of aversive stimulus to elicit a positive response. It is the presentation of unpleasant stimulus after a reduced frequency of the emission of the behaviour. This could be before reprimand, rebuke or physical beating. Punishment and disciplines are confused and used interchangeably, most especially when teachers in school and parents at home are trying to instill some normalcy in the two systems.

Corporal Punishment on the other hand is stated as punishment inflicted on the body usually confined to flogging or similar infliction of bodily pain. The term is synonymously used with discipline and the use of cane, not only at school, but home as well. Most countries insist that corporal punishment should be administered with the knowledge of the head teacher. The punishment should be reasonable and should be recorded. The new teachers should refer make to the head teachers to punish erring pupils.

Teachers and parents often use punishment to instill discipline in the school and at homes. The rationale behind this is that:

  • Punishment comes as a result of a breach of set rules and regulations.
  • Punishment is usually inflicted by the people charged with authority over others. On the other hand, discipline is not necessarily pain or unpleasant or a discomfort and may not emanate from these position of authority.
  • Punishment usually involves an intentional infliction of pains or a form of discomfort or unpleasantness on the offender.

The issue of corporal punishment can be traced back to the Greek period when the use of bodily pain feature nakedly in their education system, most especially in sporran. Spartan youths were exposed to real beating not only when they disobeyed or misbehaved but as a sort of training, so that they can adapt to any circumstance. The youths surrendered themselves for severe flogging and prize were awarded to anybody who could endure the greatest lashes without altering a word.

This same practice also featured in Ancient Roman schools, where severe flogging of pupils was used. Corporal punishment is also emphasized in Christian religion. In proverb chapter “ 29 verse 17 in the bible, it is written “chastise your son, and he will give you rest yes, he will give delight to your soul” verse is of the same chapter says “the rod and rebuke give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother” it is then neither an understatement when we say the advent of corporal punishment can be linked with the period of the introduction of formal education by the Christian missionaries to most part  of Africa, since the gospel they preached emphasized the use of cane as important aspect of discipline.

The use of cane is not restricted to Christians alone, it is also used in non-Christians homes. It is widely accepted that to bring up proper and responsible children the rod must not be spared. The cane too was formerly used in British public schools until it was banned by law in the 2nd half of 20th century. The same thing is applicable to Russia as early as 1945. It is the only way by which the teacher can control his students and that it is only the fear of cane that can stop the undesirable behavioral pattern of any child. Some parents plead is that teachers should not spare the rod in the training of their young ones. They are willing to and often do go further in surrendering all the children life into their hands. This reveals how parents greatly believe that only the use of cane could train their children reform them from bad behaviors.

The cane continued to be in use almost all parts of the country without the government intervention. Early in 1977, when indiscipline acts among primary students reached the highest peak, the Nigerian military government with the leadership of Major General Olusegun Obasanjo (Retired) concluded that soldiers should be posted to schools so as to maintain discipline in our institutions, this action generated some controversies from the public which some were against and some were in support.

The then Ekiti State Ministry of Education Circular of 12th April, 1976 also support the use of corporal punishment, the circular reads this: The ministry feels very concerned about the re-current increased of lawlessness, the severity of some of the offences committed was such that perpetrated by student, the culprits it found guilty would have merited some years of imprisonment under the normal court procedure. To stem this have therefore, the ministry has decided to tighten disciplinary procedures as indicate penalties for serious offences that may be committed in the future.

Some who are not in support of the use of corporal punishment often argue that it is not a good corrective measures as it can create fear in the mind of the learners, there by hinders pupils learning. Also, that after much canning, it will eventually get to a stage where the child is used to being canned and he no longer fear the teacher since he has already known that the teachers can not kill but cane. Those who are still in support cherish the saying “spare the rod and spoil the child” inferring from the references, we could see that a lot of emphasizes is placed on the cane as a means of control.

In this study, corporal punishment will be restricted to canning, beating flogging and whipping and not just any form of punishment which may come in form of depriving or frustration imposed by one person or another. For Example depriving a child of food for a wrong deed like telling lies or stealing.

Statement of the Problem

The issue of corporal punishment is a controversial one. Many believe it should be totally eradicated on school disciplinary measure while others argue in supports of it as a, means of bringing stubborn students to order.

This issue of whether corporal punishment should be eradicated from the school disciplinary measure or not constituted the problem of this study.

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Updated: 13th September 2017 — 2:46 pm