Jan 21, 2013, 10:16 AM
Twenty-five participants comprising school teachers from all regions and some education officials were trained on ways and means to instill discipline in students without resorting to violence.
Speaking at the end of the training, held at a local hotel in Kololi, national coordinator of CPA, Njundu Drammeh, said the training was “very interactive” and that the participants have learnt to stimulate their students all the more.
He told the facilitators of the training – they came from abroad – that the next time they come to The Gambia and visit the school, they will see a “very big difference” in the way teachers discipline students.
Antoinette Corr, teachers’ union secretary general, said most of the times, school teachers blame students for being rude but they do not ask themselves why the students are rude.
“Instead of empathising with the students, they [teachers] just sit there and shame them,” she said.
She pointed out that every day, the Gambia Teachers Union receives complaints from parents of students about their children being physically punished by a teacher.
“But I know after this training, we are going back saturated and armed with knowledge on how to discipline a child without physically abusing them,” she said.“I know, I believe and I hope that you will disseminate the information out there.”
Geoffrey Oyat, regional adviser for Save the Children in Nairobi, Kenya, said positive discipline of children in school promotes teaching and learning processes without necessarily using violence.
He said Save the Children stands for promotion of the rights of children and healthy child development.
“We believe that if children are respected as human beings then the relationship between teachers and students will be a very good atmosphere for teaching and learning,” Mr Oyat said. “If we eliminate violence in our schools, we will end up making the school accommodative for learning which will bring better results for children who will become good citizens.”
The Gambia legal framework recognises physical punishment in school but the Save the Children official called on the teachers union together with the government to review the relevant laws to illegalise such punishment.
“This will ensure that children are respected and their dignity kept,” he emphasised.