Police in Swaziland / Eswatini are investigating a report that teachers whipped primary school children to make them do better in their exams.
Beating is officially banned in schools in the kingdom but continues to be widely used.
The latest case happened at St Theresa’s Primary School, Manzini, according to the Times of Swaziland on Tuesday (6 November 2018).
It reported, ‘According to statements recorded with the police by a parent of one of the pupils, the main reason for the whipping was to instil fear among the scholars so that they could concentrate on their external examinations and do well.’
One parent told the newspaper his 14-year-old daughter had been afraid to go to school because pupils had been told they would be beaten.
The Times quoted him saying, ‘To my surprise, my daughter came back home at around 4:30pm and she had bruises all over her body, especially on her arms and thighs.’ She needed hospital treatment. A medical report was sent to the police.
The Times added he said seven teachers beat a number of children with sticks. He said his daughter reported teachers said, ‘the beating was a warm-up, which will help them excel in their examination and it will make them focus.’
Police confirmed they were investigating.
Corporal punishment in schools in Swaziland was banned in 2015 but it is still used widely. In June 2018 teachers reportedly caned every pupil at Mbuluzi High School for poor performance.
In September 2017 it was reported that an 11-year-old boy from Ekuphakameni Community Primary School in the outskirts of Hlatikhulu lost an eye when a cane his schoolteacher was using to illegally beat other pupils broke and splintered.
In August 2017 it was reported that boys at Salesian High, a Catholic school, were forced to take down their trousers and underwear to be beaten on the naked buttocks.
In May 2017 pupils at Lubombo Central Primary School in Siteki were thrashed because they did not bring enough empty milk cartons to class.
In March 2017 children at Masundvwini Primary School boycotted classes because they lived in fear of the illegal corporal punishment they were made to suffer. Local media reported that children were hit with a stick, which in at least one case was said to have left a child ‘bleeding from the head’.
In August 2016 an eight-year-old schoolboy at Siyendle Primary School, near Gege, was thrashed so hard in class he vomited. His teacher reportedly forced classmates to hold the boy down while he whipped him with a stick. It happened after a group of schoolboys had been inflating condoms when they were discovered by the teacher.
In June 2016 the school principal at the Herefords High School was reported to police after allegedly giving a 20-year-old female student nine strokes of the cane on the buttocks. The Swazi Observer reported at the time, ‘She was given nine strokes on the buttocks by the principal while the deputy helped her by holding the pupil’s hands as she was made to lie down.’
In September 2015 the Times reported a 17-year-old school pupil died after allegedly being beaten at school. The pupil reportedly had a seizure.
In March 2015 a primary school teacher at the Florence Christian Academy was charged with causing grievous bodily harm after allegedly giving 200 strokes of the cane to a 12-year-old pupil on her buttocks and all over her body.
In February 2015 the headteacher of Mayiwane High School Anderson Mkhonta reportedly admitted giving 15 strokes to a form 1 pupil for not wearing a neck tie properly.
In April 2015, parents reportedly complained to the Ndlalane Primary School after a teacher beat pupils for not following his instruction and shaving their hair.
Cane banned in Swazi schools
Children fear beatings, miss school