While expressing his own views against corporal punishment, Minister of Education Daryl Matthew says the Ministry of Education is fine-tuning mechanisms on how it will proceed with public consultations on the issue.
Matthew says the Ministry has very clear guidelines on how corporal punishment – or flogging – can be administered, and says these are “not bad” principles.
The guidelines are clear that only a principal should administer corporal punishment. The size of the strap; the materials from which it is made; the maximum number of lashes; and on which part of the body they should be administered – are also specified in the guidelines.
The Minister says that debate on the controversial issue has been very interesting, with those in favour of physical punishment and those against being evenly divided.
Matthew says the current policy on corporal punishment will remain in place until an executive and legislative decision is taken, based on consultations. He reminds the public that the policy is based in law – and therefore cannot simply be removed.
Meanwhile, Director of Education Clare Browne says he respects the views of persons who are “absolutely against” corporal punishment. However, he adds that the Ministry of Education is about “positive-behaviour management.”
Accordingly, he supports physical punishment in schools provided that it is done within the ambit of the law.
Browne, who is a former principal, notes that the law provides for corporal punishment as a last resort only; that is, when all other forms of punishment have failed to work.
Meanwhile, the Director assures the public that any decisions made by lawmakers – after the public consultations – will be strictly adhered to by the Ministry of Education.
Both the Minister and the Education Director made these remarks on State television on Wednesday night, June 23.
The subject of corporal punishment has been sparking public discussion in recent weeks, since a child was reportedly injured during punishment by her teacher.