The Kenyan Government outlawed corporal punishment as a means of instilling discipline in schools in 2001, and guidance and counselling was introduced as a best practice in its place. The culture of the use of corporal punishment is deep rooted in many communities around the world. However, efforts are being made to introduce alternative methods to corporal punishment (Save the Children, Sweden 2003). This research aimed at assessing the effectiveness of the alternative positive methods to corporal punishment in primary schools in Kirinyaga District in Central Province of Kenya. The study used the survey research design in which the respondents were sampled from each of the three divisions of Kirinyaga District namely; Ndia, Gichugu and Mwea.

The purposeful sampling was used and a sample size of 205 respondents was selected. The sample included, 5 officers from the Ministry of Education, 50 parents, 50 teachers and 100 pupils were selected for data collection. Tools of data collection used included the questionnaires and focus group discussion. The validity of the instruments was determined by the supervisor and pilot tested for reliability. The questionnaire was the main tool and had a reliability coefficient at alpha scale of 0.70. Qualitative data from focussed group discussions was compiled and analysed using descriptive and inferential statistics. By use of computer Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS), quantitative data was organized, coded and percentages, means and cross tabulations calculated. Chi- square was employed to test whether there was relationship between those who support the use of corporal punishment and administration of physical punishment and their experience at youthful stage. The study found that any physical punishment is not taken as corporal punishment but as a form of disciplining a child. The study also found that guidance and counselling programmes are alternative methods to corporal punishment. The study may significantly enrich the advocacy towards the ban of the cane in schools, homes and other learning institutions. The study therefore recommended that the child care professionals in conjunction with the Ministry of Education should spearhead a campaign for child protection and sensitize the public that hurting children as a punishment is unacceptable and places them at risk of physical and psychological harm.

Background Information
Since November 1999, there has been global progress towards eliminating corporal punishment of children in homes, schools and learning institutions (Save the Children, Sweden 2003). Griffin (1998) indicated that corporal punishment promotes bullying and subsequently leads to more violence.

“Show me a school that has excessive corporal punishment and I will show you a school that has bullying” Griffin (1998) pp 28.

It is therefore true that of all types of aversive behavioural control, corporal punishment appears most apt to induce aggression.

Since corporal punishment tends to provide both fear and anger, its continued use in schools can only be counter productive to the leaning process. Fortunately, the Kenyan Government through the Ministry of Education banned the use of corporal punishment in schools in the year 2001 through a legal notice number 56 of 2001 (Kenya subsidiary legislation dated 13th March 2001 by the Ministry of Education). It is believed, with the training of more teachers and staff on alternative methods of effectively dealing with the troublesome pupil, teachers will no longer feel powerless and will have control of students in their classes. The training of teachers should be focused on the use of non- aversive but effective techniques of pupil control. This can be enhanced by the support of well-trained guidance personnel who are willing to enter homes and work with the behavioural problems at their source.

According to a study by Wangai (2001), cases of indiscipline and unrest in secondary and tertiary institutions in Kenya has alarmingly increased and cited as indication of erosion of discipline. Several cases have been reported whereby students have engaged in damaging riots and other forms of vandalism which has costed our nation big sums of money. Many solutions to the problem are being offered, but the predominant theme appears to be a call for a return to the use of corporal punishment (Watoro, 2004).

Some people feel that many children do not obey their teachers or parents because they failed to receive needed discipline. Cases of boys behaving immorally, drinking chang‟aa and smoking and boys and girls openly canoodling and insulting their teachers are common and are indicators of the moral decay in our Kenyan schools. The upsurge of indiscipline, unreasonable demands, strikes even arson (as happened in Nyeri high school and Kyanguli secondary school in 1998 where some students set ablaze dormitories killing their fellow students) are blamed on the law that has in recent years forced teachers and even parents to spare the rod (Wangai, 2001). The ban of the cane was a result of protracted arguments that the cane was too brutal. The school caning – a tradition we borrowed from colonial Britain when it introduced the classroom form of education, allowed teachers to take the law into their own hands. This was later legalized through a legal notice number 40 of 1972 that allowed the use of caning in schools. It introduced corporal punishment into the Education Act (Human Rights Watch, 1999). However the 1972 Act, regulated corporal punishment by; reserving it for the most serious disciplinary infractions; not more than six strokes may be given, and only by or in the presence of the head teacher. It also required that a full inquiry must have been conducted before corporal punishment is administered; a written record must be kept; and children can only be hit on the buttocks or the palm, and not in the presence of other children. Unfortunately these regulations governing the use of the cane were not adhered to and caning became a regular routine in schools and often administered in a manner inconsistent with the regulations (Human Rights Watch, 1999).

In a study carried out by Kibas (2004) on child discipline in Kenya revealed that some teachers failed to draw a line between punishment and sadism. Some caned students causing grievous body harm and even leading to death in some cases. Study by Human Rights Watch (1999) revealed similar findings and showed that corporal punishment not only caused injuries but it negatively affected the academic performance as well as the psychological well being of the child. Based on the recommendations by a committee on indiscipline and unrest in secondary school in Kenya, chaired by Wangai, the Government banned the use of the cane in schools in 2001. In consistence with the ban, Kenya is also a signatory to the UNCRC, the African Charter and passed the children Act, all of which require that the child be protected, treated humanely and respect for their inherent dignity and in no way be prevented from receiving an education or jeopardize their chances.

Article 19 of the convention on the rights of the child states that; to protect the children from all forms of physical and mental violence while in the care of parents and others. Hitting children is therefore a fundamental breach of children‟s rights to respect for their human dignity and physical and mental integrity. Hitting children is a dangerous practice, which can cause physical and psychological injury and even death. Research has it that corporal punishment is a significant factor in the development of violent attitudes and actions, both in childhood and later in life. It inhibits or prevents positive child development and positive forms of discipline. It is unfortunate that corporal punishment is still a common practice in many homes in Kenya. It is therefore the right time to work and make quick progress towards ending social and legal acceptance of corporal punishment not only in Kenya but also in other countries around the world.

The United Nations Children‟s Rights committee on the rights of the child has stated consistently that corporal punishment is incompatible with the convention. It has therefore recommended to over 120 states in all continents that they should abolish all corporal punishment including in the home, and develop public education campaigns to promote positive, non-violent discipline in the family, schools and other institutions. By 2001, ten states had prohibited all corporal punishment of children: Austria (1989), Croatia (1999), Cyprus (1994), Denmark (1997), Finland (1983), Germany (2000), Latvia (1998), Norway (1987), Sweden (1979) (Save the Children Sweden, 2003).

Corporal punishment in schools and penal system is prohibited in more than half of the world‟s countries (Save the Children Sweden 2003). Those that have banned corporal punishment in schools recently include: Kenya, Ethiopia, Korea, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Trinidad, Tobago and Zimbabwe (Save the Children Sweden 2003). However the cultural norms supporting corporal punishment to children are still rigid and changing very slowly in many parts of the world. In Kenya for example, the belief in and practice of physical punishment is deeply rooted and pervasive and may take a little longer to eradicate. The use of corporal punishment in homes, schools and child-care institutions in Kirinyaga district is still on despite the ban. Some teachers in the district argue that they were not supplied with alternative discipline methods while others are totally ignorant of the damages corporal punishment may cause. Other teachers say that they prefer not to use physical means of disciplining students; however, they say they must resort to these methods because they may be responsible for seventy five or more students per class, and that, they have no other way to maintain control of such a large group of young persons (Human Rights Watch, 1999).

Several arguments may be used to justify the use of corporal punishment, but the facts are, it is damaging and a violation to human rights and dignity. There is need to work towards change in attitude and promote positive discipline. Educators and psychologists argue that teachers can oversee classrooms and develop their pupils‟ knowledge, skill and amplitudes through means other than corporal punishment. For example, praising pupils‟ good behaviour, imposing non-physical punishments and involving children in making the school rules significantly reduces disciplinary problems (Human Rights Watch, 1999). In schools and other institutions, there will need to be effective enforcement of the law, including thorough regular independent inspections and the availability of independent advice, advocacy and complaints procedures for the children, parents and others.

Statement of the Problem
Kenya Government outlawed corporal punishment in schools in 2001, and in its place alternative disciplinary sources were introduced by the Ministry of Education, the main one being guidance and counselling. Traditionally, caning was thought to be an effective method of discipline. In Kirinyaga, the use of corporal punishment in homes and child care institutions is still on despite the ban. Several studies have revealed that corporal punishment makes children resentful and feel rejected. A child may interpret caning as a sign that the parents and teachers hate him. This may lead to rebellion against seemingly unfair and uncaring parents or teachers. In this way, the perceived aim of the punishment to correct behaviour fails. According to Human Rights Watch 1999, children can effectively develop skills, knowledge and good morals through alternative disciplinary methods of guidance and counselling. The study revealed that praising the child‟s good behaviour, being compassionate and showing respect make children blossom, becoming more confident and more willing to do what is right. However no studies have been conducted to establish the use and effectiveness of guidance and counselling as an alternative to corporal punishment. It was therefore necessary to investigate how teachers and parents were using guidance and counselling as an alternative discipline method to corporal punishment in primary schools in Kirinyaga district and how the new disciplinary measures are instilling discipline and enhancing learning in the area.

The Purpose of the Study
This study aimed at investigating the effectiveness of guidance and counselling as an alternative discipline method to corporal punishment in primary schools in Kirinyaga District. It also assessed the level of awareness of parents, teachers and other caregivers on the effects of corporal punishment on children.

Objectives of the Study
Specifically, the objectives of the study were:

i. To find out the common types of alternative discipline methods used by the parents and teachers in primary schools in Kirinyaga District.

ii. To establish the attitude of the parents, teachers and children towards alternative discipline methods.

iii. To determine the attitude of parents, teachers and others on the ban of corporal punishment in primary schools.

iv. To establish the effectiveness of alternative discipline methods on behaviour.

v. To compare discipline methods used before and after the ban of the caning.

Research Questions
This study was aimed at answering the following questions:

i. What are the common alternative discipline methods used by parents and teachers in Kirinyaga schools?

ii. What is the attitude of parents, teachers and others on the use of alternative discipline methods?

iii. Do the parents, teachers and others support or oppose the ban of corporal punishment in schools.

iv. What is the effectiveness of alternative discipline methods on behaviour?

v. Are there differences in discipline methods used before and after the ban of the cane?

Significance of the Study
This study is expected to add insight on the existing knowledge on alternative discipline method. The survey may provide useful information to the Ministry of Education, parents, teachers and guardians for the proper up bringing and education of children. It is hoped that through this study, the parents, teachers and significant others will be able to identify and use positively alternative discipline methods. The researcher hopes the result findings of this research provided data that will shed light on the role of parents, teachers and caretakers in enhancing the behaviour patterns of children. The study is expected to show the extent to which appropriate disciplinary methods administered on the child produce desired results in child‟s behaviour. The findings can also be useful in helping the Ministry of Education in its effort of reinforcing the ban of corporal punishment in schools and other child care institutions around the country. The Ministry of Education may also use the findings of the study to advice teachers‟ training institutions on the training means. The researcher hopes the result findings of this research may be beneficial to all those either directly or indirectly involved in the child rearing and education and will be able to use appropriately the acquired skills, knowledge and techniques.

Scope and Limitations of the Study
The research was based in Kirinyaga district and targeted primary schools teachers, officers form the Ministry of Education and parents. It focussed on children who were in school and those who were expected to be in school but were not. The limitation of the study was; some respondents became sceptical and un-cooperative in giving the needed information; however the researcher encouraged them on the purpose and usefulness of the study.

Assumptions of the Study
This study was based on the assumption that:

i. All respondents in the study gave honest and accurate information.

ii. The use of alternative discipline methods to corporal punishment is in use in all primary schools in Kirinyaga district

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Item Type: Kenyan Topic  |  Size: 61 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
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