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The Influence of Corporal Punishment on the Students Behavioural Change in Secondary Schools

The Influence of Corporal Punishment on the Students Behavioural Change in Secondary Schools

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The research work is focus on the case of the impact of corporal punishment on the students’ behavioral change in secondary schools in Kinondoni. The objectives of the study were to determine the extent to which corporal punishment is administered to students, to explore the education stakeholder’s perceptions on corporal punishment in relation to students’ behavioural change, to suggest alternative punishment for promoting students behavioural change among students. The study adopted mixed research design which includes qualitative and quantitative research design. The population of the study had 34 participants; students, discipline teachers, normal teachers, parents and heads of schools.

The sample involved were 10 were students, 04 discipline teachers, 02 heads of schools, 08, parents and 10 normal teachers Questionnaires, interviews and documentary review were used to collect data.  The study had the following conclusions. Firstly, corporal punishment in secondary schools in Kinondoni District, were used to maintain discipline. Secondly, heads of school and other teachers have the views that corporal punishment should continue to administer to students.

Basing on the conclusion the study had the following recommendations. Firstly, School administration and teachers should administer corporal punishment side by side with other types of punishment so as to gradually introduce students to other types of punishment. Secondly schools’ leadership should make sure that corporal punishment regulation should be adhered to all teachers

The Influence of Corporal Punishment on the Students Behavioural Change in Secondary Schools



This chapter constitutes the background the study where the problem looked at a wider perspective, Statement of the problem, purpose of the study, Research questions and Significance of the study that states the benefits of the study

1.1 Background of the study

At a global level, more and more countries are introducing legislation to protect children from corporal punishment. Tanzanian children are amongst the 42 per cent of the world’s child population who are legally protected from corporal punishment at school. Our challenge is to ensure that all our children enjoy this protection in reality, rather than just on paper. Education is a form of investment in human capital. It contributes to the economic development and raises the income of the poor.

Prohibition of corporal punishment is still to be achieved in the home, some alternative care settings, day care, schools, and some penal institutions and as a sentence for crime.

Article 13 of the Law of the Child Act 2009 in mainland Tanzania provides for “justifiable” correction; article 14 of the Children’s Act 2011 in Zanzibar confirms that parents may discipline their children providing it does not lead to injury. These provisions should be repealed or amended to ensure that no law can be construed as authorising corporal punishment in childrearing.

Corporal punishment is often meted out differently to boys and girls, and for different reasons. Data from various studies showed that, in general, boys experience more physical punishment than girls (Boyle et al. 2002, Alexandrecu et al. 2005). A young school boy in Zambia noted that he “was told to dig five pits for trying to help [someone] out who had missed the lesson the previous day, while his female classmate, who was chewing gum in class, was shouted at by a teacher for being ‘a foolish girl and stupid’” (Soneson, 2005).

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A study conducted in Durban, South Africa showed that boys were expected to be able to tolerate the violence of corporal punishment as a badge of their masculinity (Kent 2004). The study found that corporal punishment, in effect, became a technique for grooming boys and teaching them to act like men by tolerating pain. Though boys may experience more corporal punishment, girls are not immune. Corporal punishment was the most frequently cited type of abuse by girls participating in a study in Malawi (CERT DevTech 2008). Whether perpetrated against girls or boys, corporal punishment is a frequently used method of maintaining control of students in the educational setting.

In African, teachers who use corporal punishment argue that the power to control learners is taken away from parents and teachers and this has also contributed to the high failure rate as there is a link between discipline and learner achievement (Kilimci, 2009:249). It is also critical to note that the reluctance of some teachers to the acceptance of the ban of corporal punishment could be emanating from their resistance to change in as far as conflict resolution is concerned.  It may be that they are not prepared to change and learn new skills, and thus the frustration.

Kivulu and Wandai (2009) note that there is a growing concern that some teachers are preoccupied and even obsessed with corporal punishment as it is still persisting in homes but its effectiveness is still debatable.  It is also an open secret that teachers and parents are making illegal agreements, that is, some parents come to agreement with teachers that they may beat their children, and to show their defiance a number of schools speak frankly about their use of corporal punishment, though principals and teachers are aware that it is against the law Radile, (2007).

The Influence of Corporal Punishment on the Students Behavioural Change in Secondary Schools

Scholars (Christie, 2001:7; Nieuwenhuis, Beckmann, and Prinsloo, 2007:220; Khoza, 2005:75 and Maree, 2003:5) confirm this by reporting that some teachers claim that out of frustration and desperation to maintain discipline in schools, at times, with or without the support and consent of parents, they use corporal punishment, and they, at times, send a note home to the parent, asking the parent to administer corporal punishment on the child for something the child did at school.

As (Banda, 2010)says, while the physical damage done to the body can be treated, the emotional and psychological effects can also affect the person deeply. (Soneson, 2005)note that compelling research (88 studies) on corporal punishment demonstrates strong associations between corporal punishment and various negative emotional and psychological outcomes. The examples of the negative emotional and psychological outcomes are; eroded trust between parent and child, aggression toward siblings, sadness and anger, crying, fear, embarrassment, withdrawal and compliance, bullying and disobedience, poor mental health, weaker internalization of moral values, anti-social behaviour, poor adult adjustment, depression, withdrawal, sleep disturbances, avoidance of school, learning problems, loss of self-esteem, and delinquency.

In addition, studies show that corporal punishment is not effective as a disciplinary strategy as it does not teach an alternative behaviour because children usually feel resentful, humiliated and helpless after being hit and nevertheless do misbehave but they learn to master not to get caught. Corporal punishment drastically alleviates guilt feelings, that is, when a child is whipped he feels he has paid the price and his guilt is gone and later, especially during the adolescent years, these children will need to be taught the inner controls of conscience and guilt.

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Schools Legislation should be enacted to prohibit corporal punishment in all education settings, public and private. All laws authorising or regulating heavy punishment in schools must be repealed, including the Education Corporal Punishment Regulations (1979) under the National Education Act 1978 in mainland Tanzania. In Zanzibar, the policy against heavy punishment in schools should be confirmed through prohibition in law, including the repeal of any provisions authorising heavy punishment in the Education Act 1982.

Penal Institutions, heavy punishment is prohibited in penal institutions in Zanzibar. Legislation should now be enacted to prohibit it in all institutions accommodating children in conflict with the law in mainland Tanzania and provisions for it in the Law of the Child (Retention Homes) Rules 2012 should be repealed.

Sentence for crime judicial heavy punishment of children is unlawful in Zanzibar. In mainland Tanzania, all laws and authorisations providing for the sentencing of persons under 18 at the time of the offence should be repealed, including those in the heavy Punishment Ordinance 1930, the Minimum Sentences Act 1963, the Sexual Offences Special Provisions Act 1998, the Penal Code 1945 and the Criminal Procedure Code 1985.

The only existing schools by then were government funded schools where admissions were centralized and thus dismissed students could not easily access other schools without recommendations from previous schools. Students therefore had to maintain discipline for fear of not easily accessing new schools. Most of these schools were day schools where parents could also participate in keeping a watch over their children’s behaviours at home. Many Ugandans have been going through this education system for a number of decades.

Uganda as a partner of the Education for all (EFA) coalition launched Universal Primary Education (UPE) in 1997. This resulted into increased enrolment figures from 2.7 million pupils to 5.3 million in 1997 and to 7.1million in 2005 (Ministry of Education and Sports, 2005). This also increased capacity for secondary schools’ enrolment. Even though this was followed by a drastic increase in the number of teachers and classrooms, the current official average pupil-to-teacher ratio is 51:1.

The researcher decides to research this study because many students are performing poorly in  their studies so through this the researcher will understand if heavy punishment is one  among the factors for such poor performance.

1.2 Statement of Problem

However, corporal punishment is one of the biggest challenges facing the equitable access to quality education at both primary and post-primary education institutions. Currently, a large percentage of pupils are dropping out of their primary level education. This undesirable situation is attributed to many challenges; prime amongst which is the widespread use of corporal punishment in schools. The high dropout rate poses a threat not only to completion rates but also to the attainment of gender balance in schools. The girls suffer more from child abuse and harassment through heavy punishment.

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With regard to experiences at school, younger children reported the highest amount of physical punishment, while older children reported being harassed or humiliated by teachers. Girls reported a considerable amount of sexual harassment, and one in five girls reported being forced to have sex. A lot of the bullying, teasing and humiliation of girls revolved around their sexuality.

Older boys reported the most severe incidents of physical beating, probably due to the prevailing gender stereotypes of physical resilience and notions of tough masculinity. Many older children seemed to mimic the behaviour of adults, and as a result, they victimised younger children. Bullying was reported as a major problem, especially as an experience of girls and younger children.  This has therefore created a big concern from teachers, head teachers and stakeholders about the lack of opportunity for learners to concentrate on their academic work for attainment in the tests, internal exams and national level examinations as well as the nature of future citizens.

1.3 Purpose of the study

The purpose of the study was to establish the impact of corporal punishment on student’s academic performance in secondary schools in Kinondoni district.

1.4 Objectives of the study

The study was guided by the following objectives;

  • To determine the extent to which corporal punishment is administered to students.
  • To explore the education stakeholders’ perceptions on corporal punishment in relation to students’ behavioural change.
  • To suggest alternative punishment for promoting students behavioural change among students.

1.5 Research questions

  1. To what extent does corporal punishment administered to students?
  2. What are the perceptions of education stakeholders?
  3. What is the alternative punishment for promoting students’ behavioural change among students?

1.6 scope of the study

The research was conducted in Kinondoni district by involving both Government and Private schools’, considering teachers, students as well as parents, the reason of this research was to determine different impacts of corporal punishment on the students’ behavioural change in secondary schools in Kinondoni district.

1.7 Significance of the study

The findings of the study are beneficial to school head teachers, policy makers in the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training, and parents

The study findings may be helpful to the Government of Tanzania in solving the escalating problems of indiscipline that are widely spread in most schools.

The study has helped to provide a guide to head teachers not only in Kinondoni District, but also in other schools in the whole country on how to manage school rules and regulations at large and has also provided preventive measures against indiscipline

1.8 Operational definition of key terms


This is the act of inflicting a consequence or penalty on someone as a result of their wrongdoing or the consequence or penalty itself. The act of grounding or spanking a child for wrong doing is an example of punishment.


In this study is defined as a part learning sequence where the learners are given   opportunity to show what they have learned.

Behavioural change

Is a transformation or modification of human behaviour.

Corporal punishment

Is a physical punishment intended to cause physical pain or injury on a person.

Mr. Harrison

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