Pretoria - Teachers are fed-up with ill-disciplined pupils and are calling for other alternatives to replace corporal punishment in the classroom.
This is according to the findings of a recent study conducted by Professor Sitwala Imenda, the head of the National Teachers’ Union (Natu).
The research was conducted using a sample of teachers in four regions, two in Mpumalanga and two in KwaZulu-Natal.
Teachers were asked to list the top 10 challenges they faced in the classroom.
Having to deal with ill-disciplined pupils was the main challenge most teachers expressed.
The teachers said their frustration was that pupils deliberately disobeyed them, knowing that they would not be disciplined.
In the past, teachers caned pupils until corporal punishment was banned in 1996 and is now a fireable offence.
Imenda’s research concluded that teachers were concerned that they were left with no other ways to discipline pupils.
He said teachers complained that removing disobedient pupils from the classroom was one of the solutions they often used, but it deprived the pupil of his or her right to education.
Imenda, formerly of the University of Zululand, said that although he was not trained in the field of disciplining pupils, there was a great need for other methods of discipline in the classroom.
Allen Thompson, Natu’s deputy president, said: “The research findings will help us identify areas for our teacher development.
Thompson said teachers were not armed with anything to instil discipline in the classroom.
Nomarashiya Caluza, the SA Democratic Teachers’ Union’s provincial secretary, said the problem of ill-disciplined pupils called for serious discussions with all education stakeholders, especially parents.
Thirona Moodley, the National Professional Teachers’ Organisation of South Africa spokesperson, said the current Schools Act was outdated and needed to be urgently reviewed.
“There are many aspects of the Schools Act that were simply not relevant anymore and the violent incidents happening at our public schools are an indication of that. Teachers are expected to account for the poor performance of ill-disciplined pupils, but they are powerless.The children have a paramount amount of rights,” she said.
Moodley said putting pupils in detention as a discipline alternative exposed them to the risk of crime while being kept at school after hours.