Durban - Corporal punishment was still common practice in KwaZulu-Natal schools, with about 22.2 percent of pupils saying they had been physically punished last year.

The province lags only behind the Eastern Cape, where 24.1 pupils reported corporal punishment in the same period. The figures recorded in the two provinces were above the national average of 13.5 percent of pupils last year.

Statistics SA released these figures on Wednesday as part of its general household survey conducted last year. It covers education, health, social development, housing, access to services, food security and agriculture.

The survey found that corporal punishment was least prevalent in schools in the Western Cape and Gauteng, where it was reported by 1.7 percent and 3.4 percent of pupils respectively.

Gauteng remained the most populous province, with 12.7 million residents followed by KZN with 10.4 million. However KZN had the highest number of pupils.

Of the 14 million pupils enrolled in schools last year, 22.8 percent attended schools in KZN and 18 percent were in Gauteng.

The survey showed that KZN had the lowest enrolment of children aged 0-4 in early childhood development programmes. The enrolment for KZN was 23.2 percent, and Gauteng had an enrolment of 47.4 percent.

The survey showed that reliance on social grants had increased from 12.7 percent of the total population in 2003 to 30.2 percent last year.

“More than one-third of individuals in Eastern Cape (40.3 percent), Limpopo (38.7 percent), KZN (37.2 percent) and Northern Cape (35 percent) were grant beneficiaries, compared with 17.3 percent in Gauteng and 21.1 percent in Western Cape.”

The survey revealed that nearly seven in every 10 (69 percent) of households relied on public hospitals and clinics while 24.2 percent said they would go to private doctors and the 4.7 percent opting for private clinics and hospitals.

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