Ever since his accession to the post of Minister of Education, Dr. Rupert Roopnaraine had expressed his dissatisfaction of the still prevalent practice of corporal punishment in schools.Minister of Education, Dr. Rupert RoopnaraineHe has since been aiming to eradicate the practice from all schools.However, the Guyana Teachers’ Union (GTU) has over the years been very vocal about its disapproval of the removal of corporal punishment. It is considered “the only tool available to them to better mold future generations,” he saidGTU President, Mark Lyte, however,wholesale jerseys
, stated that the union is against the abolishment of corporal punishment. “The union’s position remains the same on the issue. We are not supportive of corporal punishment being taken out of the schools, as the Ministry is yet to put alternatives in place to deal with aggressive children.”Lyte said that when various (proven) alternative measures have been put in place, only then will the union rethink its stance on corporal punishment. “Unless the Minister provides effective measures to deal with badly-behaved children, we as a union must say that this must remain.”In 2013, the GTU, in the wake of mounting calls for the abolition of corporal punishment within schools, stated that the practices abolishment is not something they support. GTU secretary at the time, Coretta McDonald, opined that the abolition of corporal punishment may prove to be disastrous for teachers as there are many hostile children found in their classrooms.In an elicited response, the Minister stated that “the ministry will not step back from the issue. We will try to persuade the GTU that this is the best way to go.”Dr Roopnaraine said that he will try to get across to the GTU that “we have 21st century outlook on the enforcement of discipline.” Beating children, he said, is a “really medieval practice and we can’t encourage it.”He said that while he knows that teachers like to have this as a last resort, the practice will be completely eradicated soon. He said that while there is a bit of resistance from the union, he believes that it is something which can be overcome.“I don’t see it as a major obstacle, as their interest is to ensure they have an environment where they can teach and where children are not distracted. I don’t believe corporal punishment is the way to do this,” he said.Dr Roopnaraine intimated that corporal punishment can often lead to psychological scarring as it is no different from physical abuse. Classrooms should not be a place of fear but rather, one of learning. It is for this reason that the Minister is looking to do away with the practice by adjusting relevant legislation in the near future.