Perpetrators of corporal punishment either in homes or public institutions will be punished as the Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) says it will start acting on all reported cases.
The stance comes in the wake of continued cases of corporal punishment in primary schools in the country contrary to the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology’s directive to all public schools to stop such punishment.
So far, MHRC says 13 children—mostly from primary schools—have come forward and testified to have been subjected to various forms of corporal punishment from their respective school authorities.
In an interview on Wednesday, MHRC Child Rights project director Noris Mangulama-Chirwa said the commission has started following up on such cases.
“We are obviously instituting serious investigations as regards the reported violations. By testifying against them at this public inquiry, we may be failing in our duties to protect their rights if we give the allegations a blind eye. The victims are now our clients and we have their best interests at heart,” she said.
She said some of the victims spoke of developing deformities on their bodies after being subjected to stiff punishment. For example, she claimed some learners had broken ear-drums and wounds on their arms and body, emanating mostly from beatings in school.
On his part, district education manager (DEM) for Lilongwe Rural East Anderson Kuboma-Ntandika confirmed in an interview to have received reports on some teachers beating their pupils as punishment, but warned that his ministry will not shield anyone found guilty of the offence. n