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Positive discipline codes reduce corporal punishment

Togo School
Two pupils at the community school

Due to the socio-economic crisis in Togo, many teachers in the public or private sector are teaching without any training. For them, traditional teaching methods are based on what they were taught, including corporal punishment. Sexual, physical and sometimes moral abuse pushes students - especially girls - to leave school. Although there are texts and laws strictly prohibiting corporal punishment, many complex factors prevent their application in Togo. First, there is the idea that "we must suffer in order to grow”. And paradoxically, parents are often the first to ask teachers to beat their children.

To contribute to reducing violence against children, a pilot project covering 62 schools has helped to set up positive discipline codes, with the support of Togo’s Inspectorate of Education and Plan International Togo. The positive discipline code is a document created in a participatory way by parents, teachers and students which allows a child to learn self-discipline, responsibility, autonomy, the desire to learn and mutual respect. About 1,300 people, including 500 pupils (300 girls) participated in this activity. The development of positive discipline codes allowed teachers and even parents to discover other forms of positive punishment that can be used instead of corporal punishment, deprivation of food or kneeling down under the hot sun for long hours.

The inspectorate of primary schools has also ensured that the use of the stick and kneeling down under the sun has been banished in almost all schools since these positive discipline codes were developed. As shown by the project’s final evaluation, the majority of students (72%) said that the use of the stick as a method of punishment by teachers had declined.