Primary Pupils ARE punished military style'
MATFUNTINI - Pupils of Ematfuntini primary School are comp-laining of being punished by a teacher who uses what they term as military style methods.
It is alleged that pupils are forced to do up to 25 press-ups, sit-ups, squats and a number of physically taxing exercises, much against the ministry of education’s school guide on corporal punishment.
Frustrated pupils and parents have, however, highlighted that it is one teacher in particular they are complaining about and despite reporting the matter to the school committee, there have been no changes.
At one point, it is alleged that on the last week before schools closed for the first term, he forced a whole grade V class to stand in pouring rain for allegedly failing to listen to his instructions. The rain, is said to have been coupled with thunder and lightning.
An investigation by this publication revealed that parents, pupils and the school committee are seriously concerned by the alleged actions of the teacher.
Some Grade V pupils interviewed alleged that the teacher forced them to stand in the pouring rain for not bringing equipment for art practicals.
"In this particular class we are supposed to bring sachets of salt, sugar etc. On the day of the rain punishment the teacher had not told us prior that we were to bring these items.
"It then transpired that not even one of us had brought the equipments. He then ordered us to stand in the rain.
"The rain was coupled with lightning and thunder. We were so scared that the lightning will struck us dead. The trauma we suffered on the day is immeasurable.
"We are just scared of this teacher, it’s even hard to grasp whatever he teaches," said the class.
Pupils from other grades (Grade VI and VII) also described the teacher as a troop commander, an abuser and a fearful tiger.
Some of the grade VII pupils alleged that the teacher once forced them to soak themselves with tap water.
"It was around 7am when he forced us to drench ourselves with tap water. We were shaking from the morning cold.
"You can then imagine how cold we got after being forced to douse our uniforms in tap water. The experience was so humiliating and extremely traumatising," said one pupil. The pupils said while they are sometimes on the wrong they did not deserve such treatment.
The pupils further alleged that the teacher would sometimes, as a form of punishment, send them to pick a certain leaf from a certain tree in the mountain. They said they could be more than relieved if the teacher could be expelled from the school.
"This teacher has been traumatising us for over two years now. We tell our parents the sad tales we experience in the hands of this teacher, but it looks like they also are incapacitated to deal with this," said the pupils.
Some parents also said they were frustrated at the lack of a speedy resolution to their concerns.
No comment - Principal, teacherMBABANE - Both the principal and the accused teacher say they cannot comment on the matter.
The principal, Dumsile Dlamini was called at around 4:45pm on Thursday.
She said she could not deny nor confirm the allegations. She referred all questions regarding this matter to the ministry of Education and Training’s principal secretary. "I can’t deny nor confirm what you asking but I’m sorry because I can’t assist you. Call the principal secretary. He is better placed to respond to your questions not me," said Dlamini.
The accused teacher was called before the principal. He also could not deny, confirm or refute the allegations levelled against him by the pupils, parents and the school committee.
"In as far as I know, operations of schools are governed by the ministry of education. This then means I can’t deny, confirm or refute these allegations.
"The ministry’s PS is in a position to assist you on this matter. I’m sorry I reserve my comments," said Dlamini.
The ministry’s PS and the minister were respectively reported to be out of the country and on leave.
This matter has not yet been reported to the Regional Education Office (REO) for investigation and further ruling.
... teacher told us off - committee chairman
MATFUNTINI-The school committee Chairman Dumisani Dlamini say they are struggling to deal with the matter.
Dlamini confirmed that the pupils and parents had reported the allegations.
He said two meetings to confront the teacher on this yielded no tangible results.
He said the meetings were arranged by the school principal.
He alleged during both meetings the teacher told them in no uncertain terms that they (committee and principal) had no jurisdiction to question his conduct in the school.
"The matter of the teacher was reported by parents to the school committee. He told us in two meetings that we can’t address his behaviour and conduct because we did not employ him.
"We also have concerns with the principal. We are of the view that she seems to be condoning the teacher. This issue has been going on for two years, but she has not taken it to her superiors.
"We don’t understand why she is dragging her feet in solving this matter. he seems to be getting protection from the principal," alleged Dlamini. He further alleged that at one point the teacher insulted another teacher in the presence of the school committee and the principal.
He clarified that on this particular day the committee and the principal had convened a meeting.
If the students misbehave do they expect the teacher to clap his hands and have a big party for them? Why are they complaining about punishment yet they continue to misbehave? Bayadlala!
May 12, 2012, 5:43 AM, Nombuso
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