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Teacher in custody

Samuel Berenyi
Thursday, February 13, 2014

A 45-YEAR-OLD teacher from Kadavu has been taken into police custody after he used a PVC pipe to beat two students.

Police spokesman Inspector Atunaisa Sokomuri said yesterday the man was being interrogated.

He would not comment further, adding only "corporal punishment (cases) by teachers are very rare now".

"There were only a few last year and this is the first one this year," he said.

Fiji Teachers Union general secretary Agni Deo Singh said whatever the circumstance, there was no excuse for corporal punishment.

Corporal punishment of any form has been a crime in Fiji for more than a decade, according to the 1997 Constitution, whether it is between a teacher and student or not.

Fiji Teachers Association general secretary Maika Namudu said the FTA also did not condone any sort of corporal punishment.

"Teachers have been warned to make sure that they stop completely inflicting any form of punishment on any child under their care," Mr Namudu said.

Mr Singh also agreed that the figures on corporal punishment involving teachers were low.

"We have 10,000 plus teachers in this country and in any one given year, you would hardly find a dozen cases which either are reported or prosecuted, so rarely.

"It's not a significant number, but we would like to see the day when there are nil."

In order to achieve this goal Mr Singh said increasing the teacher-to-student ratio and improving education were the only way forward.

"We understand that there are frustrations for teachers because of the kind of burden that they carry.

"We have underpaid and overworked teachers in the country. We have very large class sizes and inadequate resources.

"Our request to the Ministry of Education is that the teacher-pupil ratio should be increased."

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