By Omar Muaz
School is a key area of children’s lives where experiences vary greatly and negative experiences have a significant impact on well-being of a child. A positive school experience where teachers and mentors are supportive and happen to be source of fun, acceptance and tolerance promotes children’s overall well-being by giving them the opportunities for achievement in skills, knowledge and confidence. In contrast, negative school experiences lead students to go through extremely difficult times that badly affect them cognizably.
Children need to be given the condition to learn, develop which include cognitive and emotional development fostered through access to quality education in schools. I feel obliged to put this to clarity after reading a hear-breaking piece by Abdulyasir Garba —3rd World Youngest Humanitarian at World Humanitarian Forum and the Global Team Lead at Youth Support Foundation— of how a teacher, who is supposed to protect his students in all means, killed a student through “flogging” simply because of the student’s “inability” to do his homework [https://facebook.com/abdulyasirgarba].
I condemn this inhumanity. Children’s rights have been enshrined in various general and specialized international legal instruments, starting with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) 1948. The UDHR didn’t just provide the basic for the protection of adults, but the children.
The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 guarantees certain fundamental rights to every person including children. It is stated that when a child dies in consequence of an act or omitted to be done by any person before or during its birth, the person who did or omitted to do such act is deemed to have killed the child. (S309) and this may amount to the crime of murder or manslaughter, as the case may be, under the Criminal Code (S.315-319). Although the above rule literally talked about the act that happens during birth, it’s not different because he, the decease, died in consequence of flogging.
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989) and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (1991) propose that primary education shall be free and compulsory and discipline in schools shall respect the child’s dignity. Education should prepare the child for life in a spirit of understanding, peace and tolerance. It’s disheartening to know that someone who was employed to teach kills instead. Shouldn’t he be killed too?