I have discussed the discipline system with the students a number of times because it is important for them to understand that it is like the uk 50 years ago ... the notion of spare the rod and spoil the child.
In primary classes we have seen teachers head towards groups of excited children with the stick in their hand, for the children to quickly head to their seats ... at Dodoma school we saw the teacher march out with stick in hand to hers the children to lessons, and the children flee before him to class.
Yesterday however we arrived back at Umonga to paint the gate earlier than expected. Rose has been very good at keeping their discipline system away from students in our trips but the unexpected return meant we arrived right in the middle of it.
As the bus drew into the compound we found about 16 students on their knees with their right hands out stretched waiting to receive a lash of the 'birch'. We sat on the bus and watched as they received this punishment as we didn't want to disembark and disrupt it.
Afterwards we sat and talked about it, but because we had already discussed it in quite a depth the students could recognise that it was a stage that even our education system had gone through and despite it being disturbing to us we could recognise that as their education system develops it would eventually be left behind ... but for now it was just 'part of the system'
The students agreed that it was disturbing, but if they had witnessed it against the younger, primary children then they would have been more distressed ... they know it goes on in primary as well, but they would have really struggled to witness it.
It was not something I particularly wanted the students to witness but I was proud of the way in which they expressed their disquiet but could rationalise what they had seen. However, I would value parents talking about it with their youngsters in our return to make sure that they are ok and can really put it into context. Thank you Mr L