Zulu monarch King Goodwill Zwelithini has bemoaned the banning of corporal punishment, saying that the rod would “make learners perform well”.
“This thing of not disciplining our children is letting us down because children are not disciplined,” he said.
Zwelithini is the patron of education in KwaZulu-Natal.
Seven teachers were served with suspension letters, administering corporal punishment in the King Cetshwayo district last month.
Speaking at a meeting of principals and school governing bodies from the Umkhanyakude and King Cetshwayo districts in Esikhawini, northern KwaZulu-Natal, yesterday, he said that discipline had to be enforced.
Zwelithini also spoke strongly against the killing of teachers in schools and urged the government to protect them.
“The death of one teacher is one too many. Teachers are also human beings.
“It’s important that if we set up commissions of inquiry because politicians are being killed, there must also be commissions for teachers as well.”
He made mention of the recent incident at Edalinceba Primary School in Duduza, in Gauteng, where a deputy principal was shot and killed in his office.
He said this and other incidents could have a psychological impact on pupils.
Teachers attending the meeting also spoke about upcoming matric examinations, expressing confidence that KwaZulu-Natal would meet its 76% matric pass rate target this year.
Department of education deputy director-general for curriculum development Barney Mthembu implored principals to ensure that there was no repeat of the group copying scandal of 2014.
Mthembu said the lives of those pupils who were implicated in the copying scandal were at a standstill.
“Today there are learners who are still trying to pursue their cases. Their lives are at a standstill. People who gave them answers are continuing with their lives. Their children are in universities.
“These children who were assisted, their lives are at a standstill,” he said.