1 Jul 2010

Samoa's Education Ministry says corporal punishment is illegal

10:45 am on 1 July 2010

The Ministry of Education in Samoa says it would be very surprised if many cases of child abuse by teachers were going unreported.

The Samoa Victim Support Group made the claim in the Samoa Observer, and says it's urging parents to report abuse by teachers.

But the Education Ministry says corporal punishment is illegal and against its own rules.

Its communication officer Fa'amatuainu Sa Vasa says there have only been two reported cases since the end of last year.

He says they encourage parents to ask the police or the ministry to investigate any incident

"Teachers especially head teachers should report cases, and parents should also report when their children come home and report whether they have been beaten or whatever the teachers might have done to them. We have done our consultation, we have given them the stance from the Ministry of Education in as far as child discipline that we don't allow it."

Fa'amatuainu Sa Vasa says teachers could be suspended, demoted, transferred, or face legal penalties if they're found to have physically disciplined children.