Fear is an emotion that arises as result of a perceived threat which triggers change of behavior. Fearful people will try to run away, or go into hiding in an attempt to freeze the situation they find themselves in. Several things contribute to fear in school.
Bullying is one aspect that instills fear among students. It is the use of force on another student with the aim of intimidating. This vice never misses out in any school. It creates an unhealthy environment for learning. Most new comers in school go through some bulling of some sort. Race, class and religious differences are some of the justifications that bullies use to threaten their peers.
Corporal punishment is another factor that brings about fear in students. It torments a student’s mind which ultimately affects their studies. In Kenya, corporal punishment in school is outlawed by the constitution. Some teachers still practice the barbaric form of punishment in blatant disregard of the law. An example is one school girl who was incapacitated after a brutal beating from a teacher (Source: Standard Digital)It is important that the teaching fraternity get acquainted with the laws that protect children.
Article 29 of the Constitution states that every person “has the right to freedom and security of the person, which includes the right not to be … (c) subjected to any form of violence from either public or private sources; (d) subjected to torture in any manner, whether physical or psychological; (e) subjected to corporal punishment; or (f) treated or punished in a cruel, inhuman or degrading manner”. Article 20(1) states: “The Bill of Rights applies to all law and binds all State organs and all persons.” And article 53 confirms that every child has the right “to be protected from abuse, neglect, harmful cultural practices, all forms of violence, inhuman treatment and punishment, and hazardous or exploitative labour”.
Article 2(4) renders void any law, including customary law that is inconsistent with the Constitution. There are various provisions in Kenyan law which justify or authorise corporal punishment, in conflict with the new Constitution. These will need to be reviewed and amended, including repeal of “the right of any parent or other person having the lawful control or charge of a child to administer reasonable punishment on him” from article 127 of the Children Act 2001 and of the authorisation of corporal punishment in schools in article 11 of the Education (School Discipline) Regulations.
Other things that cause fear in school include lack of parental/teacher guidance and moral support in terms of school fees, child needs, negative stereo typing by teachers and so forth. If not checked, these could result in low self esteem that could end up in fear.
It is a big responsibility for teachers and parents to work together in fighting fear in school by creating a cohesive environment and adhering to the needs of the students. By so doing, the overall performance of students will be greatly improved.