Caning on the rise – expert

Image courtesy stock.xchnge (LilGoldWmn)

Image courtesy stock.xchnge (LilGoldWmn)

Corporal punishment of school pupils is on the rise in the Eastern Cape and Mpumalanga, reveals Statistics SA’s latest General Household Survey.

The 2012 report, tabled in Pretoria on Thursday, finds that, nationally, 15.8 percent of pupils “experienced corporal punishment at school” during that year.

But the practice “was most common in the Eastern Cape (30.3 percent), KwaZulu-Natal (21.4 percent), and Free State (18.4 percent).”

In 2011, the figure for the Eastern Cape was 29.9 percent. However, the steepest rise in such punishment — which includes caning pupils, and is outlawed in South Africa — was in Mpumalanga.

In this province, it rose from 6.7 percent in 2011, to 11.5 percent in 2012. The survey measures living conditions in, and the quality of service delivery to, South African households. It covers six broad areas — education, health, welfare, housing, access to services and facilities, and food security.

The report has been produced each year since 2002. The target population includes all private households in all nine provinces, as well as residents in workers’ hostels.

The survey was carried out last year by officials employed and trained by Stats SA. A total of 25,330 “households” were visited and the responses to 182 questions recorded.

Among its key findings is that more than 13.8 million pupils were attending school last year.

Among the top problems experienced by pupils enrolled at public schools, a lack of books (6.6 percent) and large classes (4.7 percent) “were singled out as the most important problems”.

On mains electricity supply, the report finds the percentage of households connected to the grid has increased relatively consistently, from 77.1 percent in 2002, to 85 percent last year.

Further, almost 91 percent of households had access to piped water. It notes, however, that there is rising dissatisfaction with the quality of the water supplied in some provinces.

“Residents of Free State, Mpumalanga, and Eastern Cape have consistently been least satisfied with the quality of water.”

On sanitation, the report finds the percentage of households with no sanitation, or which use bucket toilets, decreased from 12.3 percent in 2002, to 5.3 percent in 2012.

The survey found taxis were the most commonly used form of public transport, “as 40.4 percent of households had at least one member who used a minibus/sedan taxi or bakkie taxi during the week preceding the survey”.

On the environment, it says waste removal problems and littering, and land degradation and soil erosion, “were the two environmental problems that concerned the highest percentage of households”.

The survey also found that access to food has improved slightly.

“The percentage of South African households with inadequate or severely inadequate access to food decreased from 23.9 percent in 2010, to 21.5 percent in 2012.”

It found that less than a fifth of households (18.1 percent) were involved in agricultural production. According to the report, the number of people benefiting from social grants has increased from 12.7 percent 10 years ago, to 29.6 percent last year.

“Simultaneously, the percentage of households that received at least one grant increased from 29.9 percent to 43.6 percent.

“Individuals in Eastern Cape (40.3 percent), Limpopo (37.7 percent) and KwaZulu-Natal (36.1 percent) were most likely to be grant beneficiaries.”

On health, the survey found that almost 70 percent of households “went to public clinics and hospitals first when household members fell ill or got injured”.



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