Report: Zimbabwe

Zimbabwean headmistress charged with murder after caning schoolboy

A school headmistress has appeared in court in Zimbabwe facing a murder charge after a pupil she caned later died. The boy had been sent to the headmistress, who worked at a school in the low-income township of Epworth, for misbehaving in class.

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe recently banned corporal punishment in schools
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe recently banned corporal punishment in schools Reuters/Tiksa Negeri

The incident comes less than a week after teachers wrote to President Robert Mugabe asking him to reverse a recent ban on corporal punishment in schools.

Zimbabwe's recently adopted constitution bars school authorities from physically punishing children but not everyone is in favour of the new measure.

The high school pupil hasn't been named but he apparently had a heart problem that the headmistress was allegedly aware of.

Reports say that the youth misbehaved in class on Monday at Domboramwari High School in Harare.

His teacher, who was new to the school, reported him to the headmistress.

The official Herald newspaper identifies her as 43-year-old Modester Rubhabha.

She is alleged to have caned the pupil despite the fact that corporal punishment is no longer allowed under Zimbabwe's new constitution.

He collapsed and later died.

Rubhabha faces a charge of murder and she is currently out of custody on bail.

This incident is unlikely to help the cause of some Zimbabwean teachers who are pushing for the reintroduction of the cane.

Last week the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe said in a letter to President Robert Mugabe that it was receiving reports of increased bullying, truancy and indiscipline in schools.

It blamed those on teachers not being able to use corporal punishment.

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