n African Human Rights Law Journal - Discipline in Nigerian schools within a human rights framework

Volume 10, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1609-073X
  • E-ISSN: 1996-2096


Educators are agents of change and they have a mandate to change schools and classrooms into places where human rights are respected and taken into consideration when discretionary powers are exercised. Nigerian educators have a mandate to observe and promote human rights, not only because such rights are guaranteed in the Nigerian Constitution as the supreme law of the country, but also because the Nigerian government has committed itself to upholding human rights by ratifying and domesticating various international and regional human rights instruments. In this article the author argues for the suitability of a positive discipline approach as a way in which educators could fulfil their mandate to observe and foster children's rights. The author identifies human rights (with specific emphasis on children's rights) as found in international and regional human rights instruments as well as in domestic law that Nigerian educators must observe when establishing a disciplined classroom. Factors which hamper the implementation of human rights instruments such as the misinterpretation of the Constitution in the domestication of treaties and the respective legislative powers of the federal and state legislatures, the conflict between customary law and statutory law, the rejection of the supremacy of the Constitution by some religious groups, and the rejection of human rights instruments on the grounds of cultural and religious practices and customs, for example the traditional view of children as lesser beings and the view that corporal punishment is in the best interests of the child, are identified.

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