Whipping of KNUST Students: The Ugly Reality of Our Educational System


In a video widely circulated on social media, a lecturer is seen whipping some students of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology(KNUST).

The students willingly queue and impatiently wait for their turn to receive their own ‘hot share.’

The stern lecturer, fully in charge of the situation, executes the procedure effectively. No erring student escapes!
Their offence, it is alleged, is their failure to bring some course reader to the lecture hall.

Some victims of the birching exercise reportedly explained it away. They maintained that it was a humorous aside, an icebreaker, meant to have them giggling (or even laughing out loudly, raucously) as they tried to wrap their heads round some confounding Statistics problems.

But on the face of the video, not every student got the joke. One of them,a male, well-clad ( probably well-behaved) was not amused at all. He looked deeply hurt as he walked briskly away.

Even so, the explanation (that the lecturer was joking) is dead on arrival; the infuriated lecturer lashed. He did not merely touch them with the whip. If Basket Mouth gives me a slap as a joke, I will promptly forget that he is a renowned
comedian and generously reciprocate the ‘kind gesture.’

But why will an intellectual even think of such a demeaning exercise as a joke? Obviously he has his reasons.
But to me, it is a sign that the stifling, constricting, ‘master-servant’ aspects of our educational system have come to a head. It is a system that demands absolute compliance, that encourages the colonial “obey before you complain” mantra, that says that teachers’ views must always hold sway. It is a system that doesn’t hesitate to humiliate or victimise students who falter or challenge the status quo.

It’s quite obvious that many students feel they would be victimized if they asserted their rights.

Yes! The students erred. But the very
thought of lashing university students bespeak of the little esteem in which they are held.
Couldn’t he have proceeded with his lecture regardless?
Couldn’t he have proceeded with those who had the material? Did he have to waste their time too?

Our educational system is yet to fully shed its colonial character that ensured that exemplary whipping was meted out to people at the least provocation.

On the surface, it brought about temporary compliance. But the colonisers knew it also degraded, demeaned and insulted the victims. They fully understood the negative psychological effects such public humiliation caused.

We can’t encourage original, transformational thinking by having university students who are so compliant, so frightened that they are all too willing to accept the ordeal of corporal punishment for not having a course material.

We can’t build the solid, developed country we desire, if we have an educational system that encourages unmitigated docility.

Let’s scrap the ‘slavery’ in our educational system.

Emmanuel Asakinaba

Posted by Emmanuel Asakinaba

Student, UG. Poet. Activist. Writer.

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