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Consternation in Samoa over move to reinstate corporal punishment in schools

 Teachers gather in Apia, Samoa for their annual conference, in a Jan. 2017 file photo

Apia, SAMOA — Samoa's ombudsman and a Supreme Court judge say they're at a loss as to what has motivated a move to reinstate corporal punishment in the country's high schools.

Justice Vui Clarence Nelson and Maiava Iulai Toma have spoken out against the amendment to the Education Act.

Samoa banned the use of corporal punishment in 2013.

The government at the time saying it was motivated to abolish corporal punishment in all settings.

Maiava, who also heads Samoa's Human Rights Institution, doesn't understand the motivation for change.

And Justice Vui Clarence Nelson says he's at a loss to why the Ministry of Education is pushing the bill.

"Nobody seems to understand the reason behind the pursuit of this amendment to the Education Act. It is something perhaps you might wish to get an official comment from the Ministry of Education upon," Vui Clarence Nelson said.

The ministry has not responded to email and telephone requests for comment.