In April 2023, with the enactment of the Basic and Senior Secondary Education Act, 2023, Sierra Leone explicitly prohibited corporal punishment of children in schools.
Section 72 (1) of the Basic and Senior Secondary Education Act, 2023 states: “corporal punishment and all other forms of degrading punishment designed to cause, or create the reasonable fear of, physical pain in a pupil, administered or threatened for the purposed of domination or control are prohibited.”
The Basic and Senior Secondary Education Act, 2023 bans corporal punishment administered by school staff and teachers. It prohibits any person or students’ relatives from inflicting corporal punishment or threatening students on school grounds (section 72 (2) (3)). The new Act also recommends the use of “alternative forms of discipline including positive methods” for child development (section 72 (4)).
With this new legislation, Sierra Leone becomes the 136th state worldwide to legally protect children from corporal punishment in schools. In 2019, Sierra Leone endorsed the #SafetoLearn Call to Action, which aims to end violence in and around all schools, through implementation of policy and legislation.
However, corporal punishment remains lawful in the home, alternative care settings and day care, since the concept of “reasonable” and “justifiable” correction of children is still included in the Child Rights Act 2007.
The Basic and Senior Secondary Education Act also included explicit prohibition of all forms of exploitation and abuse of students, and protections for young mothers. Read more about the Act's additional provisions here.
Find out more in our country report for Sierra Leone
Learn more about:
- Global progress towards universal prohibition of corporal punishment
- Prohibition and elimination of corporal punishment in school settings.
- Read our new report on ending corporal punishment in schools.