Singapore Schools Wiki

Caning is also used as a form of corporal punishment in primary and, especially, secondary schools, and also in one or two post-secondary colleges, to maintain strict discipline in school. Under Section 88 of the Education Act, it is permitted for male students only. The punishment is administered formally along traditional British lines, typically in the form of a predetermined number of vigorous cuts across the seat of the student's trousers as he bends over a desk or chair.

The Ministry of Education encourages schools to punish boys by caning for serious offences such as fighting, smoking, cheating, gangsterism, vandalism, defiance and truancy.[1] Students may also be caned for repeated cases of more minor offences, such as being late repeatedly in a term. The punishment may be administered only by the Principal or any staff member under the Principal's express authority, usually the Vice-Principal, Discipline Master, Operations Manager, or any other legally authorised member of the school's Disciplinary Committee. At most schools, caning comes after detention but before suspension in the hierarchy of penalties.[2] Some schools use a demerit points system, whereby students receive a mandatory caning after accumulating a certain number of demerit points for a wide range of offences.[2]

Under Ministry regulations, the punishment should not exceed a maximum of 6 strokes, and can only be administered on the palms or buttocks using a light rattan cane of about 4 feet long.[3] However, the majority of the canings range from one to three very hard strokes, applied to the seat of the boy's trousers or shorts.[2]

Canings in schools may be classified as:

  • Private caning: The most common form of school caning. The offending student is caned in the school's General Office in the presence of the Principal and/or Vice-Principal and another witness (usually the student's form teacher). His parents or guardians may be invited to the school to witness the punishment being meted out.
  • Class caning: The offending student is caned in front of his class.
  • Public caning: The offending student is caned on stage during assembly in front of the whole school population, to serve as a warning for potential offenders. This is usually reserved for serious offences committed like fighting, smoking or vandalism.

School caning is a solemn and formal ceremory. Before the caning, the Discipline Master usually explains the student's offence to the audience. Next, a protective item (book or file) will be tucked into the boy's trouser waistband to protect the lower back from mis-strokes.[2] He will be directed to bend over a table or a chair, with his buttocks pushed a little up and back. In this position, the boy will be caned across his buttocks, according to the number of strokes prescribed. He will normally experience superficial bruises and weals for some days after the punishment.[4]

Certain schools have special practices for caning, such as making the student change into PE attire for the punishment. Some schools require the student to read out a public apology before receiving his strokes.

Boys of any age from 6 to 19 may be caned, but the majority of canings are of secondary school students aged 14–16 inclusive.[2] The Ministry of Education recommends that the student receive counselling before and/or after his caning.

Routine school canings are naturally not normally publicised, so cases only get reported in the press in rare special cases.[5][6][7][8][9][10]


  1. Speech by Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Acting Minister for Education, 14 May 2004.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Template:Cite web
  3. Regulation No 88 under the Schools Regulation Act 1957.
  4. Singapore: School CP.
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