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A swill idea

Romanian schoolchildren are to be sent to clean pig sties if they skip classes, a local authority has ruled. Teachers and parents at the Ion Mincu school in Vaslui in eastern Romania agreed on the punishment after they had said that giving the children detention and bad marks was not stopping a spate of truancy.

Dan Magureanu, the headteacher, said: "We want to show the students who do not attend classes how their lives will end up if they do not study. With no study, they will not be qualified for anything other than manual labour.

A bad mark for behaviour or other sanctions have no effect on students. But hard physical work will.

"We have a small farm nearby that has pigs. Working in the sties will be hard for the kids, not just because of the smell and muck but because they will become an object of mockery among other children. Hopefully that will be enough of a deterrent for them."

Mr Magureanu also said other manual labour jobs could be assigned to truanting students as and when the need arose.

The children will be supervised at all times by the school caretaker in any work they undertake.

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