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Corporal punishment: Need for banning it in schools
The state government of Assam, where corporal punishment is the highest in the country, has now brought in a firm legislation outlawing corporal punishment in schools. It is being initiated with the provision for suspension, impeachment, even termination of errant teachers from service. Such provisions should be applicable nationwide.

THE ASSAM Corporal Punishment in Educational Institutions (Prohibition) Bill 2010 will soon be sited before the State Assembly for a concluding nod as it meets on March 2 for its Budget session. The State Director of Secondary Education explained, “The final draft is ready and we just want the nod of the Assembly before it becomes a law”.

The decision to set up the bill comes after a recent UNICEF study that gave Assam schools the dubious distinction of topping the list of Indian schools where corporal punishment and humiliation of students were unbridled and nearly 100% per cent of students in Assam schools were falling prey to corporal punishment.

Recently, the state was shocked by a bizarre incident involving a Class VIII student in the capital city Guwahati attempting to commit suicide by jumping from the second floor of the institution alleging punishment and humiliation for speaking in Assamese inside the school.

Some time back a workshop was instituted on Corporal Punishment at the Directorate of Secondary Education, Kahilipara, Guwahati. The Assam Corporal Punishment in Educational Institutions (Prohibition) Bill 2010 consists of seven different chapters that focus on powers and duties of appropriate government and local authorities, powers and procedure of disciplinary authority, constitution of managing committees, power, jurisdiction of courts and et al.

It is believed that children are treated as the living face of divine as they do not carry prejudice and envy. They are just pure at heart, yet it's shocking that children are the atrocious victims of the punishment gifted by some of their teachers. Here are some recent instances of corporal punishment in India as reported in the media:

On April 17 of 2009, a 11-year old girl died after a teacher subjected her to severe corporal punishment by forcing her to stand outside in the hot sun. Her class teacher in the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) primary school in Narela in north Delhi had beaten her Corporal punishment is illegal.

A 12-year-old boy lost 20 per cent vision in his right eye permanently thanks to a teacher who tossed a duster at another boy but smashed his spectacles instead. A headmaster beat an eight-year-old boy of Sangli, Maharashtra, to death, in February 2008. Enraged over his transfer, a teacher in Madhya Pradesh beat two six-year-olds to death in December 14, 2007. A class VI student in Shimla died on May 14, 2007 after he was beaten by his teacher for leaving his Maths and English copies at home. A student of class 10 in Ludhiana who was beaten up by his teacher on 12th July, 2002 and he later succumbed to his injuries and died. He was 15. A 16-year-old student in Chennai committed suicide by hanging himself from the ceiling fan of his room on 12th July, 2003, because he was stripped and callously beaten up by his mathematics teacher in full view of his classmates. In his suicide note, he said "he was afraid of going to school and that he would do anything to avoid going to school".

These some cases got the focus of the media. But nearly 90 per cent of corporal punishment cases in the nation are unreported since parents think their child’s mistake must have been the reason for "aggravation", or as they fear for their children’s future, a survey quoted.

The issue that must be addressed is why corporal punishment still exists in schools? Should corporal punishment be allowed in schools? How should such punishments be stopped? What we must do to stop corporal punishment at school? A score of Child Right Commissions have advocated to save children from unkind corporal punishment. The National Commission for Protection of Child Right (NCPCR) is one of them, and has added meaning and urgency to the definition of corporal punishment.

Productive results can be attained by having emotional attachments, caring nature and by acting as a friend or a guide with the students. Corporal punishment is the least effective way to discipline a child. Teachers, conversely, want to manage students in an easy manner and they feel that the best way to do it is through punishment. What they fail to understand is that a school is no place for showing superiority and punishment is not the right tool to control a pupil.

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