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In KP schools, the stick reigns supreme

Published May 15, 2015 04:58pm

PESHAWAR: Eight-year-old Iqra resumed schooling in Peshawar after a two-week gap. She is now at a new school, quitting the previous one after she was brutally beaten by a teacher for failing to obtain what the teacher deemed good marks in a test.

Terrified at the thought of being flogged again, she had vehemently refused to go back to the same school.

Eight-year-old Iqra displays her marks of the beating after being flogged by her teacher for not securing good marks in a test. — Photo by author
Eight-year-old Iqra displays her marks of the beating after being flogged by her teacher for not securing good marks in a test. — Photo by author

"The fear, however, is still very much there," said her mother. "The incident left a very negative impact on her mind, and she has been unable to get over the trauma."

Iqra's family was not reassured even when the school principal — with whom they lodged a complaint —assured them that the teacher in question would be terminated. Their daughter's fearful state after the incident coupled with the negligent attitude of the school administration whom they blamed for the incident prompted them to change schools.

After being flogged by her teacher for not securing what the instructor regarded as good marks in a test, eight-year-old Iqra changed her school and now attends Libra Public School. — Photo by author
After being flogged by her teacher for not securing what the instructor regarded as good marks in a test, eight-year-old Iqra changed her school and now attends Libra Public School. — Photo by author

The third-grader is now enrolled at Libra Public School in the city area of Peshawar.

Recounting the ordeal, Iqra said her Islamiat teacher Nasreen Bibi conducted a test and after checking her test paper, she beat her with a piece of wood.

“No one came forward to stop her,” said the whimpering child.

"She is a good student, but the teacher conducted a surprise test which is why she failed to obtain good marks," said the child's mother.

Eight-year-old Iqra displays marks of torture after being flogged by her teacher for not securing "good marks" in a test. — Photo by author
Eight-year-old Iqra displays marks of torture after being flogged by her teacher for not securing "good marks" in a test. — Photo by author

Showing the marks of beating on her body, Iqra mumbled that her teacher hit her on her arms, legs and back.

Teachers big on corporal punishment

Iqra is among hundreds of students who are beaten for what teachers regard as poor performance in school tests.

Educationists and child rights workers say corporal punishment, which is adopted with the notion of disciplining children, has become an intrinsic part of KP's academic culture.

“In our society, elders possess the right to punish children when they commit mistakes; the same culture is followed in schools,” said Ahmed, a child rights worker.

Even though Section 89 of Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) allows 'light' punishment, educationists and psychologists strongly oppose corporal punishment and abuse in any form.

"Physical punishment and abuse creates fear among students," said Ahmed Ali, who teaches psychology at a private institution. He adds that it causes the student to develop hatred towards the teacher and the school administration.

"It discourages students and undermines their confidence level," he said, adding that punishment and physical abuse also results in under-developed personalities.

Not just schools, children are subjected to beatings at their homes, in the streets and even in bazaars.

"Government and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) need to run a massive awareness drive to educate people about the harmful impacts of corporal punishment," said Ali.

"Corporal punishment is especially common in government schools," said Farhan, a student of Government Higher Secondary School No. 1 in Peshawar.

Take a look: Over 70 pc teachers believe corporal punishment is useful

"Despite being a student of Class 10, I don't have the courage to speak up against my teachers for such demeaning acts."

Despite child rights law, no avail

The provincial government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa had introduced a law for safeguarding child rights in 2010.

Under Sections 34 and 35 of the KP Child Rights Act, all forms of corporal punishment are prohibited which is in stark contrast to Section 89 of the PPC 1860 which allows parents and teachers to punish children in order to discipline them.

Farhan said that the government has failed to curb corporal punishment in schools.

Corporal punishment — dropping out of school

The Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (Sparc) — a non-governmental organisation working for child rights — cites corporal punishment as one of the main reasons behind the high number of school dropouts in KP.

According to a rough estimate by Sparc, more than a hundred students in the past year in KP dropped out of school due to the fear of being physically punished.

"Teachers need to be educated on how beating and abusing students has a negative impact on them," said Sparc manager Muhammad Khalid.

"Sparc has provided training to almost five thousand teachers in five districts of the province, but it is not enough. The government should start training sessions to create awareness among teachers," he said.

"Corporal punishment is also strictly prohibited in Islam," said Nazar Hussain, who is the deputy chairman at the Education Council of Pakistan.

"Teachers need to cultivate a friendly and nurturing environment in the classroom, and teach students with love and affection."

Read: Corporal punishment: Spare the rod

Like other educationists, Nazar is also scornful of the government's role in eliminating corporal punishment from schools.

"I don't know any case where a guilty teacher has been penalised for engaging in these counterproductive acts."

Names have been changed to maintain privacy.

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Comments (35) Closed

Shakeel Rajput
May 15, 2015 05:03pm

What is the provisional PTI government doing about this case?

May 15, 2015 06:17pm

You can't teach our kids with 'MOULA JATT.'

omer khan shaheen
May 15, 2015 06:19pm

A jail term for such teachers seems to be the right course of action.

May 15, 2015 06:48pm

After it has been thoroughly investigated and guilt proven, the parents of the child should decide the punishment for this teacher, limited to termination and/or flogging with the same stick. Or forgive her under probation, making sure she does not abuse kids physically and verbally.

May 15, 2015 07:05pm

what r this girls guardians doing about this? the person that did this should not be allowed anywhere near a school

May 15, 2015 07:26pm

In Teacher-Student-Parent triangle, parents have a big role to play. In many cases parents themselves encourage teachers/private tutors to be strict because they cannot control their pupil themselves. This gets more worse when parents are not well educated and they blame their children for making excuses if they complain about their teachers. This is so common in our part of the world and is practiced in all over Pakistan, not just in KP.Parents must trust their children and should be open with them so that they can tell them everything that is happening to them.

Samad Chaudhry
May 15, 2015 07:38pm

In our school days in 40's school punishment was a common thing and if parents came to know we were re-punished for they thought that we must have done something wrong in the school However things have changed for the better> In UK schools have no such thing. Even Islamic schools refrain from punishing child. Iqra's teacher must reprimanded and should never be allowed such brutality again.

May 15, 2015 07:46pm

There are monumental issues in KP - however, IK's priorities are elsewhere.

May 15, 2015 07:54pm

There are other means to correct the under-performance in students like creating healthy competition by awarding high-grade achievers. Those who employ corporal punishments actually display their own shortcomings in teaching. They need to be punished, not the students they fail to educate properly. Each child is differnt from other and needs individual attention.

May 15, 2015 08:09pm

All of us agree, this is a brutal act and should be stopped. But why report only highlight KP? This is common problem across whole Pakistan. Such biased attitudes are the reason that our country is going down in every aspect of life.

May 15, 2015 08:09pm

The center need to provide due shares to provinces...

May 15, 2015 08:15pm

PTI has done SO MUCH for education (I have been following Dawn Peshawar for a month now) You can't tackle all issues at the same time. I am sure PTI shall get around to this too. Maybe instead of criticizing, we should highlight this issue on the Party's official pages and contribute something positive to the society. . No need to be so cynical!

May 15, 2015 08:22pm

No wonder the literacy rate is going down in the country...

May 15, 2015 08:31pm

Was previously she admitted in some Govt School where she was beaten? if so the responsibility rests squarely with Provincial Education Department otherwise, though, the provincial government still needs to look into the matter but they cant be blamed much for it. The report doesnt give any clue about this

May 15, 2015 09:06pm

Teachers or anyone who beat pupils or children are evil people, without a doubt. They let out their weaknesses out on the weakest link under their control. Teachers misbehavior, their beating has a negative impact on children's mind for the rest of their lives, and in majority of the times. It is possible some individual student because of his approach & good family influence may have taken it positively, and become a better student or person for the rest of his or her life, but it does not happen in most of the cases, so we should never use exceptions to approve something or even disapprove something. We should always look at the success models to make the difference, correct the problem. I think Public School Sargodah may be a good model.

May 15, 2015 09:07pm

continued: Elementary schools in general, within areas with higher property taxes area, within America may represent a good model to follow. A teacher with good example can change the student's life for the rest of his or her life. It happened with my daughter when she was attending an elementary school in America, and it was role model teacher that changed her discipline, results, motivation in life.

Sanjeet Kumar
May 15, 2015 09:09pm

Everybody makes it sure that corporal punishment should strictly prohibit in school.

El Cid
May 15, 2015 10:08pm

Such teachers should be investigated. Should they be proven guilty immediate dismissal followed by criminal charges.

May 15, 2015 10:38pm

@Denali you are so correct.

bakht zaman
May 15, 2015 10:46pm

who can blam them for such harsh attitude after all they are doing it for their their pupils well being . I m a student of previous and still feel uncomfortable before a teacher bcoz they were punish us to a great extent someone tell them that they are ruin their life for now and for all. it makes them want to quit studying.

May 15, 2015 10:54pm


    I hate to agree with you.  Why are people there so hard on each other?

Pakistani children need to be taught young that life is not a contest. Man has achieved greatness by cooperation from the beginning of the world. Helping each other.
When people in a society stop cooperating they begin to drown. I can remember a Chinese primer from the late 1930s meant to teach children to read and write: "Big brother is big. Little brother is little. Good big brother. Good little brother." We can't beat goodness into anyone. Especially children. It can only make them understand the world is a bad place.

Ahmad Ali
May 15, 2015 11:02pm

Brutal act

May 15, 2015 11:14pm

i don't understand why there is always news regarding KP this KP that, there are other provinces as well. Have you ever cover news from punjab in such detail the biggest province on Pakistan in terms of population.

May 15, 2015 11:19pm


    Well, that answer is a Pakistani Socialist Party.  Not godless communism -that was Iraq under Saddam Hussein.  A socialism ruled by reason and not by wealthy families or military rule.  The wealthy refuse to give up their wealth, but they should not sicken themselves with greed.  Greed is a sickness.
    "Though I speak with the tongues of men, and of angels, and have not charity I am become as a sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal.
      Though I have the gift of prophecies, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge; and though I have all faith that I could remove mountains, and have not charity I am nothing."
       "Charity does not envy and is not puffed up."  

It is in a man or woman's heart to give of themselves.
May 16, 2015 12:21am

i would to state about the article which was written on behalf of using sticks in government and private schools sectors which is really shocking .we should educate our young ones through affection not to force them by leaving schools,particularly Government should strongly act upon this issue as soon as possible

May 16, 2015 12:22am

I still remember I had to join a government school in 9th class in Gujrat Punjab. The class teacher used to take all class to his tuition Center after school. He used to punish under performers at Tution Center in the most brutal manner I ever witnessed. Two class fellows used to carry him one holding his legs and other arms. The teacher then hit the cane on the back with full force. The guys carrying poor kid always held him while he cried with pain and whole class watch. My father told the teacher that he would get Tution fees but I would not attend it and he agreed. The name of school was government public high school number 1.

May 16, 2015 12:46am

Islamiat teacher beating brutally-and hence we see from where the extremist mindset in the country comes from . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . instead of teaching good virtues the teacher is producing aggressive prone children!

May 16, 2015 01:16am

Most of the teachers in Govt schools believe that they are government employees and are immune from any retribution.

NaMaloom Fard
May 16, 2015 02:47am

I grew up in the era of 60's-70's and caning was the order of the day. I went to a well acclaimed public school where discipline was supreme. Many of my contemporaries are (and some may have retired) did extraordinarily well despite being severely disciplined at times. Our respect for the teachers remains and will remain forever. We could not go home and complain that we were caned for the fear of a second round of caning at home.

Psychological trauma is a Western phenomenon, we didn't do too badly and neither has most of the class of 1972. Spare the rod and spoil the child.....

May 16, 2015 02:55am

All part of Naya Pakistan

May 16, 2015 07:54am

Some children are naturally smarter than others. Not doing well at tests is not something that should be punished-it should be a signal that these children require some additional assistance in learning.

May 16, 2015 07:58am

@bakht zaman No these cruel teachers are NOT beating children for their well being. If they were truly interested in the children's well being, they would sit them down quietly and provide some extra tuition to assist them in learning.

May 16, 2015 10:12am

Few would know, KP education dept has already started a complaint center where any complaint can be lodged - including that of corporal punishment in schools. The number is 8889. However, for this particular case we see the need for regulation of private schools. Laws maybe there, but we need implementation mechanisms as part of the law e.g. in case of RTI etc.

May 16, 2015 10:29am

The parents should involve the police in this issue, if the school doesn't fire the teacher. Only then will so called educators learn that physical abuse is unacceptable.

May 16, 2015 03:57pm

This is the case all over Punjab and other provinces. Not a specific case to PTI. This is a social attitude problem too which takes time to resolve.

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