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‘Legislation, children and corporal punishment’

March 27, 2013

THIS is apropos of Imran Takkar’s letter, ‘Legislation, children and corporal punishment’ (March 11). The writer has urged the government to take all appropriate legislative, administrative, social and educational measures to eliminate corporal punishment meted out to school children.

I would like to draw the attention of the writer towards the ground realities of our educational institutions, particularly in rural areas where the situation is not so simple so as to implement ban on corporal punishment.

Being a teacher of a rural area of Punjab, observing students frequently involved in keeping arms and dealing in drugs in the school premises is a painstaking and heartrending experience for me. These are the students who are the least rogue, as those more influential never bother to come to school. Despite the best efforts, I find that there is no way I can compel them to attend their classes.

Despite advocating a ban on corporal punishment for about a year, I sometimes wonder how much following “Mar naheen pyar” (not caning but affection) has deteriorated moral values in our educational institutions.

Then, I ponder, why not the ban be extended to the guardian who punishes his intransigent child when he abuses, steals and infringes laws, paving the way for more ‘old homes’ in our country.

Arguments abound, punishment and reward are an integral part of our religion, as Islam not only permits but also decrees reprimanding and beating the child for the purpose of correction.

Nevertheless, if our leaders are keen to implement a ban on corporal punishment rigorously due to their propensities for western traditions and for being signatory of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), then they should ensure an accordant training of the teachers on pragmatic alternatives, keeping in view the ruthless attitude of our society towards education.

Detention classes after school hours, like those in the US, with trained staff for counselling of transgressors should be provided to the schools so that students don’t feel themselves to be somewhere between the devil and the deep sea.