Against corporal punishment to students

Published on Jul 23 2015 // Education, Featured

corporal punishment

By-Deepa Poudel

When I was appointed a lower secondary level teacher in a reputed private school, there was a picture of heaven in my mind, an imagined place full of educated and well-mannered persons in the form of Gods. It was the time of summer when I entered into the school as a teacher for the first time. Chitwan’s sunny days, oops! My body was completely soaked in sweat. I entered into the staff room and gulped down a full bottle of water. At that very moment, I heard a wailing sound somewhere outside. Then I went to meet the school principal in his office room. I was dumbfounded by seeing the situation inside.

As I entered into his office, a boy of about four feet tall was sitting on the floor showing his feet. He was clad in white shirt and black pants with a long white and black tie and belt. A pair of torn socks was thrown on the side of the floor. His terrified face with sullen eyes showed as if he had cried for a long time due to severe pain. Suddenly, a tall monstrous man approached in front of him and flung a black long pipe in the air and hit in his feet. The poor innocent boy coiled on the floor clutching his feet but that angry devil scolded him and started beating him randomly in his body parts. The shivering boy joined his both hands and requested him with his trembling lips to forgive him but that monster threw him with his heavy legs towards the next door. I was totally shattered by that scene of exposition. My dream of beholding heaven full of Gods was murdered right there. It was beyond my imagination. The more we are educated, the more we are being inhumane. Thus, I realized that the corporal punishment in school, the second home of child, is still prevalent in Nepal.

In the case of schools of our country, it is not the new scene of revelation which was revealed in front of me. Such types of incidents happened in different schools across the country and they too are happening nowadays. Only the different is most of the cases are suppressed and are protected from the media coverage. Basically corporal punishment refers to the physical punishment which not only harms the physical parts of the body but also the mentality of a person. Time and again, we hear about the corporal punishment to children. We are compelled to digest the inhumane acts with our heavy hearts. Though the corporal punishment has been banned by the government of Nepal, it still prevails here. Many innocent school children are misbehaved and thrashed for minor mistakes by their teachers. They are slapped, forced to kneel down and they too are kept out in the sun. The teachers of our country are still oblivious about the fact that children cannot learn forcefully rather they need love and care along with learning. Such practice indicates serious review in our education system as the teachers are not trained, and are not taught about human rights.

In the same way children are punished and humiliated in school to change their behavior and make them disciplined. But it is not the way of improving their habits. The physical punishment may have negative impact on physical and mental growth of children. The teachers need to know that children learn naturally not in a fearful environment created under the feat of terror. Children who receive corporal punishment may lose their interest in study. They can become ruder through physical punishment. CVICT report of 2004 categorizes ‘two kinds of corporal punishment given to children in Nepal: physical and psychological’. Both the physical and psychological kinds of punishments are harmful for children. Physical punishment may damage their body parts severely whereas psychological punishment could disturb their mental growth. As a result, they feel low and insulted.

The incidents of corporal punishment are seen not only in village area but also in cities. News published on Kathmandu Post on July 05, 2013 mentions: Sixty five students fled the Balmandir School in Kaski on March 5 as they couldn’t bear the torture meted out to them by their teachers. Radha Poudel, English teacher from Jugal School in Lalitpur, pulled of an ear of her student Smera Bista on June 22 for not doing homework. Ajay Dhobi, a nursery student from the Bheri Zone English Medium School in Nepalgunj, was hit hard in his left eye by his teacher Aradhana Rana. (P. N. A.)

From here we can guess how the small students are treated. Not a single but sixty five students were psychologically tortured so they ran away from their school. The case of Lalitpur is the case of physical punishment. Pulling ear of a small student can make him/her deaf rest of the life. Another case of Nepalgunj shows the worst level of corporal punishment. A small boy was about to lose his eye due to the punishment. These are some of the revealed incidents of the year 2013 but there may be many of such incidents which were not revealed in the public discourse. Even such a developed place like Kaski, Lalitpur and Nepalgunj are messed up in such inhuman acts. So, we cannot ignore the fact that other less developed districts may have severe condition than the developed districts.

The state of child rights in Nepal is degrading day by day. Children are merely remembered on Children’s Day and rest of the days they are ignored. Annual report of CWIN-Nepal describes: In 6 districts (Banke, Makwanpur, Kailali, Kaski and Kathmandu) in the period of 12 months (January-December 2014) 3446 cases of different issues related to children were recorded compared to the 3412 cases reported in the last year (January-December 2013). (32)

This report shows that the cases related to children are increasing day by day. If we see the cases of six districts mentioned above, the year 2014 has thirty four more issues than in the year 2013. It is the sign of degraded situation of child rights of Nepal which should be improved fast.

Moreover, the year 2014 also carried different cases of corporal punishment towards the children of school in Nepal. News published in Republica Daily on 15 November 2014 unveils an extreme case of corporal punishment given towards a five-year-old girl:

A five-year-old girl has been left with a broken leg after her teacher thrashed her. She was punished for not submitting her homework on time. After Prakriti Sunar, an upper – kindergarten student was unable to submit the teacher’s homework, Oeli G. M., a teacher, at Himalaya Vidya Niketan, Bankatuwa-4 [Kohalpur], reportedly thrashed her on November 9. Two days after the incident, Prakriti’s parents found out about her broken leg during treatment. Now Prakriti’s fractured leg has been plastered and the doctor told the family that she needs complete rest for six months. (P. N. A.)

The above given news is the bitter truth. It is an unbelievable fact that an educated teacher also can beat five-year-old girl breaking her leg. She had not committed any such crime to break her leg but it happened because she had not done her homework. This shows the climax of cruelty of human being. Teaching is regarded as a precious job and teachers are said to be learned persons. But the teacher like Oeli, G. M. has polluted the field of teaching. Due to such teachers, students are face to bear the corporal punishment repeatedly.

The cases of corporal punishment are still reveling these days. Recently published news in The Himalayan Times on 12 June 2015 can be taken as the worse form of punishment which says: Challenging the concept of the need to foster child-friendly teaching-learning activities at school, a teacher of Siddha Devi Higher Secondary School has thrashed a student for not doing the assignment, at Nagin VDC, in Panchthar. Jiban Shrestha, the teacher, thrashed Gopal Achraya, a fifth grader, after he did not bring educational materials and submit the class work last Monday…the victim’s father Om Nath Acharya said that the child had problem with passing urine after the teacher thrashed him on his back with a bamboo stick…the guardian took Gopal to the district hospital after primary treatment at the local health post. (5)

This is an example of serious case of physical punishment which came in the notice of media. A school goer is punished so disastrously that he suffered from the problem of urination. Although the child failed to submit homework, he should not be treated in such a way. It shows the animalistic behavior of the teacher. Instead, the students who remain reluctant in doing homework should be counseled and must be treated with love and care.

To sum up, the different news reports and articles from various sources show that corporal punishment is pervasive in our schools. Child right is being violated. Their rights of learning naturally without physical and mental tortures have not been respected. Every year, the issue of corporal punishment is being severe, the trend is increasing. This is a national shame and mockery of our education system. So, lack of morality in people is also increasing day by day along with the increasing rate of literacy in Nepal. It is possible to solve the problem only when teachers are taught about child rights along with moral education.

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