New guidelines to eliminate corporal punishment

NCPCR survey shows over 80 percent students in schools across the country are humiliated by teachers

jasleen

Jasleen Kaur | March 5, 2012



The new guidlines issued by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) on Monday says schools should constitute special monitoring cells to take prompt action in cases of physical punishment or harassment of children. It also suggests that corporal punishment monitoring cells (CPMCs) should hear grievances related to corporal punishment within 48 hours of the occurrence.

The guidelines include measures for affirmative action in schools for positive development of children, for positive engagement with children, for creating an environment conducive to learning, creating a positive environment for them.

Currently there is no statutory definition of corporal punishment of children in the Indian law. The commission, in keeping with the provisions of the RTE Act, 2009, has defined corporal punishment as physical punishment, mental harassment and discrimination.

The new guidelines call for a process of triangulation between the student/family, the teacher/school administration and a student council to cope with problematic behaviours of children, academics related issues or offensive behaviour which often leads to physical punishment. According to the new guidelines, it is important to recognise that the child needs help and not punishment as child’s temperament differs depending upon the parenting, disciplinary patterns at home and school or stress. It is therefore important for teachers to understand the real reason behind their problems.

Another idea suggested by NCPCR is that schools should have annual social audits of physical punishment, harassment and discrimination. Also, schools should adopt strategies to improve teacher-student relationship and create a child-friendly environment in schools. It also says that there is a need for multi-disciplinary intervention as no sector of child abuse can be treated as independent of other sectors. Psychologists, educationists, school teachers, parents, social workers, lawyers and children should be involved so as to improve their understanding, which would help them in working towards the well-being of children.

These guidelines are formed after a detailed study conducted in 2009-10. Earlier this month, the commission had released the survey which said over 80 percent of students in schools across the country are humiliated by teachers, who tell them that they are not capable of learning. The survey also says that only nine out of 6,632 students in seven states denied being punished in schools.

The guidelines are also important as the RTE ACT too prohibits ‘physical punishment’ and ‘mental harassment’.

The committee which formed these guidelines has members from the NCPCR, HRD ministry, school principal, NUEPA. It also noted that corporal punishment can take place in home, family, schools and other educational institutions and justice systems.

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