Assam to ban corporal punishment in schools

July 29th, 2009 - 2:58 pm ICT by IANS  

Guwahati, July 29 (IANS) The Assam government will soon introduce legislation banning corporal punishment in schools after a Unicef report said the state topped the list of Indian schools where corporal punishment and humiliation of students was rampant.
“We shall very soon ban corporal punishment in schools as such a system to rein in students has become obsolete and often leads to adverse impact on the students’ mental well being and trauma,” Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi told IANS.

A Unicef study said 99.56 percent of students in Assam schools were victims of corporal punishment.

The issue came up for a serious discussion in the ongoing three-day workshop titled “Discipline with Dignity - Promoting Positive Discipline in Schools of Assam” organised by the Law Research Institute, the Gauhati High Court and Unicef in Assam’s main city of Guwahati.

“It is a good beginning and I am confident this consultation would help us to move forward in creating a protective environment conducive to children to learn with dignity without fear or humiliation,” Karin Hulshof, India representative of the Unicef, said.

Despite the menace, not all students, however, protest. Many parents prefer to remain silent, lest the academic careers of their wards are hampered.

“Corporal punishment is in vogue not only in municipal and government schools, but also in elite institutions in the state, at times even extended to parents and guardians in a somewhat discreet manner although they have to tolerate for lack of options,” Justice Ranjan Gogoi, a judge of the Gauhati High Court, said in his speech.

Another northeastern state of Mizoram ranks second in the list of Indian schools where corporal punishment is rampant.

The Unicef study highlights the instance of a Class 9 student in Mizoram who refused to continue her studies after she was beaten on her bare bottom by a teacher in front of her classmates.

Though the school authorities later apologised to her parents and sacked the erring teacher, the hapless girl refused to go to that school again and the trauma continued to haunt her in a new school she was admitted to.

“We need acknowledge the fact that corporal punishment could impede the child’s overall development due to humiliation,” the chief minister said.

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