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Child Rights Commission steps in to protect school children from harsh corporal punishment

child rights
© UNICEF/India/2007

By Jyoti Rao

August 10, 2007, New Delhi: The recent spate of incidences of violence against children by teachers has prompted the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) to step in to protect helpless school children from their teachers’ abuse in schools. 
Pupils being slapped, beaten by iron rods or being given electric shocks as punishment are some of more cruel tales that have recently made headlines in the country.

Citing rapping on the knuckles, making students kneel down or stand up for long hours, sitting like a chair, pinching and slapping, locking the students alone in classrooms and making children run around the school grounds have been forms of corporal punishment documented.

As such, the Commission Chairperson Shantha Sinha has written to all chief education secretaries recommending that there should be no gradations while judging corporal punishment and that "small acts" should not be condoned as they lead to gross violations.

NCPCR Chairperson Shantha Sinha said "A slap is as detrimental to the child's right as grievous injury. Indeed there are no gradations since it must be seen that condoning so called 'small acts' actually lead to gross violations," Sinha wrote in the letter.

The Commission has also taken a serious view of the more serious forms of violence against children such as child sexual abuse, torture, and electric shocks.

Sinha said that even acts like slapping and pinching should not be condoned. "Even such small acts should be taken cognisance of because they have an impact on the child's psychology and could lead to more serious forms of punishment," she said.

child rights
© UNICEF/India/2007

Schools have understandably opposed the idea saying that some forms of disciplinary actions do need to be taken, although they don’t have to be violent or aggressive.

Almost 90 per cent of corporal punishment cases in India go unreported because parents think their child's mistake must've been the "provocation", or because they fear for the children.
In April 2001 UNICEF, UNESCO and other comparable organisations endorsed the launch of the Global Initiative to End All Corporal Punishment of Children in Geneva. The Initiative aims to ensure that the recommendations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child and other human rights bodies are accepted and followed.





External Links

Corporal punishment, no panacea
Source: Central Chronicle, India 17 Aug 2007

 Spare rod or be punished, teachers told
 Source:Times of India, India 9 Aug 2007

Cruel intentions
 Afternoon Dispatch & Courier, India 13 Aug 2007

LEADER ARTICLE: Dispel The Darkness
Times of India, India 30 July 2007

Insulting a child also corporal punishment
Hindu, India - 12 Aug 2007

No homework? Pants down
Calcutta Telegraph, India - 17 Aug 2007

A classroom struggle
Hindustan Times, India - 13 Aug 2007

Teachers in two minds about punishments
The Statesman, India - 8 Aug 2007

Doon teachers against corporal punishment, India - 7 Aug 2007

Comm'n for banning even small acts of punishment
Economic Times, India - 10 Aug 2007

Spare the rod...
The Statesman, India - 6 Aug 2007

Child Rights Commission directs states to check corporal ..., India - 10 Aug 2007

NHRC notices to UP, Andhra in corporal punishment cases
Times of India, India - 10 Aug 2007

Teacher brutality touches new low, India - 7 Aug 2007

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