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Is Corporal Punishment Really Needed?

KOLKATA, India, 10 September, 2009 – Child radio reporters on a panel discussion on ‘Shishu Tirtho’ programme voiced their concerns on corporal punishment and sought alternatives from teachers to the practice of corporal punishment.

Shishu Tirtho’ is a children’s programme produced for and by children and is aired on RadioJu, a community radio station of Jadavpur University. 

The programme is part of a special initiative by the UNICEF Office for West Bengal and the School of Media Studies, Jadavpur University, to train children as child radio reporters and provide them with airwaves to express their opinions.

Panelists demand answers from teachers

The child reporters on a panel discussion on ‘corporal punishment’ shared their experiences of corporal punishment in schools.  The child reporters gave instances of children being beaten at schools; their hair pulled for not doing homework and made to kneel in hot sun for long hours.

The child reporters talked about the recent incidents stories like the recent one in Burdawan district where the student had been killed by a duster hurled at him by his teacher. One of the child panelist demanded answers from teachers as to why they were being unpunished.

Rubina (name changed), another young panelist on the programme, questioned whether punishment is really needed and if yes, couldn’t there be an alternative.

Discussing alternatives, one of the child panelists suggested that if a child failed to do four mathematical sums, as part of punishment s/he could be given eight sums to complete. This solution didn’t find acceptability with other panelist who felt that children should be helped to understand where s/he went wrong and how to rectify the mistake.

Why are we being forced to comply to parents wishes?

The children panelists felt that even at home, children are punished by their parents for not complying with their wishes. “If we are good at drawing but dislike formal studies, why are we beaten up by our parents for not doing what they want us only to do,” said a panelist. He questioned whether it was right on the part of the parents.

The children felt that parents should encourage children to manage their time well. ‘We could be given space for our individual interests, like drawing or football, and importance shouldn’t be only given to formal studies,” the panelist added.
 
Parents often apply pressure on their children, expecting them to be the best at everything. This topic also brought forth situations about parents pressuring their children to perform the best. The children argued that this lead to low self-esteem and ultimately, poor performance.

 

 

 

 

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