The violence against children in schools across the nation has become a routine and has got finely woven into the fabric of our society. According to a recent survey in schools across the country, there are at least five beatings per child per class excluding other moderate forms of punishment. With the Supreme Court passing a directive to abolish corporal punishments in schools on one hand and waning discipline amongst the youth on the other, the time has come to deliberate on the innards of "Corporal Punishment" as a means of discipline.
To facilitate this vital discussion, Amity Institute of Education (AIE), Saket organized a Principals' Roundtable Meet on "Elimination of Corporal Punishment: Bane or Boon in the Garb of Human Rights" at Amity Institute of Education, Saket.
Dr. Ranjana Bhatia- Director, Amity Institute of Education(SAKET) welcomed the distinguished gathering and presented a bird's eye- view of the Roundtable Table Meet.
Speaking against the infliction of corporal punishment upon students, the Chief Guest Ms. Chitralekha Gurumurthy -Academic Director, C.B.S.E. said that no violence against children is justifiable. Corporal Punishment does not correct but suppresses undesirable behavior. She opined that often over expectations of teachers result in corporal punishments. Discipline is necessary but discipline is not equivalent to punishment. She rather suggested that the curricula for the aspiring teachers need continuous and comprehensive evaluation. Corporal Punishment should be completely wiped off from the system and teaching should be made joyful experience for teachers as well as students.
Taking a clue from Ms. Chitralekha Gurumurthy, Prof A.K Sharma, Former Director -NCERT said that corporal punishment should be completely banned as directed by UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and National Policy on Childern (1974). Even verbal violence should not be permitted in schools. Counselors should be involved to understand a child's psychology and to deal with his misdemeanor.
Dr (Mrs.) Amita Chauhan-Chairperson, Amity International Schools expressed her concern at the increasing brutal cases of violence against school children, which often go unreported. She opined that corporal punishment adversely affects a student's self-image and contributes to disruptive and violent behavior. She suggested constraint by a school official can be used in a limited number of carefully selected circumstances to protect fellow students and staff from physical injury, to disarm a student or to prevent property damage.
The discussion was a mixed bag of reactions. Ms. Madhu Suri from Jagat Convent Sr. Sec. School, Paschim Vihar, Mr. S. S Minhas from from Guru Harkrishan Public School and Ms. Madhumita Sen from Tagore International School, Vasant Vihar supported mild Corporal Punishment when rules and regulations are not followed by students. Ms. Madhumita Sen opined that a list of Do’s and Don’ts should be there in every classroom along with resultant punishments, so that children should be aware of what they are expected to do and what to refrain from. And even if they indulge in misdemeanor, then they themselves should be held responsible and accordingly punished. Children should take the onus of whatever they do. Corroborating the use Corporal Punishment in schools, Mr. Minhas said that just like a gardener taking care of a plant has to prune it and shape it similarly a teacher sometimes has to be stern with the students for their benefit.
Speaking strictly against the use of Corporal Punishment in schools, Ms. Meenu Goswami from KR Mangalam World School, GK said that mindset of people has to be changed. The saying “spare the rod and spoil the child” is no longer relevant. Talking about the consequences of inflicting Corporal Punishment on children, she said that Corporal Punishment perpetuates a cycle