Dhaka, Bangladesh
Punishing children

Punishing children

By Rukhsana Shah

IN 2006, Pakistan made a commitment to abolish corporal punishment. In the last 11 years, a number of laws on the subject have been passed, but corporal punishment continues to be practised. Videos showing young children being brutally beaten up and injured by teachers are aired frequently on social media, without apparent action taken by the government against the perpetrators. Corporal punishment is pervasive in Pakistan because of cultural acceptance of a traditional and authoritarian style of parenting. Research conducted by Unicef in 2014 found that 81 per cent of children in Punjab and Sindh had experienced violent disciplining in the month prior to the survey. According to the Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child, violence is the key reason for the unacceptably high number of dropouts from school, rendering useless any government efforts to increase enrolment in primary and secondary schools. A study conducted by Alif Ailaan and the Society for the Advancement of Education found that 70pc of school teachers surveyed were in favour of corporal punishment for students. Sadism tendencies apart, they were overburdened with extracurricular duties and absenteeism of colleagues. Many parents also believe that corporal punishment is useful, unaware that violence inculcates fear, resentment, self-pity, and loss of self-esteem, and results in defiance, aggression, even crime. Corporal punishment is pervasive because of cultural acceptance. In Balochistan, KP and the Islamabad Capital Territory, legislation relating to corporal punishment either does not prohibit it or limits it to government schools only. The Sindh Prohibition of Corporal Punishment Act, promulgated in 2017 forbids corporal punishment and humiliating treatment of children under 18 years of age “in workplaces, in schools and other educational institutions including formal, non-formal, and religious, both public and private, in child care institutions including foster care, rehabilitation centres and any other alternative care settings, both public and private, and in the juvenile justice system”. (To be continued)

Share |