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www.corpun.com   :  Archive   :  2003   :  IN Schools Jul 2003

-- THE ARCHIVE --


INDIA

School CP - July 2003




NewIndPress, Chennai, 2 July 2003

Southern News - Tamil-Nadu

People's Union demands action against Velammal School

CHENNAI: The People's Union for Civil Liberties of Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry, has called for stringent action against the management of Velammal School and the teachers responsible for the incident which led to Abhinav's death and for the beating of other students in their fact finding report on the suicide and conditions in the school.

In addition to paying suitable compensation to Ramu's family, the report also calls for investigations into the suicide of Thoufeeq, a student of the same school, in December 2001.

According to V Geetha, an activist and PUCL member, the objectives of the fact-finding committee was to determine if Ramu's death was caused by any external factors 'besides bringing into light the conditions in the Velammal Matriculation School'. "Our enquiries have shown that Ramu's death was not due to family problems or any external causes but the school was solely responsible for it," she said.

The report also recommends that the 'academicians and educationists be involved in the management of schools and this be made a pre-requisite for licensing schools and their renewals'.

"The Velammal Trust has chosen to appoint family members as Chairman, Director, Correspondent and Secretary and this has contributed to the general lack of professionalism and understanding in the school management."

"The Correspondent and the higher management, instead of checking the teachers and preventing abusive practices, have themselves engaged in corporal punishment of students," she added.

"The Management places extreme pressure on the teachers to bring out good results, and the teachers in turn use all forms of pressure, including torture," said Sheelu of the Tamil Nadu Women's Collective and a member of the fact finding team. "The very structure of the school involves violence against students. Punishment is so frequent that it has essentially become a form of torture," she added. Members of the fact finding team told the Press that the chairman of the Velammal Matriculation School declined to meet them after having given them an appointment. "We waited for over an hour and left," said T S S Mani a PUCL member.

The team members also emphasised that the aim of the report was to bring about a change in the education system as a whole. "We are not targeting Velammal alone since we know corporal punishment exists in most schools. We want to see a long-term effort at reforming the system to ensure that it is learning oriented rather than performance oriented," said Geetha.

The team compiled the report after meeting present and former students from Velammal Matriculation School and their parents and those of Ramu and Thoufeeq, the Deputy Commissioner of Police, Anna Nagar, who is investigating the case and Dr. C Manohar the postmortem examiner.

The report has been submitted to the Education Minister, the United Nation High Commission for Human Rights, the State and the National Human Rights Commissions and the Directorate of School Education. People's Union demands action against Velammal School CHENNAI: The People's Union for Civil Liberties of Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry, has called for stringent action against the management of Velammal School and the teachers responsible for the incident which led to Abhinav's death and for the beating of other students in their fact finding report on the suicide and conditions in the school.

In addition to paying suitable compensation to Ramu's family, the report also calls for investigations into the suicide of Thoufeeq, a student of the same school, in December 2001.

According to V Geetha, an activist and PUCL member, the objectives of the fact-finding committee was to determine if Ramu's death was caused by any external factors 'besides bringing into light the conditions in the Velammal Matriculation School'. "Our enquiries have shown that Ramu's death was not due to family problems or any external causes but the school was solely responsible for it," she said.

The report also recommends that the 'academicians and educationists be involved in the management of schools and this be made a pre-requisite for licensing schools and their renewals'.

"The Velammal Trust has chosen to appoint family members as Chairman, Director, Correspondent and Secretary and this has contributed to the general lack of professionalism and understanding in the school management."

"The Correspondent and the higher management, instead of checking the teachers and preventing abusive practices, have themselves engaged in corporal punishment of students," she added.

"The Management places extreme pressure on the teachers to bring out good results, and the teachers in turn use all forms of pressure, including torture," said Sheelu of the Tamil Nadu Women's Collective and a member of the fact finding team. "The very structure of the school involves violence against students. Punishment is so frequent that it has essentially become a form of torture," she added. Members of the fact finding team told the Press that the chairman of the Velammal Matriculation School declined to meet them after having given them an appointment. "We waited for over an hour and left," said T S S Mani a PUCL member.

The team members also emphasised that the aim of the report was to bring about a change in the education system as a whole. "We are not targeting Velammal alone since we know corporal punishment exists in most schools. We want to see a long-term effort at reforming the system to ensure that it is learning oriented rather than performance oriented," said Geetha.

The team compiled the report after meeting present and former students from Velammal Matriculation School and their parents and those of Ramu and Thoufeeq, the Deputy Commissioner of Police, Anna Nagar, who is investigating the case and Dr. C Manohar the postmortem examiner.

The report has been submitted to the Education Minister, the United Nation High Commission for Human Rights, the State and the National Human Rights Commissions and the Directorate of School Education.



The Statesman, Calcutta, 3 July 2003

Editorial

Spare the rod

It took the hanging of a X Standard student of a private school in Chennai to scrap corporal punishment. That corporal punishment in one form or another has been around in schools for centuries is common knowledge. It has been an accepted disciplinary method in homes as well as schools. The 16-year-old by was allegedly hit on his cheek by one of his teachers in such a way that it left a tell-tale mark. Ashamed to face his fellow-students, the boy committed suicide. The Convention on Rights of the Child, adopted by the UN General Assembly to which India was a party, asks governments to take all measures to ensure that school discipline is maintained in a manner consistent with the child's human dignity, but Tamil Nadu Education Rules 51 authorised corporal punishment. A committee set up by the state government to revise the outdated rules has recommended that every child be given an opportunity to learn from error of his/her ways through corrective measures. "The school shall not cause mental and physical pain to the child", it said.

Along with revising Education Rules, government should also review the entire education system. Dominated by grades and competition, students are forced to cram for examinations. Not only schools, even some colleges in Tamil Nadu indulge in corporal punishment. Teaching is not exactly the best paid profession in the country. Often it attracts people who fail to find other jobs and they tend to take out their frustrations on hapless students. Coeducation is frowned upon in higher secondary schools. Researchers say rigid separation of sexes is not the best way to develop personality. It is about time government finds better, more effective ways of charting students' progress.



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