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School CP - June 2003
Arab News, Riyadh/Jeddah/Dhahran, 30 June 2003
From the Local Press
Yes to Corporal Punishment
Muhammad Ibn Omair
According to a survey on corporal punishment in schools published recently, 59.5 percent of those polled were in favor of it while 38.5 percent said they were against it. The education authorities in the Kingdom have banned it and it has not been allowed in our schools for several years now. The ban continues to generate debate among teachers and parents alike.
Talk to school administrators and teachers and they will tell you our schools are becoming more ungovernable, that teachers no longer receive the respect and appreciation they enjoyed in the past and that bad behavior and lack of discipline are common among students.
Because the ban is of great concern since it affects the present as well as future generations, we need to discuss it in a sensible and logical manner, identify the advantages and disadvantages and decide whether to continue the ban or lift it.
Allowing corporal punishment may prove necessary and useful because in many cases violators need to be punished, a fact established by psychologists who see punishment as a means of both deterrence and correction.
It remains to decide how corporal punishment should be applied though all are agreed that it should not cause physical or psychological injury. Some students are not deterred by such punishments as deducting marks or verbal and written warnings because they don't appreciate the goal behind applying such lenient measures. If corporal punishment is to be applied, it should be limited to serious breaches of school regulations.
Schools are intended to educate and guide by instilling in students good manners and values. Those who do not care for values and manners should be held accountable for their misconduct. At the same time, punishing students with low marks may not be the right thing because such punishment may prove ineffective given the fact that the ability to comprehend and produce varies from student to student. Applying reason as well as giving advice and encouragement could prove more useful in such cases.
We must admit that there will always be teachers who abuse their power and who may resort to unnecessary or excessive punishment even if this is against regulations. With the intervention of the Ministry of Education through the introduction of guidelines and some kind of control of corporal punishment in our schools, the punishment could prove effective, especially when the issue at stake is morality and general behavior.
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