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School CP - Sep 2003

Corpun file 11931

Mid-day, Mumbai (Bombay), 5 September 2003

Corporal punishment is out: Schools

By Linda Choudhury-Mahajan


On Aug 23, Sneha Gamre, a student of BPM High School, Khar, was hit by her teacher Malti Bedse (metro Aug 29-Sept 5). However, other schools in Bandra say they have banned corporal punishment since long. School authorities, though, admit that children need to be disciplined.

"Hitting is banned in our school. We usually don't have a problem with kids being excessively naughty as we are a girls' school, but if we come across a problem child, we call the parents, speak to the child and recommend that she speak to the counsellor," says Sr Anne Jose, principal of Durello Convent, off Turner Road.

"We don't use corporal punishment, but it can get difficult for teachers who have to manage a class of 70 or 80 students. At such times, a little whack or a light tap on the hand is not out of line. In fact, we have parents asking us to hit their children to discipline them," says Zilma Ranger, principal of St Aloysius School on Chapel Road. "If there is an extreme case of bad behaviour, we suspend students and ask them not to come to school till their parents meet us," she adds.

Fr Rodney Esperance, administrative head, St Andrew's High School on St Dominic's Road, says, "We do not encourage beating. Under the school code only the headmistresses and headmasters can resort to corporal punishment and that too in extreme cases." Fr Laurie Ferrao, principal of St Stanislaus, says he reprimanded a teacher in the past for hitting a child. "She apologised to the student and the matter was cleared," he reveals. Fr Rodney adds, "We prefer talking to the student, teacher and parents. We also get a counsellor to speak to both the students and parents on child abuse."

Besides calling the parents, another ploy that seems to work is penance study. "The boys have to give up part of their holiday and do excess homework. When students have to make a sacrifice, it works," says Fr Laurie Ferrao, principal of St Stanislaus.

Many teachers find that a problem child's behaviour stems from the house. "We believe in counselling students and involve their parents too in the session," says Maria D'Souza, a teacher at St Stanislaus High School, Hill Road. D'Souza says she is also not averse to visiting the student at home. "I have visited students' homes and spoken to their friends as it helps discover their background. Sometimes there's a problem at home which expresses itself in school," she points out.

According to her, corporal punishment is a short-term solution that may scar the student's mind.

'60% of teachers still use corporal or verbal punishments'

According to Jayant Jain, president of the Forum for Fairness in Education, corporal and verbal punishment continues in many schools despite the ban. "About 60 per cent of the teachers still use corporal or verbal forms of punishment but these cases go unreported.


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Corpun file 11997
NewIndPress, Chennai (Madras), 11 September 2003


Teachers warned against corporal punishment

SHRC member S Sambandham addressing an interactive programme on corporal punishment in schools in the city on Wednesday. SHRC Inspector General of Police Sarabjit Singh (left) and Director of Matriculation Schools Narayanasamy are also seen.

CHENNAI: Director of Matriculation Schools, Narayanasamy on Wednesday warned that severe action would be taken against teachers who inflicted corporal punishment on students.

"It is not enough that teachers excel in teaching alone, they must also know how to handle students," Narayanasamy said at an interactive programme with principals of matriculation schools in the city and officials of the State Education Department on the 'Need to avoid corporal punishment in schools'. The programme was organised by the State Human Rights Commission (SHRC).

Contending that teachers had no right to inflict corporal punishments on students, he said, "They must realise that the purpose of teaching is not merely to make students pass in the examinations, but also to inculcate right values and confidence in them to face the future."

Students are a sensitive and vulnerable section in society and teachers should make them aware of social issues. "While, in some cases, teachers punish students out of their anxiety to make them successful in the examinations, in others, the management's practice of offering incentives and increments to teachers who provide maximum results makes them apply tremendous pressure on students," Narayanasamy said.

SHRC member S Sambandham said the Commission had, in the recent past, received many complaints on corporal punishments. "While in many cases, corporal punishments cause physical injury and mental agony to students and also drive them to commit suicide, in some other cases, it would lead them to discontinue their studies."

As per Section 51 of the Tamil Nadu Educational Rules, corporal punishment should not be inflicted except in case of moral delinquency, and even then it should be limited to six blows on the hand and it should be done only under the supervision of the headmaster, he said. Sambandham would send his recommendations on the issue to the government after consultations.

Matriculation school principals, who took part in the session, wanted the student teacher ratio to be maintained at a reasonable level and also the redesigning of the syllabus.

"The issue is a triangle involving students, parents and teachers," they pointed out and said parents should also realise that education should not be result-oriented alone, but should help in personality development of their children.

Over 65 matriculation school principals participated in the programme. The SHRC will organise another interactive programme on the issue on Thursday for principals of government-aided schools.

Corpun file 12051

Mid-day, Mumbai (Bombay), 19 September 2003

Minor spanking is OK, say Vashi schools

By Rajendra Aklekar

No school in Navi Mumbai officially endorses corporal punishment as a way of dealing with naughty students. Most educational institutions manage students through a strict discipline and obedience regimen.

Though occasionally teachers do resort to minor spanking, officially they are not supposed to hit the students. 

"Tell me who does it today? None of the schools in Navi Mumbai resort to corporal punishment. But sometimes minor spanking is necessary to point out to the student that he is wrong," says Alice Vaz, headmistress of Ryan International School, Kharghar.

Even parents admit that the parent-teacher associations (PTAs) across schools deal with issues such as high fee structure, school equipment, uniforms but corporal punishment is not an issue in Navi Mumbai. "It is a non-issue here," says Aniruddha Thakur, parent of a student in a Vashi school.

Also, most parents admit it is necessary and important to maintain discipline.

"There should be someone or something the naughty kids are afraid of. That's where punishments come in," says Devaki Vishwanathan, another parent. Vishwanathan leaves it to the teachers to maintain a proper balance between punishment and discipline.

AK Singh, principal of the Sushiladevi Deshmukh High School in Navi Mumbai, says his school resorts to hitting as the last option.

"We avoid corporal punishments. But sometimes naughty children learn and respond better when we instil a sense of discipline by a little spanking," says Singh. Singh was honoured as a model teacher by the Maharashtra minister of education Amrish Patel on Sept 5.  "Some punishment or penalty is required," insists Singh.

Despite an official policy against hitting students, there have been stray cases in Navi Mumbai about teachers beating their students. A month ago, a parent from a school in Airoli filed a police case against the school and one of the teachers for allegedly hitting a student.

Thirteen-year-old Priyanka Ozarde, a Class 7 student of Radhikabai Meghe High School, was allegedly thrashed by her teacher for stretching her break and coming late to class. Dr Anil Oazarde, Priyanka's father and an active PTA leader, filed a police case.

"The school had been targeting my daughter because I am an active PTA member," says Dr Oazarde.

The school's principal, G Kanthi Prasad, however, maintains that her school does not allow corporal punishment and the staff has been instructed accordingly. "There have been stray cases but the best people to speak on the issue would be the management," she adds.

But by and large, most schools in Navi Mumbai opt for getting in touch with parents of a naughty child to tackle the issue or refer the student to the school counsellor.

For example, says a teacher from Nerul School, "Each student needs special attention and we cannot generalise them."

In Priyanka's case, the police say the father is taking the issue a little too far as he has grievances against the school.

"Sometimes the PTAs go overboard and are too aggressive. This can be harmful. But no school would opt for punishing its students by beating them up," adds Vaz.

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