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School CP - April 2004

Corpun file 13306

China Post, Taipei, 2 April 2004

Spanking goes on in schools despite law

Taipei, The China Post Staff

Corporal punishment, forbidden by the Ministry of Education, goes on in elementary and junior high schools across Taiwan, according to a survey released by the Humanistic Education Foundation yesterday.

Altogether 1,311 students in 62 junior high schools and 159 primary schools were polled.

Spanking and other forms of corporal punishment were reported in nine out of every ten schools surveyed.

Altogether 93.5 percent of the schools visited reported corporal punishment, the survey shows.

A 70 percent majority of students have been given corporal punishment so far in the current school year.

The foundation defines corporal punishment as "punishment that causes physical pain on the body or psychological pain through bodily control."

Aside from spanking, forms of corporal punishment as defined by the foundation include a painful posture imposed on students, an increase of schoolwork, labor service, mutual slappings, fining, tagging, shaven heads and ridiculings in public.

By far, spanking is the most popular form of corporal punishment, the study indicates. A total of 72 percent of the respondents said they saw teachers spank students.

Only 11 percent said they never saw their teachers mete out any corporal punishment.

Half of the causes for corporal punishment was disobedience. Other causes include poor schoolwork (35 percent) and group punishment (20 percent).

About 14 percent of the respondents said teachers demanded that their parents agree to corporal punishment.

One third of the respondents, 33 percent, said they ought to be punished for disobedience.

Another 29 percent said they were afraid of corporal punishment. Still another 20 percent want to avenge themselves on the teachers. Only 13 percent believe teachers punished them to give vent to their frustration. Asked if they would spank their students when they became teachers, 65 percent of the respondents replied they would.

"That indicates," a foundation spokesman said, "they would continue the tradition of not sparing the rod to spoil the child."

He urged the Ministry of Education to outlaw corporal punishment. "We need legislation to outlaw it once and for all," he said.

The Ministry of Education said the law on teaching now requires school authorities to deal with corporal punishment.

"The schools, parents and students have to agree on a set of disciplinary regulations, which should be satisfactory to all," said Ho Chin-tsai, a Ministry of Education student discipline specialist.

But, Ho added, the Ministry of Education is opposed to any form of corporal punishment.

Copyright 2000 The China Post. All rights reserved.

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