HYDERABAD: The revised definition of corporal punishment looks beyond the use of rod or other physical forms of punishment.
The ambit of corporal punishment includes mental harassment and discrimination, a major reason for school-dropouts every year.
According to a National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) survey, over 80 per cent children in the country face humiliation at the hands of teachers.
Not surprisingly, Andhra Pradesh is among the top three states where students are routinely humiliated at school.
The education hub in the state, Hyderabad, presents a grim picture with teachers claiming that a cane always comes in handy.
The survey was conducted across seven states.
“We took feedback from schools run by private managements as well as those receiving government and state government funding.
Though the survey was conducted for children from 1st standard to 11th standard, a large sample comprised students belonging to 4th and 5th standard, most-liable to dropout.
It is an alarming report,” said Professor Shanta Sinha, chairperson of NCPCR.
The organization will issue a set of guidelines on Monday for dealing with corporal punishment.
Being humiliated by teachers in front of peers adversely impacts the growth of children, observe child psychologists.
“It is not that the children being scolded are slow.
Even intelligent children can be hyperactive and gestures such as frowning or verbally scolding the child can result in adverse behavior,” observes Jayanti Sunder Rajan, specialist in child psychology.
She advises teachers not to display their anger in public but address the issue on a personal level.
“Making a child stand out of the queue for wearing the wrong uniform or scolding them in class for poor handwriting has a serious impact.
Often the children react badly and show aggression or take drastic steps.
It is a vicious cycle which can be broken if the students are not embarrassed in front of their classmates,” adds the psychologist who feels every school should have a psychologist who is a part of the non-teaching staff to bridge the gap between students and management.
The old-school beliefs have to make way for new school practices to drive home the point firmly.
But teachers express their helplessness in handling ‘problem children.’ “If we are not allowed to scold the child, how are we to deal with a class strength of 50? The abolition of corporal punishment is not wrong but there has to be some means of disciplining the class!” says S Rathnamani, a mathematics teacher at a government school.