HYDERABAD: To make the education system student-friendly, the National Commission for Protection of Child rights (NCPCR) released a set of guidelines to eliminate corporal punishment on its foundation day on Monday. The ‘Guidelines for eliminating corporal punishment in schools’ was formulated after a study conducted by the organization in 2009-10. “The Ministry of Human resource Development has been given a copy of the recommendations and NCPCR will inform the state governments of the same. It is for the states to formulate rules for incorporation into their educational system,” said chairperson of NCPCR Professor Shanta Sinha. But within a day, the new guidelines attracted opposite comments from teachers and parents. The guidelines, which take into account physical forms of punishment as well as mental harassment and discriminatory behavior, state that teachers have to give a written undertaking stating they will not indulge in these activities. “The guidelines are likely to have a positive impact on school education but the provision for having to submit a written undertaking can adversely impact the number of applicants for teachers’ posts. Many teachers are in the profession as a last resort and are not professional enough to handle all situations which might arise in disciplining students. There have been incidents when parents have threatened to file false complaints of corporal punishment against teachers and school managements. Such people can take undue advantage of the guidelines,” fears Sangeetha Varma, general secretary of Hyderabad District Recognised Schools’ Association and principal of Richmond’s High School, Kamlapuri.
She further said that if teachers were susceptible to persecution for every act of discipline, the academic activity is likely to suffer.
The NCPCR guidelines also suggest that each school should set up a Corporal Punishment Monitoring Cell (CPMC) to hear grievances related to corporal punishment as well as instances of sexual harassment. The guidelines state that the CPMC can be a sub-committee under the school management committee which addresses these issues. “It will not be easy for schools to implement it in the beginning but this being a progressive age, it is important to implement it. Children are the same in all parts of the world but not every country takes a lenient view of corporal punishment as India does. It is a matter of time before it can be incorporated across the schools but the impact will be positive,” says Ateeq Siddiqui, general secretary of the Greater Hyderabad Schools’ Parents Association. Mother of 9 year-old Hiranmayi, M Shyamala observes, “As parents, we punish our children and so do teachers. But there is a line between discipline and torture.
As a teacher myself, the measure to implement these guidelines will only bring a positive environment to the classroom.”