HYDERABAD: Every time, a child getting thrashed by a school teacher mercilessly comes to light, everyone, including officials concerned, stands up to raise their voice vowing to stop such heinous acts made in the cloak of ‘education’ in future. However, it only raises its ugly head with renewed vigour, the next time, without a change in the state of affairs.
The death of Ramavath Chandu, a Class I student in Nalgonda, after being slapped by his teacher and falling off the bench leading to a head injury and resulting in his death later, brings the issue into focus once again.
Although a teacher is made a ‘villain’ in incidents of corporal punishments, child rights’ activists contend that the teacher is only a part of larger malaise that ‘justifies’ punishment of children. “Not even one parent questions about his or her children being slapped by a teacher.
In fact, they give licence to teachers to punish their child to improve their under performing ward. This is very much incorporated into education system,” laments educationist and child rights’ activist Ch Murali Mohan. While admitting that a death of a student at the hands of a teacher is unpalatable, he says the teacher is also a victim of the lacunae that exists in the system.
“There is no recruitment drive every year to fill up teaching posts’ vacancies. If a teacher has to manage (for example) more than hundred students from five different classes at the same time, there is every possibility that he/she loses his cool,” he explains. There are 23,000 vacancies and 28,000 teaching staff vacancies in Telangana and AP respectively. “In order to divert the issue from lack of enough teachers, the education department has started “Multi-grade teaching” as an innovative practice where students of different classes are taught by same teacher”.
Meanwhile, Dr Mamata Raghuveer, member of the State Commission for Protection of Child Rights, admits that the incidence of corporal punishment is “alarmingly” on the rise. “It is absolutely on the rise. In the last five months, post formation of Telangana state, 45 corporal punishment cases have been taken by the commission. Considering the gravity of the case, the commission will surely take up cases suo motu,” she says while pressing for filling up teachers’ vacancies.
Nalgonda district education officer S Vishwantha Rao said, “I have initiated a departmental enquiry and asked mandal and deputy education officials concerned to submit a report in two weeks.”