A student of class VIII is reportedly losing his eye sight after being allegedly beaten up by his school teacher. The incident took place on 21Ist August 2010 at ‘Kharagpur’ in ‘west Midnapur’ (India). Akash Banerjee a class VIII th student of “Hijli High school” was beaten up badly by his teacher because he disobeyed his teacher who asked him to stand on the playground holding his ears. The incident occurred during the second period when science teacher ‘Amitava Midhya’ asked 3 questions to Akash , but Akash failed to answer one of the three questions and that’s why the teacher asked him to stand on the playground holding his ears. According to one of his classmates, Akash requested his teacher not to send him to field and instead of that he was ready to stand inside the classroom. But the teacher was not ready to listen Akash and out of anger started beating him. He thrashed Akash for about 10 minutes. Akash found his eyes red and swollen when he reached home and was unable to bear the pain. He then told his parents about the incident. His father Tapas took him to a hospital where it was revealed that he had sustained serious injuries in both of his eyes. Tapas informed the incident to the school headmaster and lodged a complaint with the ‘Kharagpur’ police on 30th August 2010. The school headmaster has set up a five member committee to enquire into the matter.
The supreme court of India in 2001 has banned corporal punishment in schools but the practice is still rampant. Corporal punishment has become a common feature in Indian schools. Many painful stories of corporal punishment have been reported from various schools in India in the recent years. A similar incident took place recently in the ‘La Martiniere school for boys’ in Kolkata , where a class VIII student ‘Rouvanjit’ committed suicide after he was caned by the principal and hauled up again after an incident involving bursting of crackers.
According to “Wikipedia” – “School corporal punishment covers official punishments of school students for misbehavior that involve striking the student a given number of times in a generally methodical and premeditated ceremony. The punishment is usually administered either across the buttocks or on the hands, with an implement specially kept for the purpose such as a rattan cane, wooden paddle, or leather strap. Less commonly, it could also include spanking or smacking the student in a deliberate manner on a specific part of the body with the open hand, especially at the elementary school level.”
Thus in short corporal punishment means any form of physical punishments.
Corporal punishment is very destructive in nature. Such kind of punishment can physically impair a student for his whole life. It may also affect psychologically and disturb the mental balance of student. The practice of corporal punishment can be traced back to the medieval periods. Corporal punishment is in fact another form of physical violence and does not deserve a place in this modern and civilized society.
In India there is still no national law which deals with corporal punishment. The National policy on education just mentions that corporal punishment is not permissible. Section 17 of the Right to education Act states that “no child shall be subjected to physical punishment and mental harassment”. However the Ministry of HRD on 16th June 2010 has decided to frame new comprehensive guidelines on what constitutes corporal punishment. The guidelines will examine the means to take penal action against such schools and will also provide for compensation to affected students. Presently the incidents of corporal punishment can also be charged under sections of ‘hurt’ and ‘grievous hurt’ of Indian penal code.
The practice of corporal punishment has recently been banned in most of the European countries and also in Canada, Japan, South Africa, New Zealand and many other countries. However in some Asian and African countries corporal punishment has been theoretically banned but is still used in practice.
In spite of all these legal transformation towards banning of corporal punishment, there are still supporters of corporal punishment. They argue that the alternative disciplinary punishments are time consuming and also sometimes debar the student from attending classes which is an academic loss. But the current public opinion seems to be against the practice corporal punishment. A fear free and dignified environment will certainly ensure the students to learn perfectly and this is possible if corporal punishment in schools is totally abolished.
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