Dhaka, Wed, Jun 2018


Oman bans corporal punishment

26 October 2016,Wednesday, 09:35

Sir Frank Peters

Oman has joined the holy alliance of sane and civilised nations to ban corporal punishment to children in its schools.

The Sultanate of Oman Directorate of Education this week issued a circular to all education institutions banning all types of corporal punishment with immediate effect. The ministry said it was forced to make its position clear following a series of complaints from parents.

The Ministry said under no circumstances would corporal punishment be accepted or tolerated by the authorities.

According to Unicef, Violent discipline can take two forms – physical (or corporal) punishment and psychological aggression; both types are violations of children’s rights. Physical discipline and psychological aggression tend to overlap and frequently occur together, exacerbating the short and long-term harm they inflict. The consequences of violent discipline range from immediate effects to long-term damage that children carry well into adulthood. Moreover, research findings suggest that even mild forms of physical discipline are harmful to children.

In 2011, Bangladesh issued a similar edict to that of Oman; outlawing the senseless, ineffective and damaging practice of corporal punishment, but it has yet to take full effect.

Supreme court justices Md. Imman Ali and Md. Sheikh Hasan Arif declared it at the time to be “cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and a clear violation of a child’s fundamental right to life, liberty and freedom”.Unfortunately, there are still lawbreakers within the noble teaching profession, causing pain and suffering and, possibly, long-term damage to the very people they should be giving protection, and they need to be dismissed.

Where there’s corporal punishment there’s always the risk of damage to a child. In Laxmipur recently a teacher mercilessly beat Yeasin Arafat Jibon, 18, a student of class IX at Ramganj MU Government School. It’s reported that during an examination, assistant teacher of the school, Monir Hossen Mollah, noticed Yeasin was talking to another examinee. The ‘teacher’ allegedly pulled Yeasin by his ear and later beat him mercilessly leaving him severely injured.

The madness continues unabated. In one of the most shocking incidents of corporal punishment in recent times, 11 students of classes IV and V in the Panchayat Union Siddle school at Pali near Ulundurpet, had a nightmarish experience when their ‘teacher’ (S Vaijayanthi Mala, 50), a native of Pali, lit camphor on their feet to ‘discipline’ them.That’s horrific enough, but what about poor Sujit Munda (8) a class one student of Chanho in Ranchi district, India, who was recently beaten to death with a piece of firewood by his school headmaster for failing to finish his homework?

Then there’s Fatahuddin Afzal, a student at Suffa Middle Public School. This week he fell unconscious after a ‘teacher’ brutally beat him with a stick for not doing his homework. He recovered in hospital hours later vowing that he would never return to school – and who could blame him?

Age offers no protection. A heartless female ‘teacher’ was arrested this week for severely beating a four-year-old student reportedly for not doing his homework. The police took action after his parents and local residents, protested the cruelty by blocking nearby roads, demanding legal action against the ‘teacher’. Incredible! – But where there’s corporal punishment you can expect the unexpected, maiming and death. Corporal punishment to children must stop.

The government of Oman deserves a pat on the back for offering protecting to its most vulnerable citizens.

Sir Frank Peters is a former newspaper and magazine publisher and editor and a foreign friend of Bangladesh.


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