Dhaka, Mon, Dec 2017

Opinion

Clarion call to close all schools and madrasas for a day

There is enough cruelty, brutality, unkindness, and terrorism in the world without teaching it in the classrooms

31 December 2016,Saturday, 10:35



Sir Frank Peters with Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid MP

Sir Frank Peters with Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid MP

Staff Correspondent

Resolute anti-corporal punishment crusader Sir Frank Peters has appealed to Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid to close all schools and madrasas in January for a day.

He’s requested this, he said, to remind and emphasize to all headmasters, teachers, pupils and parents that corporal punishment in schools is against the law and those who continue its reprehensible practice are lawbreakers working against the development of children and hindering the nation’s advancement.

Sir Frank is suggesting the closure to mark the sixth anniversary of the much applauded Bangladesh High Court ruling of January 13, 2011 that bans corporal punishment in schools and madrasas.

In their ruling, Justice Md. Imman Ali and Md. Sheikh Hasan Arif, declared corporal punishment to be: ‘cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and a clear violation of a child’s fundamental right to life, liberty and freedom’.”

“It’s sad that Bangladesh is heading into its sixth year of its anti corporal punishment ban and there are still children being mercilessly beaten and damaged by law-breaking, unprincipled, ‘teachers’,” said Sir Frank.

“Many pupils and their parents don’t know of their rights by law and many alleged teachers take advantage of this. By closing schools on the sixth anniversary of the ban, will create awareness, get people talking, thinking, asking why the schools are closed and learning that the law is on their side to help prevent their children from cruelty, abuse, and damage,” he said.

“It must be crystal clear, however, there are many good, decent, professional, compassionate teachers in the Bangladesh school system on par with the best to be found anywhere in the world, but there’s an element within the honourable profession that’s giving the profession a bad name and these need to be identified and weeded out for the sake of the children and nation at large,” he added.

Nurul Islam Nahid

The anti corporal punishment activist said Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid has his highest respect for the admirable and essential work he’s performing. “There is no other ministry more difficult, more complex, and fraught with problems that affect the entire nation long into the future, like his,” he said.

“Closing the schools on January 13 would be a befitting and appropriate way to celebrate the anniversary of the corporal punishment ban, but as that date lands on a Friday, essentially it would be ineffective. Thursday (January 12), however, would be a good alternative and then teachers and pupils can enjoy a long weekend holiday to contemplate and address the horrific ill effects of corporal punishment. Normally Thursday is only a half school day anyway, so there would be no major impediment to the education process, but immeasurable benefit to be gained,” he added.

Sir Frank said Corporal punishment is just another pseudonym for child abuse that even gives terrorism a bad name – the victims actually know the terrorists; many are their village neighbours.

The straight-talking human rights activist said corporal punishment is totally wrong in any setting and has no place in modern society. “Countless studies have proved it serves no useful purpose whatsoever, but causes untold damage by creating damaged children, broken adults and fashions an appalling society that nobody approves.

“There is enough cruelty, brutality, unkindness, and terrorism in the world without teaching it in the classrooms. Rabindranath Tagore was 100% right when he said ‘discipline means to teach, not to punish’. That’s a vital lesson most headmasters and teachers in Bangladesh need to learn,” he said.

“The rot must stop and today is a good day to begin.”

 

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