Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust (Blast), Campaign for Popular Education, and Ain O Salish Kendra (ASK) in association with Save the Children organised the workshop titled “Ending corporal punishment in educational institution” in the city’s BIAM auditorium on December 27, 2011. IID facilitated to develop online survey questionnaires at gobeshona.com, managed the survey, analysed the data and prepared the final report.
Speaking at the workshop, Justice Md Iman Ali said that the law can ensure punishment of the offenders but it cannot bring a change in the mindset of the teachers or the guardians. He said that parents should be made aware that punishment cannot improve children’s results.
Dhaka University professor of psychology Mehtab Khanam said that at school children were subjected to not only corporal punishment, but also psychological punishment. She said that psychological punishment could leave a long term impact on children. Mehtab called it ‘alarming’ that both the guardians as well as the children accept corporal and psychological punishment at school. She said that the guardians often justify such punishments saying that they too faced them at school for which they suffered no negative impact. She said that the corporal punishment could continue only because many people wrongly thought that they did well as they were subjected to corporal punishment. ‘We must change the parenting style,’ Mehtab said. She said that in Bangladesh, people follow a negative parenting style.
A sample survey presented by CEO of Institute of Informatics and Development Syeed Ahamed showed that 80% of the children thought that the incidence of corporal punishment had dropped in last two years. Syeed said that the survey also show that a large number of students did not consider corporal punishment bad.
Educationist Muhammad Zafar Iqbal said that parents and teachers should remember that not punishments, but rewards, could get good results out of children. He said that people lacking the common sense that children cannot be punished should not come to teaching profession. ‘When I hear that a teacher beat a child, I don’t consider him or her a teacher but a monster,’ said Zafar Iqbal. Zafar suggested for the introduction of a hotline so that children subjected to corporalpunishment could inform the authorities seeking help and punitive action against the offender.
CAMPE executive director Rasheda K Choudhury said that it was difficult to make so many unlettered guardians aware of the problem but school teachers could and should play an important role in stopping corporal punishment. Primary Education Director General Shyamal Kanti Ghosh said that his office was trying to stop corporal punishment at school by training the teachers. He said that the teachers were under strict instruction not to punish children.
Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid said that things were changing and corporal punishment at school was on the decline as his ministry took effective steps. ‘We have to change the mind set of the teachers and the guardians for completely stopping corporal punishment at school. Government is working to change their mind set,’ he said.