CUTTACK: Despite the State Government imposing a ban on corporal punishment in 2004, ghosts from the past continue to haunt the students with teachers often subjecting them to harsh treatments.
�The hospitalisation of 14-year-old Harapriya Kanhar who was allegedly forced to do 200 sit-ups by her teacher at the Sripada High School, Bisipada, in Kandhamal district recently, has stirred a statewide furore with demands for strict enforcement of the prohibition on corporal punishment.
�The Orissa State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (OSCPCR) has been moved to take immediate action to ensure classrooms free of corporal punishment. Submitting a memorandum to the Commission, the city-based Committee for Legal Aid to the Poor (CLAP) has called for directions to the School and Mass Education Department to define various types of corporal punishment and declaration of all schools as corporal punishment-free zones.
�The Government ban on corporal punishment in schools is seldom followed by teachers who are not aware of what kind of punishments are to be avoided. Absence of orientation programmes for the teachers to sensitise them on the issue is one of the major reasons for its persistence.
�“Corporal punishment interferes with a child’s realisation of fundamental right to education. Brutal disciplinary processes hamper psychological growth of a child and prove counterproductive leading to anti-social behaviour in children,” CLAP Executive Director Pramoda Acharya said.
�OSCPCR should direct SCERT and other teacher education bodies to incorporate the impact of corporal punishment on the learning psychology of children in their training curriculum for teachers. The Commission has also been urged to pursue the School and Mass Education Department to take specific actions to ensure complete abolition of the practice.
�An independent enquiry should also be conducted into the case of Harapriya and the Government should bear the cost of her treatment, Acharya contended.