Experts discuss corporal punishment in schools

Children have always been perceived as a symbol of purity and innocence. When such is the case, why is it that two out of every three children are subjected to physical violence in this country? Alarming but true, many go through not only physical but sexual and psychological abuse too.

Highlighting these issues of concern, two NGOs – Childhood Enhancement through Training and Action (CHETNA) and Plan India – organised an event, Learn Without Fear (LWF) at New Delhi's Alliance Franchise centre the other day. LWF is a global campaign with a vision to make a world where children can go to school in safety and expect a quality experience without fear or threats of violence.

Eminent panellists addressed the issue of violence on children at length at the event. Among them were senior psychiatrist Dr. Jitendra Nagpal, Dr. Bharti Sharma, master trainer, Delhi Police on JJ System & children, members of National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) and Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR). The talked about how physical abuse is a common feature in most schools. It came up in the deliberations that corporal punishment, in spite of being banned by the Delhi High Court, is still administered on children.

The panellists also stressed the point that mental harassment is more dangerous than physical violence as it affects children emotionally and by the time it gets detected, the child loses his self-confidence. The panellists also quoted statistics that 83.12 per cent of abuses inflicted on the children are physical abuses, and 50 per cent of physical abuse is on children aged between 5-12 years. Seventy per cent of the culprits are the school authorities who spank and torture children in various ways.

The panellists also emphasised the importance of the Juvenile Justice Act and how awareness about its provisions needs to be propagated to children so that they become aware of their rights. It came up in the discussion that NCPCR, DCPCR and Delhi Police are doing yeoman service in this direction.

The event also featured a dance performance and a play put up by some tiny tots. Their exuberance was appreciated by one and all.

The event ended on an optimistic note with those assembled expressing their determination to put an end to violence inflicted on little ones.