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Updated: March 30, 2014 10:38 IST

Beatings, abuse still rampant in government schools: survey

Damini Nath
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Children studying in a slum near Asaf Ali Road in New Delhi on Saturday. Photo: Monica Tiwari.
The Hindu Children studying in a slum near Asaf Ali Road in New Delhi on Saturday. Photo: Monica Tiwari.

Almost half the children between 6 and 14 years studying in government schools in Delhi say teachers beat them up: study

The government school teachers in Delhi are continuing to hit students, despite corporal punishment being banned by the High Court in 2000 and under the Right to Education Act in 2009.

Almost half of the children between six and 14 years of age studying in government schools say teachers beat them up, according to a recent study.

A total of 49.33 per cent of children surveyed by JOSH, an NGO that works in education, said teachers in their schools resorted to corporal punishment. But the fear of repercussions keeps children from complaining to the authorities as well as their parents. This is evident in the fact that only 16.5 per cent of parents surveyed said their children had faced physical or verbal abuse at the hands of a teacher or school employee.

“Corporal punishment is still rampant in Delhi schools. It includes using abusive language, making children stand outside the class, sweep the floors and beatings,” said Aheli Chowdhury, the director of policy and advocacy of JOSH.

In Daryaganj, the study found, most children, especially boys, encountered some form of physical abuse every day. In North-East district’s Sunlight Colony, the survey found 46 per cent of the children had faced beatings or verbal abuse, but many parents agreed with the teachers’ actions.

“The truth is that many parents are sympathetic with the teachers. They think beating a child is the only way to discipline him or her. Till the indifference in the community is dealt with and the parents’ mindset changes, corporal punishment will continue to be a problem,” explained Ms. Chowdhury.

Apart from the trauma of abuse, children feel embarrassed by the incident and opt to drop out of school rather than facing the teacher again. The study found that many classmates of a girl who was beaten also dropped out for fear of the teacher.

“An incident of corporal punishment has far-reaching repercussions because the child feels so humiliated and decides to drop out,” Ms. Chowdhury said.

She added that the complaint mechanism does not work effectively. “We register complaints with the Education Department, which forwards the same to the school principal concerned. The principal and teacher then pressurise the parents to retract the complaint,” she said.

In Delhi Government schools too the outdated saying of “spare the rod, spoil the child” seems to hold true even today, she added.

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