Report on widespread Corporal Punishment in Schools, by Agrasar
Agrasar is a social impact organisation (NGO) working with disadvantaged communities in India to further
equitable access to safe and enriching educational opportunities for children
About the Report:
A report like this has been long overdue. It has been almost a decade since two larger government studies assessed the magnitude of the problem, but until this day, no research has been done to understand why this type of violence against children remains epidemic in our schools or how certain groups of children are affected.
The new report by Agrasar addresses this gap and provides insight into how and why marginalised children whose parents have migrated to the semi-urban villages of Gurugram experience corporal punishment at school. The findings are alarming, to say the least.
Some Key Findings;
- Almost all children in Gurugram’s government schools experience corporal punishment by teachers, around half of them on a daily basis. For some of these children, punishment does not only mean to be hit on the knuckles but also brutal forms of violence. On top of that, 70% of parents punish their children when they find out about punishment at school, as a result of which children no longer share anything with them.
- The risk factors that put disadvantaged children at risk of experiencing corporal punishment at the school include their low-income and “migrant” background, government schools which are often characterised by an environment that fosters violence against children, and our social norms that justify physical and mental abuse of children under the pretext of discipline.
- Punishment by teachers makes students feel humiliated and ashamed. It undermines trusted and loving relationships with their parents and therefore makes children more vulnerable to other forms of abuse, while they internalise violence as acceptable social behaviour.
Corporal punishment of children creates a vicious cycle that perpetuates violence against children and women in our country. Children who have been subjected to maltreatment are at higher risk to suffer from chronic diseases, mental health issues, and substance abuse later in their life. They are also more likely to be involved in bullying behaviour and commit violent crimes.
Agrasar has also launched an initiative “Kaagaz Ki Kashti,” in which they work with teachers, children and parents with the objective to empower them to abandon the practice, help schools to implement policy guidelines as safeguards against corporal punishment, and raise broader awareness for the issue.
Download the full report HERE
Legality of Corporal Punishment:
Though there is no statutory definition of corporal punishment, it is deemed to be a violation of the right to life of the children. For the provisions of the Right To Education Act, 2009, corporal punishment could be classified as physical punishment. As per Section 17 (1) of the RTE Act 2009, “No child shall be subjected to physical punishment or mental harassment.” Also, as per Section 17 (2), “Whoever contravenes the provisions of sub-section (1) shall be liable to disciplinary action under the service rules applicable to such person.”
Under International Law:
- Article 28(2) of UN CRC requires the State parties to “take all appropriate measures to ensure
that school discipline is administered in a manner consistent with the child’s human dignity and in
conformity with the present Convention.”
- Article 29(1) (b) of the Convention emphasises that the “State parties agree that the
education of the child shall be directed to the development of respect for human rights and
fundamental freedoms, and for the principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations”.
- Article 37(a) of UN CRC requires States Parties to ensure that “no child shall be subjected
to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment”.
- Article 19(1) of the Convention, which requires States to–
“Take all appropriate legislative, administrative, social and educational measures to protect the
child from all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment,
maltreatment or exploitation, including sexual abuse, while in the care of parent(s), legal guardian(s)
or any other person who has the care of the child.”
- Article 19(2) lays down that–
“Such protective measures should, as appropriate, include effective procedures for the establishment
of social programmes to provide necessary support for the child and for those who have the care
of the child, as well as for other forms of prevention and for identification, reporting, referral,
investigation, treatment and follow-up of instances of child maltreatment described heretofore,
and, as appropriate, for judicial involvement.”