ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Corporal Punishment in Schools

The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RtE) Act, 2009 prohibits physical punishment and mental harassment. The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights has called for elimination of corporal punishment in schools by detailing its varied expressions. However, this tends to address the problem from a legal-constitutional framework but is unlikely to address the tensions which spring from a debilitating and difficult work environment for teachers. It also does not make school managements accountable, choosing to focus only on teachers.

I am grateful to Suresh K Reddy, without whose invaluable support, the views expressed in this essay would not have had direction or been coherent. I also acknowledge inputs given by Sabah Khan and several teachers who willingly shared their experiences with me and helped me understand the problem in its context.

The discourse on corporal punishment (CP) largely includes the opinions of educationists, children and their parents. However, it seldom includes teachers who are instantly viewed with suspicion and kept out of this debate. CP is not justifiable under any circumstances and should certainly find no place in any school. However, the approach taken to address it is that it is largely perceived as an attitudinal problem on the part of teachers, which needs to be rectified.

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