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   Friday, February 22, 2019
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Corporal punishment is still prevalent
By d-sector Team

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 Even after three years of Supreme Court’s directives against corporal punishment, number of cases of physical punishment to students have been registered in Uttar Pradesh. With the increasing number of corporal punishment cases, the state’s administration is already in doubts regarding the proper management of the norms against corporal punishment.

According to a study conducted by Woman and Child Development Ministry on five schools each in the UP’s 41 districts, a minimum of 8 cases of corporal punishment were reported in a month’s time. With an average of about 600 schools in every district, the magnitude of the menace can be well estimated.

Officials agree to the fact but insist that they are taking several measures on the complaint of cases, both in government and private schools. They also claim to have placed complaint boxes in all schools to check such incidents, but with increasing number of schools and complaints, the measures seem inadequate. However, on enquiry, parents deny of any such measure, instead they have grievances that their complaints fall on deaf ears.

School authorities have been directed to address all complaints as soon as possible and UP government officials from basic education department have been authorized to open the complaint boxes and take plausible actions.

Not only Uttar Pradesh, but other parts of country are also worked up about corporal punishments in schools. Another national survey conducted by the department of Woman and Child Development in 2007, unearthed the real picture of corporal punishment.

Based on the experience of 12,447 children aged 5-18 years in 13 states, the study revealed a high prevalence of corporal punishment. Two out of three school children were found to be victims of corporal punishment, that is, an overwhelming majority of children (65.01 per cent) reported being beaten up in school.

The study also indicated that an alarmingly high percentage of children in state-run schools (53.8 per cent) faced the physical torture, followed by public schools (22.3 per cent). NGO-run schools accounted for 13 per cent cases.

The most commonly reported punishment was being slapped or kicked (63.67 per cent), followed by being beaten with a stave (31.31 per cent) and being pushed or shaken (5.02 per cent).

The punishments leave an indelible mark on the child’s psychology which leads to complications like neurosis and psychosis and in severe cases, suicide. Already some such cases have brought the issue to the national media’s headlines.

Write to d-sector  |  Editor's Note

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Corruption Watch

The bad news is that corruption has not only sustained but has grown in size and stature in the country. With scams being a regular feature, seventy per cent respondents in a survey have rightfully opined that corruption has continued to increase in India. One in every two interviewed admit having paid a bribe for availing public services during last one year. Transparency International's latest survey reveals that the political parties top the chart for the most corrupt public institutions, followed by police force and legislatures. No wonder, India continues to make new records on the global corruption arena!

The shocking revelation is that the health and education sectors haven't remained untouched by this phenomenon. With 5th and 6th positions respectively for these sectors on the public perception chart on corruption, corruption has crept insidiously into these sectors of hope for the masses. With bureaucracy being fourth in the list of corrupt institutions in the country, corruption seems to have been non-formally institutionalized with little hope if public services would ever be effective in the country. With economic growth having literally institutionalized corruption, are we now expecting corrupt to be socially responsible - a different CSR.

Poor. Who?

Not giving 'aid' to India is one thing but calling it 'rich' is quite another. If one in three of the world's malnourished children live in India, what does average daily income of $3 indicate? It perhaps means that there is a relative decline in poverty - people are 'less poor' than what they used to be in the past. But having crossed the World Bank arbitrary threshold of $2 a day does not absolve the 'developed' countries of their obligation to part with 0.7 per cent of their Gross National Income in development aid. Should this three-decade old figure not be revised?  

An interesting debate in UK's House of Commons delved on future of development assistance by the British Government. While prioritizing limited resources has been a concern, there has been no denying the fact that development aid must be guided towards tangible gains over a short period of time to start with. There are difficult choices for elected governments to make - should they invest in long-term primary education or in short-term university scholarships? Which of these will bring gains and trigger long-term transformation in the society. As politicians continue to be divided on the matter, poverty persists!!   

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