Govt to ban corporal punishment in schools

Prakriti Sunar, a kindergarten student at Himalaya Vidya Niketan, Kohalpur, has been left with a broken leg after her teacher punished on November 9 her for not submitting homework. She is only five years old.

Prakriti has been left with a fractured leg and doctors have said they need complete rest for six months.

The victim´s parents, who have been demanding severe punishment for the teacher, have found that their daughter was repeatedly beaten earlier as well.

Likewise, Merina Chipalu, 12, of Ilam also died after setting herself on fire in bathroom in 2005 after her school teacher scolded her for going out of the classroom without seeking permission.

These are just representative cases of corporal punishments that take place in schools. The child help line run by CWIN, an NGO working for child rights, registers more than 100 cases of corporal punishment in schools annually.

At a time when corporal punishment is rampant in schools, the government has begun the process of enacting a law that would completely ban corporal punishment in schools. The Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare (MoWCSW) is working to enact a law banning corporal punishment.

MoWCSW has already held preliminary discussions on amending the existing act.

“We don´t know whether we can implement the ban as practiced in developed countries but we will ensure that the schools do not encourage corporal punishment,” said Dr Kiran Rupakhetee, under secretary at MoWCSW.

MoWCSW plans to finalize this bill within two months and table it in the next session of parliament. Earlier, the government had launched a nationwide campaign ´Learn without Fear´ to discourage corporal punishment in schools.

No law bans corporal punishment in Nepal. Child Rights advocate Sumnima Tuladhar opines that such a ban is very important in a country like Nepal.

“Corporal punishment should be banned not only in schools but homes, child care centers and hostels,” she said, adding, “This kind of punishment can directly affect psycho-social development of a child.”

The amendments to the Children´s Act will also introduce new laws for the disabled and conflict-affected children. “The ministry is developing an alternative care guide which will specify adaptation as a form of alternative care,” informed Dr Rupakhetee.

Source: Republica