What are the Guidelines for Corporal Punishments in Educational Institutions?
NCPCR seeks report in corporal punishment case
• NCPCR has asked for a report from the state government in an alleged corporal punishment case
• Three teachers of a government school in Guwahati are accused in this case
• This is the NCPCR’s second reminder to the department of elementary education
• NCPCR has said that it will be compelled to serve summons to the department this time in case of non-compliance
• Activists say Corporal Punishment for Educational Institutions (Prohibition) Bill should be made into an act
• Govt officials say an inquiry was conducted into the matter and report has been sent to the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA)
• In the report, no evidence has been found of any misconduct on the part of teachers
The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has sent a reminder to the department of elementary education to submit a report on an incident of corporal punishment in a city school where three teachers of a government school were allegedly involved.
The NCPCR wants the matter to be investigated and the report submitted within 10 days. This is the second reminder from the central agency to the department of elementary education to furnish a report in this case.
The NCPCR has said that it would be compelled to serve a summon to the department in case of non-compliance of its order. The letter states, “In the event of non-receipt of the report, the commission will be constrained to initiate requisite action as per the Commissions for Protection of Child Rights (CPCR) Act 2005 and serve summons seeking your personal appearance for explaining non-compliance at the Office of the Commission in New Delhi.”
NCPCR took cognisance of the matter after a complaint was filed in March this year against three teachers of Bamunimaidan Sarkari Nimna Buniyadi Vidyalaya for repeated corporal punishment in school.
“Two girl students had approached me and complained that they did not want to go to school because they were beaten regularly. I wrote to the NCPCR and also to the state education minister,” said city-based child rights activist, Miguel Das Queah.
Subsequently, the elementary education department had directed the district administration to take action and submit a report within seven days. However, no report was submitted to the NCPCR despite a subsequent reminder.
‘Need an Act for banning corporal punishment’
People associated with child protection feel that stricter punishment could contribute to checking corporal punishment. They feel that the bill against corporal punishment should be passed by the state assembly at the earliest.
The Corporal Punishment for Educational Institutions (Prohibition) Bill was presented before the state assembly in 2010 but it could not be passed due to the opposition from some teachers’ associations.
Activists feel that there could be several cases of a similar nature that have remained under wraps. “We can only imagine how many cases go unreported from remote areas of the state and often in a majority of these cases, no action is taken by the authorities,” said an activist.
The NCPCR under the Ministry of Women and Child Development has framed certain guidelines for eliminating corporal punishment in schools. Such a form of punishment is also banned under Section 17 of the Right to Education (RTE) Act.
These guidelines call for the constitution of Special Monitoring Cells in order to ensure quick action in case of harassment or physical punishment given to children. These cells should also hear complaints related to corporal punishment within 48 hours of the incident.
The guidelines state that school teachers need to give a written undertaking that they will not engage in any action which could amount to physical punishment, mental harassment or discrimination.
Govt officials say inquiry reveals a different version
State government officials from the elementary education department, however, said that they had already conducted an inquiry into the matter around two months ago and the report has been sent to the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA).
They have offered a different version of events. “It was found after the inquiry that the president of the School Management Committee (SMC) had instigated the students against the principal. We have taken everyone’s statement in the case including the principal, teachers, students and SMC members,” said Buli Gogoi, district elementary education officer.
She added that in the report, no evidence has been found of any misconduct on the part of teachers and the SMC president had orchestrated this entire incident. This report will now be sent to the NCPCR, said authorities.