Call for punishment ban

22nd May 1998 at 01:00
India. Parents have called for a ban on corporal punishment in schools after a 13-year-old Delhi pupil lost an eye when his teacher hurled a blackboard duster at him.

Nitin Kumar, a class VII student of Preet public school, was rushed to hospital with a bleeding eye which doctors said was beyond repair. The teacher, who has been suspended, said that he intended to hit a boy next to Nitin.

Parents and education counsellors have expressed concern over the growing classroom violence of teachers. There was uproar a few months ago when a teacher in an East Delhi school bit off a student's ear to punish him for a prank. Many schoolchildren said they had "nightmares" about going to school especially if they had not finished their homework.

Inquiries showed that teachers - particularly in government schools and downtown private institutions - routinely slap students. Boys have been dragged out of their classrooms and kicked. Schoolchildren forced into painful postures such as walking on all fours or catching their own ears while kneeling down is a common sight. Such things are more prevalent in boys' schools.

There is no ban on corporal punishment but the policy is to avoid it. Most cases go unreported and the police say that they cannot intervene without a report.

Hasan Suroor and Suchitra Behal

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