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.