Sir: This is with the reference to the recent incident of corporal punishment administered on a minor student by her teacher in Lahore. This is not the only incident. Research shows that corporal punishment is the main reason behind the drop out of students from schools. The government of Punjab issued a notification in 2005 through which corporal punishment was declared banned in all education institutions but no mechanisms were established to monitor its implementation. Pakistan is a signatory of the UN Convention on the Rights of Children (UNCRC) in which article 19 clearly states that children have the right to be protected from being hurt and mistreated, physically or mentally. It is the responsibility of state parties (governments) to take administrative and legislative measures to ensure that children are properly cared for and to protect them from violence, abuse and neglect by their parents, or anyone else who looks after them.
The previous government passed the Prohibition of Corporal Punishment Bill, which was not passed by the Senate and eventually lapsed at a later stage due to some technical reasons. In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, corporal punishment was also declared prohibited under the Child Protection and Welfare Act 2010 while the Sindh Assembly also passed a resolution to introduce legislation to curb the menace of corporal punishment. The government should come forward and introduce legislation for the prohibition of corporal punishment. This will also support the vision of the Punjab government to ensure the enrolment of children in school and the retention of students in schools. There is also dire need to build the capacities of teacher in positive discipline and classroom management without using corporal punishment. As a first step, the curriculum of teacher’s training needs revision in order to incorporate techniques of child-friendly schooling, so the children can learn without fear.