Corporal punishment, when will it end?
Pakistan is among the most densely populated countries of the world. Currently, over 180 million people reside here making it one of the most populous country of the world. Unfortunately, even after decades of independence, the overall literacy rate has always been a huge concern here. Pakistan has one of the lowest literacy rates in world. Many schools and colleges are entering the education indsutry especially in various big cities but those living in rural areas are on a greater loss. It is widely believed the situation is even worse at the hundreds of unregulated seminary schools, or madrasas.
Even if children want to study, they cannot because of lack of resources or family pressures. Moreover corporal punishments are a serious threat for young kids to continue their education. According to the Sparc (an Islamabad based NGO), 35,000 high school pupils drop out of education system each year due to corporal punishment.
Despite growing awareness regarding the issue, corporal punishment at schools has been culturally accepted form of child abuse, many school teachers remain convinced that some degree of corporal punishment is necessary to instruct children. Many teachers need to ensure obedience and guidance through light beating or other physical admonishment.
According to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan’s report of 2007, 24 children held against their will at a madrasa in Muzafargarh, had been rescued and made a complaint. Some of the children reportedly had been physically tortured, other sodomized.
Similarly, the Pakistan Pediatric Association found over 88 percent of school going children surveyed in Karachi reported suffering physical abuse.
After being debated over years at different levels, The National Assembly of Pakistan approved a bill prohibiting corporal punishment of children in educational institutions.
The bill declares that any form of corporal punishment of children in academic institutions illegal. The individuals found to be involved in the acts would be sentenced to one year in prison, Rs 50,000 fine or both.
Experts believe inadequate teacher training, the lack of implementation of legislation banning corporal punishment and the perception that it must be used to teach children, are still existing factors behind the existence and widespread of corporal punishment, hence it still requires to be addressed properly.