Promoting Child Rights

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Corporal punishment in educational institutions missing in Child Act 2013

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Pankaj Karmakar

child01With incidents of corporal punishment on children recurring across the country, the government has incorporated a new provision prohibiting any sort of physical torture on children in the Child Act-2013.
But the act does not have any particular provision prohibiting corporal punishment in educational institutions.
The section No. 70 of the act prohibited hit, abuse, torture or negligence to children for preventing physical harm.  If any person commits the ‘offence’, s/he will be awarded up to five years imprisonment or Tk 1 lakh fine or both, according to the provision.
National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) Full Time Member Kazi Reazul Hoque said while drafting the act, they proposed to incorporate a separate provision particularly prohibiting corporal punishment in education institutions.
But the provision has been missed finally for unknown reason, he added.
Social Welfare Secretary Suraiya Begum, however, said there is separate policy of Education Ministry prohibiting corporal punishment in educational institutions.
“That is why, we have not incorporated the provision in the child act,” she added.
Despite government’s instructions and vigorous campaigns of rights activists and media, incidents of corporal punishment on children are recurring at different educational institutions across the country.
Some recent examples of corporal punishment include — at least 60 children injured in caning at a primary school in Sirajganj on June 10, a child was tortured by teachers at a madrasa at Jamalpur on June 16 and hand of child was broken by teacher at Joypurhat on May 2.
The Education Ministry on August, 2010 issued a circular prohibiting all sorts of corporal punishment on students. On April, 2011 the ministry issued another circular saying that it has formulated a policy to end corporal punishment.
Besides, the Directorate of Secondary and Higher Education (DSHE) has already developed a manual to train and sensitise school teachers on the issue. But the training is yet to start, as the ministry has not printed the copy of manual.
Talking to The Daily Star, Shabnaaz Zahereen, Child Protection Specialist of UNICEF, Bangladesh, said, “The government is formulating rules to implement the act. In those rules, a particular provision may be incorporated prohibiting corporal punishment in educational institutions.”

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