orporal punishment in educational institutions is a grim reality of education not just in Kashmir but many other Asian parts. However, if news reports are to go by the situation of students in classroom has only gotten worse. A recent incident from Srinagar highlighted just how teachers can seriously hurt students over taking a simple permission. Such punishments shuts down their ability to learn in a positive manner and teaches them instead that institution is a place where they may feel pain and fear. Even such punishment embarrasses the victim, and promotes a culture of bullying among students, where those who have been punished are either mocked by the other students or become the bullies as they seek to regain their pride.
Following the incident of beating a student in a private coaching centre in Parraypora area of Srinagar city, the district administration immediately took the cognizance of the matter and initiated action, which is appreciable from the administration end. But the horrendous action has created a huge outcry among the local population and might have left immense psychological impact on the student. In Kashmir, boys, those in the poorest quintile or the ones studying in the government schools reported a more frequent experience of physical punishment as compared to their respective counterparts. Physical punishment has emerged as a norm in schools across India. A 2007 report by the Ministry of Women and Child Development said that two out of three children are physically abused in India with boys (73%) only slightly more likely to face it than girls (65%).
There may be some who argue corporal punishment in schools was necessary at some point in the past. Although we could not disagree more given what decades of research has shown us about human behavior and learning, we’re also not interested in arguing that point, what we can say is corporal punishment is useless today.
The Right to Education Act lays down a strict definition of punishment but falls short of mandating action against the teachers who resort to physical or mental harm as a means to ‘discipline’ the students. The solutions, feel educationists, is not just in prohibiting these incidents by strict measures but also in training teachers with skills that help them teach more effectively and manage students without having to take the recourse violently.