Skip to main content

80% school children are beaten up, 91% parents "approve" of it: Report

By Rajiv Shah
A recent report, prepared by researchers with the civil rights group, Agrasar, has revealed that of the 521 children from marginalized groups surveyed in Gurugram, Haryana, 80% said they are punished at school. Based on data collected from semi-urban communities in Gurugram, the report’s conclusions also take into account survey 100 parents, personal interviews with 26 children, three focus group discussions and one seasonal calendar exercise with 29 parents.
According to the report, titled “Choking Childhood: School Corporal Punishment - Everyday Violence Faced by Disadvantaged Children in India”, responses in the interview sample suggest that the number of children experiencing punishment might be as high as 100%”, regretting, “The large majority of parents (91%) do not only approve of corporal punishment but also uses it at home.” Thus, “71% of children said they are beaten up at home, while 74% of parents admit to it.”
The report says, “Our survey found that an average of 43% of children is beaten regularly, up to three times per week, by their teachers, but the number varies greatly between schools. In some schools, 88% of students are beaten regularly, while in others ‘only’ 30%.” In fact, “Children are told by their teachers and parents that corporal punishment with "a good reason" is necessary.”
The combined result of all this is that, according to the report, “Children find themselves trapped in an abusive environment with little chance of escape. Some evidence suggests that older children are less likely to experience school corporal punishment, compared to younger children. However, when looking at disadvantaged children we find little difference between ages. The frequency and severity of punishment are similar, only the forms are different.”
Pointing out that “gender does not seem to be a major risk factor to experience corporal punishment”, and “there are gender-specific forms of punishment”, with girls experiencing “sexist verbal abuse and humiliating forms of punishment”, the report, however, states, “Boys in upper primary schools receive more physical punishment than girls.”
Agreeing that there are also “teachers who never use corporal punishment”, the report says,
“Disadvantaged children experience both ‘mild’ and severe forms of physical punishment as well as verbal harassment referring to their ‘bad upbringing’. Younger children and boys are more prone to physical abuse, while older students and girls tend to receive more verbal harassment by their teachers.”
Stating that the children interviewed “experience” physical punishment in different ways, the report says, “The forms that are described by the children as ‘least painful’ and ‘not so serious’ include making the students stand in class for the whole period, sometimes with their hands raised, pulling their ears or hair, doing sit-ups, making them stand outside and also slapping them in the face.”
It adds, “While slapping is typically perceived as an act of utter disrespect and therefore as a very serious act of violence, the children experience it so often that many of them said they like certain teachers because they ‘only slap’. Other forms of punishment include not allowing the children to use the bathroom, even if the student asks multiple times, or pinching them in the abdomen.”
As for “more painful forms”, the report says, these include “hitting the knuckles with a duster or scale, and caning the children on their calves, both of which are very hurtful to children as those body parts are sensitive.” Then, “teachers also punish children by threatening to expel them from school or embarrassing them in front of the class, which, according to the children, has a strong and lasting impact on them.”
The report further says, “Not only are children subjected to severe forms of violence, it is also accompanied by psychological torture. For example, several children gave account of a teacher who does not just bang his students' heads against the wall, but turns it into a ‘game’ where he pretends three or four times before he eventually strikes the child's head against the classroom wall.”
It adds, “In another instance a girl child who had a fractured leg was chased through the classroom by her teacher, who then grabbed the girl’s hair and hit her. The children also told us about a teacher who tears apart their books and throws the pieces into the dirt outside the classroom.”
The report continues, “Disadvantaged children experience mental abuse mainly in reference to their low socio-economic status. Teachers use ‘Bihari’ or ‘Bengali’ as a disparaging term for all students who are not locals, and call them ‘donkey’, ‘good for nothing’, ‘uneducated’, ‘illiterate’ and that they had ‘a bad upbringing’.”
As for gender-specific punishment, while “boys are pinched in their abdomen and rib cage and girls are caned on their thighs”, teachers make “sexist comments to girl students about marriage, adolescence, their looks, age and weight etc., and often ‘recommend’ marriage instead of education.”
The report says, “Also, female children are often not considered of equal capabilities and skills compared to their male peers, especially in technical subjects such as math or science. Many teachers do not interfere when boys bully girls or put down a girl's work in front of the class, which instills toxic gender stereotypes in children and teaches boys how to ‘shut up’ girls and ‘put them in their place’."

Comments

Uma said…
As per a law recently passed, teachers who beat pupils are punished: either fined or jailed depending on the severity of the punishment meted out by them. As is usual in India, the people most concerned are not aware of it.
Rohit Shukla said…
It is very well known that the children are beaten, it is equally well known that parents rarely oppose it. The sample size is too thin and the sample area is very small. Only new point is regarding no. of beatings.

TRENDING

'These people shouldn't be in jail': UN official seeks release of 16 human rights defenders

By Our Representative A United Nations human rights official has called upon the Government of India (GoI) to “immediately release" 16 human rights defenders who have been imprisoned on charges of terrorism in the Bhima-Koregaon Case, insisting, “These people should not be in jail. They are our modern-day heroes and we should all be looking to them and supporting them and demanding their release.”  

Arrest of Fr Stan Swamy: UN makes public letter seeking explanation from Govt of India

Counterview Desk In a letter to the Government of India (GoI), three senior United Nations (UN) officials – Elina Steinerte, vice-chair of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention; Mary Lawlor, special rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders; and Fernand de Varennes, special rapporteur on minority issues – have said that the arrest of veteran activist Father Stan Swamy in October 2020 marks “the escalation of harassment the human rights defender has been subjected to since 2018.”

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Farm laws 'precursor' to free trade deal envisaged by US corporates to allow GMO

By Rajiv Shah Did the Government of India come up with the three farm laws, first rushed by promulgating ordinances in June 2020, to not just open the country’s agricultural sector to the corporate sector but also as a precursor to comply with the requirements of the United States for a Free Trade Agreement (FTA), as envisaged by the outgoing US president Donald Trump?

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam* RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Differing from Ambedkar, Kancha Ilaiah holds a 'different' theory of caste system

By Banavath Aravind* I was introduced to Kancha Ilaiah’s work when I was about 20 years old. He was then in the midst of a controversy for a chapter in his book "Post-Hindu India: A Discourse in Dalit-Bahujan, Socio-Spiritual and Scientific Revolution", which termed the Baniya community as social smugglers. During many of his debates, I had come to notice his undeterred fighting spirit in trying to bring up certain fundamental social issues that were hitherto undiscussed. I eventually came across some of his works and started reading them silently. I’m deliberately stressing upon the word ‘silently’ here, as this was the kind of silence particularly associated with sensitive social issues like caste, religion, etc. But, as I write this essay, I feel silences on sensitive issues should be broken. Ilaiah opened up an entirely new debate that had the vigour and strength to counter the systemic Brahmanism. His methods of research were also novel in terms of going back to the roo

Fr Stan's arrest figures in UK Parliament: Govt says, Indian authorities were 'alerted'

London protest for release of Stan Swamy  By Rajiv Shah Will Father Stan Swamy’s arrest, especially the fact that he is a Christian and a priest, turn out to be major international embarrassment for the Government of India? It may well happen, if a recent debate on a resolution titled “India: Persecution of Minority Groups” in the United Kingdom (UK) Parliament is any indication. While Jesuits have protested Fr Stan's arrest in UK and US, the resolution, adopted in the Parliament, said, “This House has considered the matter of persecution of Muslims, Christians and minority groups in India”.

New trend? Riots 'expanded' to new rural areas post-2002 Gujarat carnage: Report

A VHP poster declaring a Gujarat village part of Hindu Rashtra  By Rajiv Shah  Buniyaad, a Gujarat-based civil society organization, engaged in monitoring of communal violence in the state, in a new report, “Peaceful Gujarat: An Illusion or Truth?” has said that a “new trend” has come about in communal violence in the state, where the parts of Gujarat which didn't see communal riots in 2002 are experiencing “regular bouts” of communal violence.

More than 5,200 Gujarat schools to be closed down, merged, says govt document

RTE Forum, Gujarat, releasing fact-sheet on education By Our Representative A Gujarat government document has revealed that it is planning to close down 5,223 schools in the name of school merger. The document, dated July 20, 201 was released by the Right to Education (RTE) Forum, Gujarat. It shows that the worst-affected districts because of this merger are those which are populated by marginalized communities – especially tribals, Dalits and minorities, said RTE Forum’s Gujarat convener Mujahid Nafees.

Consumption pattern, not economic shock behind 'poor' child health indicators

By Neeraj Kumar, Arup Mitra* The findings of the latest round of National Family Health Survey (NFHS-5) conducted in 2019-20 covering 22 States/UTs under Phase-I  present a somewhat disappointing picture of children’s health in India. Majority of the experts, based on prima facie evidence, just highlighted the deteriorating sign of child health in terms of increase in proportion of stunted and underweight children in most of the phase-I states/UTs over last two rounds of NFHS (2015-16 to 2019-20).