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Panel to study school caning

Guwahati, March 1: Dispur has decided to constitute an expert committee to study the negative impact of a total ban on corporal punishment in schools.

The committee, to comprise educationists, teachers, administrators and social thinkers, will also offer suggestions for necessary corrections and changes in the Assam Corporal Punishment in Educational Institutions (Prohibition) Bill, 2010 before its passage as law.

The bill has defined corporal punishment as physical and mental harassment of children in the form of torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading acts.

The education department had recently finalised the bill to ban corporal punishment with stringent provisions like deduction of salaries of teachers for the treatment of the victims, withholding increment or promotion and even demotion and dismissal.

A government official told The Telegraph that Dispur’s decision had come in the wake of opposition by educationists against the move to ban corporal punishment in the state.

“The government wants to take everyone into confidence before enacting the legislation. The committee may conduct a random survey to find out the prevalence of corporal punishment in schools across the state. It will take feedback from teachers about the possible adverse outcome in case of a total ban on such punishment and try to find out whether abolition of the punishment will create indiscipline among students and demotivate teachers,” he said.

The official said the committee would focus on the impact of the proposed legislation on vernacular medium and government schools.

“These schools accommodate a large number of students and many of them are found to be unruly. Poor and illiterate parents send their children to these schools with the hope that their wards will turn out to be well-behaved and educated. A total ban on corporal punishment in these schools might create chaos,” he said.

The official said the committee would look into whether the bill had the provisions to protect a teacher if charges against him or her were motivated and levelled with malicious intentions.

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