If approved, India will join eighteen (18) countries in setting down guidelines to prohibit corporal punishment of any kind at school and child care centers.
The countries include: Sweden (1979), Finland (1983), Norway (1987), Austria (1989), Cyprus (1994), Denmark (1997), Latvia (1998), Croatia (1999), Bulgaria (2000), Italy (1996), Isreal (2000), Germany (2000), Iceland (2003), Romania (2004), Ukraine (2004) Hungary (2005) Greece (2007) and Australia (2007).
The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has formed a working group to debate the question of protecting children against violence and corporal punishment in schools and evolve a policy. The panel, headed by Dipa Dixit, member, NCPCR, is expected to submit its final report on January 31, 2008. The committee held its first meeting on October 22, 2007 and formed subgroups to look at related topics such as existing rules, strategies for advocacy and the legal issues involved.
NCPCR corporal punishment definition.
• “rapping” on the knuckles
• running on the school grounds
• kneeling down for hours
• standing up for long hours
• sitting like a chair
• being beaten with an object
• pinched and slapped
• child sexual abuse
• locking up children alone in classrooms
• electric shock
• and all other acts leading to insult, humiliation, physical and mental injury, and even death.”
Calling it a “fundamental breach of human rights,” the national body had called for a sustained campaign to banish the “normal” practice of corporal punishment in schools.
Niranjan Aradhya, Department of Child Law in the National Law School of India University, the only member of the working group from south India, underlined the need for a specific law to make parents and teachers legally accountable for violence against children. “There is a need to spell out this liability in clear terms of law to promote respect for the law in terms of deterrence,” he said.
Dr. Aradhya, who has worked extensively on the role of the community in protecting child rights, is part of the subgroup that will be look at linkages between panchayati raj institutions, school development and monitoring committees and other community-based institutions and the education departments of States.
In the United States corporal punishment of children in school is legal in twenty-two states, and “reasonable” corporal punishment of children by their parents/caretakers is legal in every state except Minnesota (Bitensky, 1998). Prohibition of corporal punishment in family day care, group homes/institutions, child care centers, and family foster care varies according to state laws (EPOCH-USA, 1999b).