Bangladesh: Widespread corporal punishment

EducationWorld December 09 | EducationWorld

A new report by the UN Childrens Fund (Unicef) says most children in Bangladesh are subject to physical abuse at school, at home or where they work. The study entitled Opinions of Children of Bangladesh on Corporal Punishment covered nearly 4,000 families and was published on October 8.In all regards, the children of Bangladesh are in a very vulnerable position, says Mohammad Kafiluddin, director of Bangladesh Childrens Rights Forum, an organisation of 235 NGOs working in the child rights sector. According to the report, 91 percent of the children surveyed experienced physical abuse in school, while 74 percent suffered abuse at home.
The report found that 87.6 percent of schools still use switches and canes to discipline students, and that the most common forms of punishment are: hitting with a switch or cane, pinching or pulling ears, hair or skin, and slapping. Some 23 percent of students said they had to face differing forms of corporal punishment every day. Seven percent reported injuries and bleeding following punishment administered by teachers.
The report also inferred that threat of corporal punishment is a major reason why children play truant and lose interest in their studies, adding that only 75 percent of enrolled students regularly attend school. They (teachers) beat us with wooden and steel rulers and canes, says Ishrat Jahan Ima, a seven-year-old second year student at the Sher-E-Bangla Nagar Government Girls School in Dhaka, recalling how one teacher proudly showed off a broken switch bragging that he had broken it while beating a class V student.
Although child labour is illegal in Bangladesh, the practice is widespread, say child rights activists, and the report indicated that about 10 percent of children held jobs, often having to bear heavy loads for poor wages in dangerous workplace conditions.
Moreover the study found that 99.3 percent of children are being verbally abused and threatened by their parents at home. Slapping is a common form of discipline for 70 percent of the children, while 40 percent are regularly beaten or kicked. Physical abuse of children is a daily occurrence and this is a problem which needs a complete mindset change… The level of awareness among the people of Bangladesh regarding the rights of children is very low, says Kafiluddin.
Bangladesh was one of the first countries to ratify the UN International Bill of Rights for Children in the 1989 UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). UNCRC prohibits all forms of physical and mental abuse of children.
(Excerpted and adapted from www.irinnews.org)

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