Call to close all schools and madrasas for a day. Anti-corporal punishment crusader Sir Frank Peters has written to Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid asking him to close all schools and madrasas for a day.
He’s requesting this to mark the fifth anniversary of the Bangladesh High Court ruling of January 13, 2011 that bans corporal punishment in schools and madrasas.
“Sadly, today there are still children being mercilessly beaten and damaged,” said Sir Frank.
“I have requested the Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid, who has my highest admiration, to close shop nationally for a day to allow the shop-keepers to reassess and take stock of their past and present behaviour and reaffirm if they’re working within the law and with the best interests of the children.
“The shut-day I propose does not necessarily have to be on January 13. It doesn’t apply to the Headmaster and teachers. I would like them to attend school as normal and view it as a teachers’ conference, or as an in-house cleaning exercise, and to sincerely debate among themselves the ill effects corporal punishment has on the children, on their profession, on their souls, and the society that bestows them their livelihood,” he said.
“The shut-day would also help instil in the minds of all pupils, teachers and parents that corporal punishment is strictly against the law and has been since Justice Md. Imman Ali and Md. Sheikh Hasan Arif made their ruling in 2011, declaring corporal punishment to be: ‘cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and a clear violation of a child’s fundamental right to life, liberty and freedom’,” he added.
Corporal punishment is mistakenly equated with discipline, said Sir Frank, to which it has no relationship whatsoever. He said corporal punishment is just another name for child abuse and even gives terrorism a bad name – “the victims actually know the terrorists”.
He said, it teaches the victims that might makes right, and that problems can be solved through the use of violence by the strong against the weak and shamelessly violates children’s rights as if children were insignificant, unimportant, only there to be kicked around and abused by those in authority as they deem fit.
“There is enough cruelty, brutality and terrorism in the world without teaching it in the classrooms. Rabindranath Tagore was 100% right when he said ‘discipline means to teach, not to punish’. That’s an important lesson most headmasters and teachers in Bangladesh need to learn,” he said.