Parents, teachers urged to spare children the rod

Kathmandu, August 4:

At an interaction with journalists organised today by Save the Children Norway on the issue of corporal punishment, experts stressed the need to enlighten parents and teachers about the adverse effects that such punishment could have on children. The Article 37 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child clearly states that ratifying states should protect children against torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. However, this has not been practised well in the context of Nepal. Repeated stories about sexual and other kinds of abuse on children can be cited to support this posit. At the programme, inadequate laws and lower level of awareness were regarded as the obstacle in solving the problem.

Child psychologist Dr Nandita Sharma said teachers should at least have a minimum level of training in children psychology. Parents’ misunderstanding supported by teachers’ behaviour could make children physically or mentally handicapped, she said. “Different phases of child

development are to be supported and taken care of separately. Parents and teachers should encourage children to develop their personality,” she said, and warned, “Forceful implementation of rules could make them adamant.” Assistant residential representative of Save the Children Norway, Khem Lal Thapa, said 14 per cent of children have left school owing to fear of getting beaten or harassed by teachers. “Parents’ behaviour towards their children is also making the problem more serious. A child replicates the way s/he was treated during her/his childhood when the child becomes a parent,” he said. Executive editor of Gorkhapatra, Bijay Chalise, stressed the need for social transformation. Corporal punishment cannot be abolished in a short period of time, but behavioural change over time would help minimise such issues of corporal punishment, said Chalise.