MIDWAY : Spare the rod

As I walked to my college last Wednesday, I came across a girl who was waiting for the school bus. In fact, there were a quartet of them, but this girl was crying. I stopped and asked her if anything was wrong. That didn’t help either. Thinking that she needed help, I tried soothing her by offering some toffees. The magic worked and she finally calmed down. I asked her name to which she replied she was Anurita. I introduced myself and asked her why she was yowling. Reluctant though she was, she confessed it was the fear of the rod for having not done a wee bit of homework in the school that was unsettling her. I had no solution to the problem and could not do much beyond consoling her and asked her to cheer up. After the encounter, I walked towards my college all the while thinking about the inhuman practice being carried out in schools in the name of discipline. I even remembered the helpless days I’d myself encountered in school and the punishments including the popular pipe that was used to lick the students often on their innocuous rears.

Anurita’s is not an isolated case. Nor mine for that matter. Corporal punishment has been there since institutionalised education system was first introduced in Nepal. But the voice against it remains unheard and unrealised. Is punishing the students in the name of discipline justifiable? Is it acceptable that kids get caned just because their handwritings aren’t as good as the teachers’? Certainly not!

I myself have been a teacher for seven years now and I know it from close quarters that corporal punishment is not the right disciplinary tool. Such inhuman treatment sets the academic clock in each student back by eons. The lifelong trauma pain inflicts on the tender minds is unwarranted and avoidable. My chocolate would have calmed Anurita but no one offers toffees to the thousands who get spanked in the classroom for petty reasons. However,

I’d be grateful if only kids like her were spared the rod. I would like to urge teachers and the school management in Nepal to do away with corporal punishment at every level and provide a comfortable environment to every student. Schools is a second home for kids. Let us make them so.