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School CP - August 2013

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Dhaka Tribune, 18 August 2013

Disciplinary action mulled for corporal punishment in schools

Education Law 2013 suggests three month's imprisonment or Tk10,000 as fine or both for practicing corporal punishment at schools

By Mushfique Wadud

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The provision on corporal punishment is part of a new law -- Education Law 2013 -- that the ministry has recently drafted to ensure rights related to education and protect students.

Education Secretary Kamal Abdul Naser Chowdhury told the Dhaka Tribune that the draft was posted on the ministry's website for public scrutiny and it would remain there till August 28. After that, he said, they would proceed to make the law effective.

"We are concerned about corporal punishments taking place in schools and these (punitive) measures would help curb such incidents in the future," he said.

Earlier, the ministry had adopted a policy to give guidelines to teachers in schools and madrasahs to refrain from punishing students.

The government was under pressure to come up with a stricter measure after school punishment came under renewed spotlight in recent times following several incidents.

It was reported that many teachers, especially in rural schools and madrasahs, were still in non-compliance of the High Court ruling that prohibited corporal punishment.

On April 9, the media reported a shocking incident in which the headmaster of a local school in Patuakhali, Nurainpur Primary School, beat several class V students and made them clean blackboard using their tongues.

On July 10, Lob Chandra Das, a teacher of Kalidaha High School at the Kalidaha union of Feni, ruthlessly caned 13-year-old Mirazul Alam for a "scuffle" with a girl student in his class. Mirazul could not speak for the next 11 days since the incident.

According to doctors, the boy was so traumatised by this experience that he burst into a hysterical cry at the mere mention of his teacher.

The High Court on January 13, 2011 declared all kinds of corporal punishment illegal such as caning, beating, chaining, forced-haircut and confinement, in primary and secondary schools and madrasahs.

The bench of Justice Md Imman Ali and Justice Sheikh Hasan Arif of the High Court had asked the authorities concerned to take actions against teachers for giving corporal punishment, as such punishments are "extrajudicial."

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