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School CP - November 2002

Corpun file 10660 at


Gulf News, Dubai, 2 November 2002

City Talk

The case against caning

By Sunita Menon
in Dubai

A cross-section of parents interviewed on the streets of Dubai have expressed deep concern over the issue of teachers beating school students, saying that times have changed, and that they welcomed the warning by the Ministry of Education.

Violence in the classrooms, specially by someone the children look up to, leaves a very negative impression on the students, the parents said, noting that punishments for work not done or bad behaviour, could take another more humane form and one which does not lower their self esteem.

The Ministry of Education has warned of tough action in the event of violence in the classrooms and said that teachers should show more maturity in reprimanding pupils.

Dr. Ali Abdul Aziz Al Sharhan, Minister of Education and Youth, earlier quoted by the Arabic daily Al Ittihad, said acts of violence in schools -- whether committed by teachers or students -- are abhorrent.

He said teachers should deal with students in a manner which is in compliance with modern educational methods.

Teachers' rights are also taken into consideration by the ministry, and students who behave badly towards their teachers will face stern action, said Dr. Al Sharhan.

Al Marzouqi Al Marzouqi

"Warnings by the ministry are not enough. It should be followed-up, said Dr Amina Al Marzouqi, Assistant Professor at the College of Health Sciences at the University of Sharjah.

She said beating students is not accepted no matter how bad a student is. "I believe that the teacher who beats the students has so much anger inside him that he takes it out on the student."

"Teachers should talk to the students and try to solve the problem by encouragement, not the stick," she adds.

Fatma Ali, a 38-year-old housewife said, "I don't beat my children, and I don't allow anybody to beat them in turn.

"One day my 11-year-old daughter came home and told me that her teacher had beaten her in front of her classmates because she did not do the homework. I went to the school the next day and had big argument with that teacher," she said.

She added: "The teacher should find better ways of communication with the students,"

Debayan Gosh Gosh

Says Debayan Gosh, a regional sales director of an American company, "If I hear that my child has been beaten by the teacher I would feel horrible. This is no way to teach anybody. The initiative taken up by the ministry is a positive step.

"I would also like to add that the concerned authorities should also make sure that teachers do not take their frustration out on the pupils by neglecting them in class just because the ministry has issued a warning," he said.

Radhika Radhika

Radhika Lamba, an administrative manager in a private firm in Dubai, said that punishments are vital for a pupil as long as it does not involve beating.

"I think it is okay to punish children or else how are they going to learn what is right and wrong. But then again I am against a teacher going for the knuckles with a ruler. I think that if teachers take their job seriously, situations where needs to be punished will not arise," he said.

Disagreeing that pupils should even be threatened by the teachers, Elizabeth, a parent, said, "I do not advice teachers to issue threats to pupils like they will be removed from class or of giving black marks on their performance. This is because any such threats will hamper the pupils psychologically. Moreover it will put a scare of that particular teacher in the pupil's mind," she said.

Pointing out that times have changed and that pupils will always find a way to get back at teachers who hand harsh punishment, Abraham T.I. said: "Today the pupils are very different than what we used to be in their age. We use to take the beating and not complain.

"But now times have changed. I do not think that punishments are necessary. A pupil can be reprimanded by the teacher by making them stand in the corner of the classroom. But physical punishment should be avoided at any cost," he said.

Bhomik Bhomik

Ashish Bhomik who works in a production company said: "Teachers should handle their pupils politely and vice-versa. Respect given is respect earned. One should not forget that pupils spend more time in school than at home," he said.

Highlighting similar sentiments Shomitha, a parent, said: "I am glad that the ministry has issued a warning pertaining to violence in school. It gives me a scare to hear about school violence in the media," she said.

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