Corporal punishment in Pakistani schools is reaching ghastly levels - an immediate consequence rise in dropout rates.
'Save the Children' and 'Plan Pakistan', two non-governmental organizations (NGOs), in a letter written to Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gillani said that they were alarmed over rising incidents of violence against school-going children in the country.
They blamed the alarming drop-out rate in schools on the physical punishment administered by schoolteachers to their pupils.
They said that corporal punishment which included hitting, slapping and verbal abuse was an ineffective way of disciplining children. Instead, it harmed children both physically and emotionally and some time could lead to permanent injury or death.
The letter referred to a recent incident of corporal punishment in Multan where a teacher of a private school brutally beat her eight-year-old student, Aliza, who had to be admitted to the Nishter hospital. "Incidents like this show that Pakistani policy-makers need to amend Pakistani Penal Code which allows corporal punishment of children," it said.
The letter also pointed out there was no accountability mechanism if a teacher is found guilty of punishing a student, Dawn reports.
The two international NGOs have launched a campaign to press the government to approve and effectively implement the Protection and Children (Amendment) Bill 2009 and the National Commission on the Rights of Children Bill 2009.
If the campaign was launched on the International Day for Children on Nov 20 last year, they are hoping to get both the crucial bills adopted by Nov 20 this year, marking the 20th anniversary of the UN Convention on Rights of the Child.
Both the organizations have called upon the Prime Minister to adopt a pro-active approach by supporting the two bills and ensure that children in Pakistan are protected from all kinds of violence and abuse.