Speaking at the education conference in Phuentsholing earlier this month, Corporal punishment to students as a last resort in bringing them into the disciplinary track is what the Bhutanese Prime Minister Jigme Y. Thinley suggested to educators.
The premier has urged teachers and principals to discuss truly viable and effective measures against discipline in schools at times when teachers in the urban schools have complains of the students going out of hands when it comes to discipline. In his judgment, “Children are growing waywardly and it might not have been right for the schools to do away with corporal punishment without finding an alternative.” This right on the part of teachers should be, according to him, exercised by only one designated person like principal.
Bhutan-based online news portal writes ‘many teachers and even parents have reasoned that the result of this ban in punishment has bred serious disciplinary problems in educational institutes. But schools located off the urban centers still spank and use cane despite the fact that physical punishment was banned officially in Bhutanese schools several years ago as a result of Bhutan being a signatory to the UN Convention of the rights of the child. This idea then sprung out of the argument that it is a failure on the part of the teachers to be more engaging when they use corporal punishment.
Now, many questions evolve as to what the PM is trying to say when he means corporal punishment. Is he trying to take Bhutan and the education system of the nation back to that era when physical punishment was a major emphasis at schools rather than education and training students?
There are so many alternatives adopted in schools around the globe to control and make students focused to what teachers are trying to teach and what the students are expected to learn. This is the age of scientific and technical discovery that has revolutionized the rest of the world in almost every field of human thoughts and actions.
Physical punishment as seen by the prime minister as a last means can, in no way, stand logical in this time when sensible thinking should come in to play. What an idea he has as a person who is representing the Himalayan kingdom of some 600,000 population in the international level. This looks like he is tracing his way back to that barbaric age of devilish thinking and acting accordingly. This has, no doubt, paved way in the minds of rational beings both in the country and those outside to a thinking that an animalistic instinct has entered in the mind of this national figure. Students at schools should never be treated like one does with a whip to control animals.
At the same time, the National Commission for Women and Children’s childcare protection bill is also awaiting the parliament’s endorsement. Once passed corporal punishment in any kind of setting whether at home or at school becomes a punishable offense by law.
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