Islamabad: A Pakistani daily on Monday called for an end to the culture of violence against schoolchildren, pointing out that in extreme cases children die at the hands of their teachers while tens of thousands drop out of school because of the fear.
"If we want to trace the roots of the culture of violence that permeates our society we need look no further than Pakistani schools, where corporal punishment is the rule rather than the exception," said an editorial in the News International.
"In extreme cases children die at the hands of their teachers, while tens of thousands drop out of school because of the fear of violence and many thousands more are injured - often deafened or worse - by being beaten as `punishment`. Corporal punishment is rife in government schools, less so in private establishments and the norm in madrassas," it added.
The Sindh Assembly has now passed a resolution to do away with Section 89 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC).
"It is this section that allows the beating of children in schools - indeed promotes it by the mere fact of being on the statute book, stating that the guardian or caretaker of a child is `allowed to administer physical punishment in good faith where the intention is not to cause voluntary harm or death`. Further, if a teacher `accidentally` kills a child it is termed as `death by mistake` ... and the requirement is merely that `Diyat` or blood money be paid by way of punishing the killer of the child."
The daily observed that if children are taught in an atmosphere riddled with fear and violence then they carry their perceptions through into adulthood.
"...Children should see school as a positive experience, they should go to school happy and unafraid and come home with the cup of knowledge fuller than when they left in the morning. It will take a generation or more to remove violence from education in Pakistan," it added.