Thursday, 28 June 2007

Unesco guidelines against bullying, corporal punishment in schools

Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, June 28: The United Nations Educational Social and Cultural Organisation has formulated guidelines for teachers and management of schools to check bullying, corporal punishment and other types of violence in educational institutions.
The Unesco has also put the responsibility of protection of child rights and prevention of corporal punishments in schools on national governments. In its guidelines for the academic year 2007-2008, the Unesco has called upon governments to come out with a national planning to prevent and respond to violence against schoolchildren.
The new guidelines come in the wake of reports that about 300 million children worldwide are victims of various forms of violence in schools and outside. About 30 million child victims are from India. Andhra Pradesh has one of the high dropout rates in the country.
Corporal punishment has been linked to high absenteeism and drop-out rate in schools. The dropout rate varies between five and 40 per cent in Andhra Pradesh depending on the age group of students and classes. Though the mid-day meal scheme has improved attendance, still 50 per cent of children of school-going age continue to stay away from schools in the State.
It also called for strengthening of legal frameworks in conformity with the Convention on the Rights of the Child, particularly galvanising support for the prohibition of all forms of violence.
The Unesco has asked a group of experts including researchers, policymakers, and practitioners to consider the global context of school violence, the school experience, innovative policies and practices and come out with recommendations on making schools free from violence.
The recommendations also follow research reports that corporal punishment leads to poor mental health, as it blocks normal mental development.

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