Child-friendly Classrooms | SU teachers protest
'Classrooms need to be child-friendly'
Karachi, July 04: The
data collected by the Society for the Protection of the Rights of Child
(SPARC) indicates that 35,000 students left high school in Pakistan in
2009 because of the fear of corporal punishment.
Sadia Baloch, who heads the child rights desk at the Human Rights
Commission of Pakistan, believes that the figures must be higher. "These
are only the reported cases, and cases here are barely reported."
a mechanism for reporting cases of violence against children exists,
there are serious loopholes. For instance, a case can only be reported
at the Federal Ombudsman's office by either filling an online form, or
obtaining the form in person from the office.
Ombudsman's office exists in provincial capitals. The Karachi office
entertains complaints from all over Sindh," Baloch says.
to the forms is therefore an issue. "People in villages do not have
Internet connections. It is impractical for them to travel all the way
to the provincial capital and register a complaint." The forms, she
maintains, should be available at all police stations.
Confusion in the definition
law does not define the term corporal punishment. The general
impression of corporal punishment is physical beating but activists and
educationists have their own definitions.
Baloch maintains it constitutes any punishment given by an institution, "in this case a school".
Fernandes, a researcher at the Institute of Educational Development-Aga
Khan University (IED-AKU), calls it "anything that incorporates fear in
children; name-calling, pinching, staring".
Pakistan Penal Code in Article 89 states, "Nothing which is done in good
faith for the benefit of a person under twelve years of age", by
"consent, either expressed or implied, of the guardian or other person
having lawful charge of that person, is an offence", provided it does
not cause death or voluntary hurt.
act of "voluntary hurt" is only committed if six conditions are met.
Article 337a of the Pakistan Penal Code discusses them as injury caused
"without exposing the bone of victim, exposing the bone without causing
fracture, fracturing the bone without dislocating it, fracturing the
bone and dislocating it, fracturing the skull so that the bone touches
the brain membrane and fracture of the skull so that the wound ruptures
the brain membrane".
"Basically one cannot register
an FIR, unless blood oozes out or a bone is fractured. A bruise for
example, will be registered in a 'roznamcha' or daily diary, meaning it
is not a cognisable offence," Baloch explains.
Why do parents/teachers beat up children?
research conducted by IED-AKU during a survey of 20 public and private
schools in Karachi and Larkana reveals that parents and teachers beat up
children because this is the only way of disciplining they know of.
Some argue that it is permissible in Islam.
study, titled "Creating Child-Friendly Classrooms; Positive Disciplining
Strategies", also finds that the most common forms of corporal
punishment are; making students sit or stand in an uncomfortable
position like making them a 'Murgha', boxing the ears, taking off shirts
(for boys) and either caning their backs or making them lie down while
the teacher kicks them.
The reason cited was the need
for maintaining the classroom power structure in schools. "In our
classrooms the teacher is all-powerful," says Cassandra Fernandes, one
of the researchers who conducted the study.
Alternatives to corporal punishment
key to avoid misbehaviour by children is to make classrooms
child-friendly. Class time must be utilised constructively. Children
must not get idle time, for this is when they make mischief," says
Following the study, a tool-kit was
prepared to provide teachers with alternatives. This includes
comprehensive tips for child-friendly classrooms. Some of the
suggestions include setting up a complaint box for children.
even includes the map of a child-friendly classroom, which comprises a
class library with reading and math activity areas, apart from desks and
In a letter to Barack Obama, Alice Miller,
author of Banished Knowledge, a book on the psychological implications
of corporal punishment on children, wrote, "Spanking creates fear. In a
state of fear children's attention is totally absorbed by the strategy
of surviving. As they (children) learn from imitation they learn from us
violence and hypocrisy. They will obey at first but in the long run
they may choose to lie to avoid the next punishment." The news
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Teachers continue protest
Hyderabad: The Sindh University Teachers Association (SUTA)
and the Sindh University Employees Welfare Association (Sewa) continued their
protest on the fourth consecutive day on Monday against rejoining of
Vice-Chancellor Dr Nazir Mughal.
Activists of the two organisations took out a procession from Zero Point to
the administration block of the university where they staged a sit-in for a
couple of hours.
Addressing the protesters, SUTA president Dr Azhar Ali Shah and Sewa
president Ghulam Nabi Bhalai said Dr Mughal was misguiding the governor's
secretariat and the media regarding his support among teachers and
Meanwhile, according to a university spokesman, semester examinations were
held in the departments of pharmacy, fresh water biology and fisheries and
zoology, Institute of Commerce, Institute of Information and Communication
Technology and Sindh Development Study Centre.
He denied that students were expelled from hostels and explained that since
vacations were announced on June 29, only those students were staying in hostels
who had to appear in semester and the remaining had left for homes.
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SU VC won't succumb to pressure: Mazhar
Hyderabad: Sindh Education Minister Pir Mazharul Haq has said
that "some elements in the shape of teachers association" are targeting the
University of Sindh under a conspiracy to destroy education in the
Referring to a campaign for removal of Vice-Chancellor Dr Nazir A. Mughal,
the minister said neither he nor the VC would succumb to pressure by the
"We have faced such a situation successfully in the past and will do so now,"
he said while speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a convocation of the
Institute of Modern Science and Arts (IMSA) at a hotel on Monday.
The People's Party, other political parties and nationalists were against
such "anti-education activities", the minister added.
He regretted that on Sunday "so-called leaders of the teachers association"
used abusive language against a woman teacher.
About talks with the teachers or any action against them, he said the Sindh
government would neither talk to them nor take any action against the
"Only the vice chancellor has powers to take a decision. We cannot interfere
in the affairs of an independent institution."
Pir Mazhar said 19,000 school teachers would be appointed in Sindh and the
process would begin by recruitment of 8,000 teachers soon. As many as 4,000
dysfunctional schools would be reopened after teachers' appointment, he
Earlier, in his address to the convocation the minister said the education
department was being expanded to ensure efficient service delivery and upgrade
standard of education. Three new components Sindh education development
authority, directorate general of monitoring and evaluation and directorate
general of human resources – would be created in the department, he said.
He called upon graduates to join awareness campaign launched by the education
ministry to increase enrolment in schools.
The 18th Amendment had made education compulsory for every five-year-old, Pir
Mazhar said, adding that the Sindh Assembly was going to take up legislation to
implement the constitutional requirement.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr Nazir Mughal, the vice chancellor, accused the
Sindh University Teachers Association of damaging education and announced
establishment of a selection board for promotion of teachers, officers and
employees of the university in a week. Dawn
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Varsity faces financial crisis
Khairpur: Vice-Chancellor of Shah
Abdul Latif University (SALU) Prof Dr Nilofer Shaikh has informed the
syndicate that the university is facing a financial crisis because of
non-release of grant for the fourth quarter of the year by the Higher
The university's budget for 2012-13 was presented at a meeting of the
syndicate. The Rs1,162.425 million budget has a deficit of Rs51.245
The syndicate was also informed that the HEC had approved a grant of
Rs327.127 million for 2012-13, which was not adequate and the commission
had been requested to increase it by 53 per cent over the previous
grant as was done in the case of other universities.
The budget was recommended for approval to the university senate. The news
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SSC part-II mark sheets
Karachi: The Board of Secondary Education Karachi announced
on Monday that mark sheets of the SSC part-II (Class X) of the general group
(regular) annual examinations 2012 would be ready for collection on July
The heads of recognised secondary schools have been asked to send their
representatives with an authority letter to collect the mark
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19,000 teachers to be appointed: CM Qaim Ali Shah
Khairpur: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah said on Sunday that the
government will soon appoint 19,000 teachers on merit basis.
large public gatherings in Tharri Merwah and Faiz Ganj talukas of
Khairpur after inaugurating various development schemes, he said the
provincial government has created employment opportunities for more than
Shah said over one hundred thousand
unemployed youths have been trained through BBSYDP, out of which 30,000
to 35,000 people have got jobs in various government departments and
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YLC 2012 kicks off with 300 in attendance
Karachi: A total of 300 girls and boys from 40 cities and villages, each of them
brimming with energy, attended the inauguration of the 11th Young
Leaders Conference (YLC) by the School of Leadership (SoL) here on
The theme of this year's conference is
"dream the unseen, believe the unknown, achieve the impossible." The
event attracted students from all walks of life. "There are sons of
farmers, cobblers and labourers joining us this time," said Shireen
Naqvi, Director SoL.
The six-day conference will be
divided into five sessions: environment, economics, inter-culture,
society and politics. Each session will be mentored by specialists from
Activities will range from yoga, to
eating daal-roti to walking with tied feet: the idea behind these
activities being to create empathy. "The child with two normal feet
should know what it is like to be physically challenged."
selecting room-mates, Naqvi made sure each group had a child from each
social stratum, so that the participants could learn to celebrate their
differences. "There are times when a child from a high-end school comes
to me with complaints of a student from a village who does not know how
to use the toilet. My response would be: 'since you know how to use one,
teach him too'."
For Umair Jaliawala, a trainer at
SoL, this year's conference is particularly significant because "the YLC
enters its next decade". For him his most memorable moment in the
journey was 2003. "I received a phone call from an interested
participant who told me that had walked for two hours to find a phone
booth to call me. He belonged to a small village."
than 75 percent of the participants received scholarships, but as a
rule no one was given a free entry. Children were asked to pay whatever
they could to inculcate a respect of labour in the participants.
as far as Gilgit-Baltistan attended the conference. For Sunil Parwani,
who hails from Mithi, this was an opportunity to interact with youth
from all over the country. "Karachi is a wonderful place, it's huge."
Ali, a visually-impaired computer-whiz, found out about the conference
from the internet. "I tried to apply this year because I liked the
Students are divided in 20 groups; each
consists of 15 participants, and is headed by a young facilitator, who
has to undergo tedious training and is required to be an YLC graduate.
basically counsel them, show them around and lend them a friendly ear
throughout the six days of the conference. It's kind of like raising a
family for a few days," said one young facilitator with a laugh.
the inauguration ceremony Minister of Youth Affairs Faisal Sabzwari
said, "The YLC has partnered with the department of youth affairs for
the last three years, their efforts should be appreciated as it [the
YLC] inculcates positive energy through mentoring."
appreciated how civil society today invests in its youth. "In our days
we roamed around in the streets, and learnt from trial and error."
The minister, along with his secretary Shoaib Siddiqui, sat with young leaders and mentored them during a session. The news
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