January 2nd, 2021
By Bilal Sheikh
Teachers have been told not to violate a law on banning corporal punishments in schools across the federal territory.
The Islamabad Capital Territory Prohibition of Corporal Punishment Act 2021 went into force across the federal territory after President Arif Alvi gave his assent on December 1. In a directive on December 22, the Federal Directorate of Education (FDE) has directed all public and private schools to ensure strict compliance with the law banning any form of corporal punishments to students, warning that teachers could major penalties for violations. The FDE regulates 423 educational institutions in the capital.
The law imposes penalties of compulsory retirement and dismissal from service for teachers found involved in corporal punishment.
All heads of educational institutions have been informed about the new law and the FDE will take action in case of its violation, the directorate’s spokesperson Abdul Waheed told Voicepk.net.
Waheed said teachers violating the ban on corporal punishment could face two types of actions – minor and major penalties.
“The minor penalties included censuring, withholding of promotion and increment, and recovery from pay,” he said
Under major penalties, a teacher found guilty could face demotion to a lower post or time scale, compulsory retirement, removal and dismissal from service, he explained.
Mehnaz Akber Aziz, who tabled the legislation, hoped that the law would be replicated in all provinces of the country. “Similar laws proposed in the Gilgit-Baltistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa assemblies have not been enacted yet,” she told Voicepk.net.
As a parliamentarian, Aziz said, she had a responsibility to campaign for legislation to ban corporal punishments in educational institutions across Pakistan. She called for a public awareness campaign against corporal punishments for children. “We are seeing a rise in corporal punishment,” she said.
“Most of the violence children face happens in schools and institutions and we need to stop that from happening there,” the parliamentarian said.
The law prohibits violence against children in all educational institutions and workplaces. According to the Act, corporal punishment refers to punishment that involves the use of physical force. It also details the forms of violence used against children that will be considered illegal henceforth.
One of the reasons attributed to the higher dropout rate in schools and low learning outcomes of students is physical punishment and castigation of students by teachers, according to educationists and child rights activists.
Pakistan has ratified the United Nations Convention on Rights of Child which obligates a signatory state to protect children from all forms of physical and mental violence and mistreatment.
There are about 25 million children out of schools in the country. Strict implementation of the law banning corporal punishments in schools would lead to improvement in education standards as well as literacy across the federal territory.