Tag: Education

Corporal Punishment

Spare the rod, spoil the child.

Corporal punishment to students has become a controversial subject. There have been instances of excessive beating by teachers, causing injury and sometimes death. TV channels reported it for a day, some discussed it for a few minutes and everything was forgotten. A boy from La Martiniere in Calcutta died in February. After three and half months the death became controversial.

The boy was beaten on 8/2/2010. For the next three days he did not attend the school. On 12/2/2010 he attended the school. That day he was not beaten. He was told to bring his parents. The principal claimed there was no connection between beating and death. Alumni of La Martiniere came in defence of the school. If TV channels expected widespread condemnation of corporal punishment or the teachers or principal of La Martiniere they were disappointed.

Corporal punishment of students was banned in many states years back but it continues. Sometimes parents tell teachers to beat their children if they do not study or misbehave. Indian Penal Code allows it. Some want change in the Indian Penal Code.

Some have come in defence of corporal punishment. Some oppose corporal punishment. They say there should be counselling. What happens when counselling fails? The student has to be expelled from the school.

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Educational institutions and freedom of religion

Educational institutions have the right to make rules. Those who study in them have to abide by the rules.

People of India have freedom of religion.

It is unreasonable for any student to ask the management to change the rules because his/her religion says otherwise.

One Muslim student was not allowed to keep beard. He went to court. The Supreme Court dismissed his appeal. One judge talked of talibanisation. Some reacted strongly to that comment. The judge apologized. He should not have apologized. Now there is a review petition.

One Muslim female student did not want to abide by the dress code of SVS College, Bantwal, which forbade headscarf/burkha and could not attend the college.

It is not obligatory for a Muslim man to keep beard. Many Muslim men in India and abroad do not keep beard. Rafsanjani, who was President of Iran, did not keep beard. Most of the leaders in Pakistan do not keep beard.

In Islam woman is expected to dress modestly. Modesty is a matter of interpretation. Many Muslim women do not wear burkha/headscarf. It was strange to see some champions of women’s rights talking in favour of women wearing burkha/headscarf which otherwise is condemned as symbol of oppression and discrimination.

Freedom of religion which is subject to some limitations. What happens if everyone wants to exercise his/her freedom of religion in a college? What if a Digambar Jain or Naga Sadhu comes naked to a college claiming freedom of religion? What if a Muslim man asks lecturer to stop the class because it is time for Namaz? It is all right for a Muslim school to allow or ask its male students to keep beard and make burkha/headscarf compulsory to its female students but not all right for Muslim students to ask Non-Muslim schools and colleges to change their rules or exempt them from rules. If a Sikh man or Christian priest or nun wants admission in SVS College they have to follow the rules.

Most of the Muslim students follow the rules of schools and colleges without any problem. Few students create problems. Muslim students who follow the rules do not make news. Muslim students who do not follow the rules make news.

Examinations are necessary

Kapil Sibal, India’s HRD Minister, has announced plans for abolition of Board Examinations for Std X and Std XII. He wants grades to be given in place of marks. He wants one Board for India. There are many other plans. I want to comment on exams and marks.

The reason given for abolition of Board Examinations is they cause stress for students. Examinations by themselves are not cause for stress. In big cities good colleges are few and High Schools are many. To get admission in good colleges there is tough competition. Sometimes 90% marks are not enough. There are some colleges for which there is not much competition. The solution is to increase the number of good colleges. There has to be some criteria for admission to colleges. If Board Examinations are done away with there will be tests for admissions to colleges. There will be stress to pass those tests. The stress is more for students who want admission to engineering or medical colleges.

Marks give the exact percentage. Grades give general percentage. A grade may mean 90% – 100% marks. If there are 50 seats and 100 students with A grade apply how will be admissions decided? In one college a student with 98% may get admission and a student with 97% may not get admission. If there is one seat and both have got A grade and applied on what basis admission will be made?

What system USA and UK follow is not our business. Their system need not be better than what we follow. These countries are bankrupt.

A student who wants to develop her personality while in high school can do so. S/he can spend time in extra-curricular activities but should not expect to be treated as equal to students who study more and get more marks.

When there are more applicants than seats there will be those who do not get admissions. Those who get admissions will be happy. Some of those who do not get admissions will demand change in system. In Delhi admission to Nursery used to be by tests. It was said that the tests caused stress to children. Tests were abolished. Point system was introduced. A child of the locality will get five points. A girl of the locality will get five points. A child with sibling in the school will get five points. There were some other criteria on which points were given. As usual applicants were more than seats. The parents of those who did not get seats wanted to revert to tests.