By Raj Gonsalkorale –
In a unique initiative, Stop Child Cruelty, a Colombo-based social organization dedicated to ending corporal punishment in schools, has launched an exciting competition for children, as part of efforts to raise awareness of its ongoing campaign, End Corporal Punishment in Sri Lanka – Vision 2020 (ECP2020).
The National Art/Poster/Poetry Competition running from 1 – 18 November 2018 under the slogan ‘Sri Lanka without Corporal Punishment by 2020’, is offering participants fabulous prizes including a grant of 10,000 rupees to the winners in three categories. This competition has been endorsed by the Sri Lankan education authorities and several leading school principals have already agreed to lend support to this initiative.
The first phase of the ECP2020 campaign is dedicated to eliminating corporal punishment in schools. The campaign, which was launched on 1 September 2018, is organised by Stop Child Cruelty in collaboration with the Presidential Secretariat, ‘Daruwan Surakimu’ and the Sri Lanka Foundation Institute, and is supported by leading personalities in the capacity of Patrons, as well as an Alliance of Professionals.
Commenting on the launch of the novel competition, Chairperson of Stop Child Cruelty, Dr. Tush Wickramanayaka, said: “As the child is the main stakeholder in the ECP2020 campaign, it is also important that we get the children involved and help them understand the issues, as they are in a position to contribute directly to help end corporal punishment, A key goal is to empower children in a way they are able to play an influential role in spreading awareness and ensuring the success of this campaign. The child’s views on alternative discipline is relevant in managing simple classroom disruption. It is also imperative that the child and the adult take ownership for their behavior. Hopefully, this competition would become an annual event where children too can be actively involved in the law making process. The competition that we have launched is also timely, as 20th November is Universal Children’s Day. We invite Sri Lankan children to make use of this opportunity to showcase their talent, enhance their knowledge, and also be rewarded for their efforts.”
The competition for children is one of several events and activities that will be held during the campaign, and follows hard on the heels of the ‘Walk for Real Change’ that was held in Colombo on 30 September, a march by people from different cultural backgrounds and from all walks of life to raise awareness of cruelty to children in schools and the need to end this inhumane practice.
The events on the 30th September 2018 culminated in the handing over of a proposal termed the Pentagon proposals to His Excellency President Maithripala Sirisena at the Independence Hall in Colombo.
Besides the Presidential Secretariat and the “Daruwan Surakimu” project, the campaign to end Corporal punishment in schools by 2020 has the active support and encouragement of the Minister for Education and Higher Education Mr Wijedasa Rajapaksa. He has linked the cruelty inflicted on children while at school to the insidious practice of Ragging in universities and has vowed to end ragging and coporal punishment in schools.
The art competition entries can cover topics such as How Corporal Punishment affected my life?, Why I want Corporal Punishment to End in 2020?, My vision: Life without Corporal Punishment or What alternative disciplinary measures would I prefer instead of Corporal Punishment?. Competition rules stipulate that children of ages 7-11 years (born in 2011 -2007) and of ages 12-18 years (born in 2006 to 2000) are eligible to participate in the competition. Entries can be submitted in three different categories – Art, Poster and Poetry – and in the three languages of Sinhala, Tamil and English, and in any medium whether it is crayons, pencil, water colours etc.
One child can submit up to three entries, one for each of the categories. All entries should be of A4 size on any paper. At the back of the entry the contestant has to write the Name, Date of Birth, Address, Grade (Class), and have it certified by either Parent or Teacher. Entries should be sent to Stop Child Cruelty, 115 Kynsey Road, Colombo 8. The closing date for entries is 12 November.
Winners will receive their prizes at an awards ceremony that will be held on Sunday, 18 November from 10am -12noon at the Sri Lanka Foundation Institute in Colombo under the patronage of Mr Wijedasa Rajapaksa, Minister of Education and Higher Education.