23 July, 2019

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Justifying Teachers Beating Children: Angry Child Rights Expert Says Maithri Tapping Into Teacher Vote Bank

While a senior official attached to the National Child Protection Authority (NCPA) took on a more softer stance to the recent justification by President Maithripala Sirisena on the importance of parents needing to understand what drives a teacher or a principal to beat a child, a child rights expert hit out at Sirisena terming his recent utterance as an attempt to gain more popularity and votes from the teacher population.

Sajeeva Samaranayake, Deputy Chairman of the NCPA said that the recent statement made by the President was more or less the ‘perspective’ of the teachers. “This is important because in a school, children, teachers and parents must all learn to listen, respect and value the perspectives of each other,” he told Colombo Telegraph.

Maithripala Sirisena

Maithripala Sirisena

He went on to add that the duty of the NCPA as a child rights institution is to draw attention to the perspectives of children. “What do the children who are at the receiving end of corporal punishment say?,” he asked. Samaranayake noted that child rights is about learning and understanding that the powerless and voiceless also have something important to say.

“I am quite sure that the President also understands this. What he was doing is drawing attention to one side. We must not over-react and jump to conclusions on the general issue,” he said.

However, a visibly irked child rights expert who wished to remain anonymous claimed that Sirisena was merely trying to increase his popularity and vote base among the teachers. “It is important for the head of state to be aware of world standards set by the United Nations. The Convention of the Rights of the Child (CRC ) came into existence in 1989, and the Sri Lankan Government ratified it in July 1991. I am sure the President was in Parliament at that time,” he said.

In the CRC article 28 (2) it specifically states: States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to ensure that school discipline is administered in a manner consistent with the child’s human dignity and in conformity with the present Convention.

The child right expert went on to castigate the President on ground that as a leader, he cannot afford to be ignorant on such matters. He also blamed Sirisena’s unprofessional advisors for being the reason behind Sirisena’s recent absurd utterance. He said that it was important that the President obtained the services of proper advisors who were professionally qualified and also had the necessary experience.

“I think there are two facets to his ill-advised statement; one is that he indirectly wanted to hit out at the UN, and the second is that by giving such statements, Sirisena had the opportunity to take advantage from the teacher voter bank,” he said.

Meanwhile, Samaranayake noted that while it is evident that society is violent, it was important to encourage teachers not to hit children and instead attention must be paid to develop their environment including attitudes and skills. “If not they will simply shift to psychological aggression against students. This may not leave visible marks but is sometimes more damaging to children. The point is to listen to children,” he said.

“Behavior is an area where much is expected, but very little is given by way of solid example and instruction – to both adults and children. Our administrators, principals and teachers must recognize this and act fast,” he added.

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Latest comments

  • 7
    3

    “Spare the rod and spoil the child” – old saying.

    Long ago, there were “Public canings” – five cuts with a cane, on the outstretched palms of schoolboys who had committed serious misdemeanours in school during school hours.
    This was done during the early morning school assemblies in a provincial Christian Boys School which had education up to the Senior School Certificate level in the English medium.(children of other faiths too attended).
    It was the shame, more than the pain which made the miscreants behave correctly later on.

    The degree of discipline was very high.

  • 10
    1

    A politico came into a school and made the teacher be on the knees as tit for tat for the teacher punishing a child to be on the knees. That was the Jarapassa times when Ranil Wickramasinghe was the Leader of the Opposition and he made a statement in Parliament similar to the President said now regarding punishments by school heads and teachers. At that time, kids dared not tell the parents that they got a beating in school because the next instant the parents would beat the child for being beaten in school. Neither Ranil nor Maithree are telling lies. I am about 6 to 8 years junior to them in age and that was the norm then. No human rights, No Child Protection Authority. I subscribe to the opinion that politicians should learn to take criticism but to say that Maithree made that statement to attract teachers vote, to me, is unfair and without base. I must ask what election has he got to face now? It is equally preposterous to say that Ranil made a statement at that time with a motive, say again to attract votes of the teachers.

    Having gone through the mill of beating, where you are given the best of six strokes of the cane to your bottom for the slightest thing, I believe that there are a lot of other methods to bring up a child without beating and beating if required should be perhaps as the last resort. Even in my time, there were a very minority of kids who derive pleasure in getting beaten and they commit all kind of pranks for that purpose. That is the negative side of beating. “Spare the rod and spoil the child” should be reserved for the past for most of the instances.

    What is more important is that a child should never be punished in anger, even to write 100 lines promising not to repeat the offence and that is what aggravates things and lead the child to make complaints. I know an instance where a school head in a private school administered the six of his best on a teenager’s bottom resulting in bad bruises, afer much talking with affection and counselling thereafter. But the child never complained and caused a commotion that because he was told with affection that was the misdeed committed as an adult would necessarily attract a prison term. Further, the child was told in advance, that purposely very painful and inconvenient punishment would be given so that it would be a lesson for life and that as a teacher it would cause much pain to hear many years later that a former student is imprisoned for not being corrected at an early age. On the contrary, a child was once slapped in his face for an offence, but it was administered in anger. The result? A lot of complaints and finally the teacher had to leave that school.

    Bringing up children is a subject by itself and this commentator simply cannot do that in a few lines in commentary.

  • 7
    0

    I sensed a higher level of trepidation in his voice.

    I imagine he had received word his son had vandalized a nightclub. So the desire to re-invoke corporal punishment was made in this context.

    Well, this will be a milestone moment for him and also signal whether Sri Lanka has really broken a barrier towards quality governance.

    • 1
      0

      I hope he give his son a good kanepara and lock him in a dark rook with a bottle of water,take his privileges as he had not considered his father’s position in the country.
      Prez must put is own house right.He should send his son to prison,not hospital for rehabilitation or create a boot camp in the army to rehabilitate these privileged young.
      I would not hesitate to do that to my only son who is doing well holding a good job and a role model to his colleagues.

  • 4
    1

    As the Father of a Irresponsible Son, He probably wishes that the Teachers had punished the Son more severely for His Misdemeanors.

  • 2
    2

    Some children need reasonable discipline.

    • 4
      0

      jim softy dimwit

      “Some children need reasonable discipline.”

      Do you blame your absentee father for lack of discipline/brain in you?

  • 2
    0

    A school classroom is the only place where an adult can cane, slap, punch, humiliate and beat a child without being taken to court.

    These cruel and degrading methods of control only display the teacher’s weakness and inability to run his class. Any teacher who assaults a child should be sacked and charged with assault.

    Control of a classroom can easily be maintained with inspired teaching and the threat of expulsion.

    However, I haven’t the slightest doubt that anything will change.

  • 1
    0

    “Justifying Teachers Beating Children:”

    why didn’t sirisena beat his son without expecting teachers to do the dirty work for him.before he was 10 years old if he had given him a good hiding he would have been more disciplined now.spare the rod and spoil the child,but it is the father who should do that,not the teachers.teachers should inform the father.

    the teachers job is to teach children,not to bring them up.The father has to do that job and sirisena and mahinda have both not done their duty by their sons.

  • 0
    0

    i have a very mixed opinion on this matter. I have seen plenty of kids in my school get a fair few beatings, most often the teachers honestly have no anger towards the child per say, and one of the most influential teachers i’ve had used to beat the living crap out of some kids, but then would speak really kindly to them five minutes later. Of course we also had the few asswipes who just enjoyed beating kids because they were miserable about being stuck in a dead end job with abysmal wages. So i think it’s mostly the intentions that matter on this case, and the cane is more or less a part of our culture. But the president actually condoning this is idiotic, and completely against the law of the country, and i can imagine how uncomfortable that NCPA dude must’ve been, trying to defend the the president’s dumb statement. OF course in light of recent events, clearly his own son could’ve clearly used a few more beatings growing up. “Fatal beatings” preferably.

  • 0
    0

    The offence of Cruelty to children was introduced in Sri Lanka under section 71 of Children and young person ordinance and there was a provision under section 71(6) which read thus:- Nothing in this section shall be construed as affecting the right of any parent,teacher or other person having lawful control or charge of a child or young person to administer punishment to him. but this law is no more in operation in the country and section 308 a of penal code is now in operation and there is no any exception to justify the corporal punishment imposed by teachers. The education department has issued administration circulars prohibiting corporal punishments in school. Nevertheless if President Maithripala Sirisena stated any thing within the scope of section 82 of penal code, justifying the corporal punishment by teachers, the president’s stand is correct other vice President cant justify corporal punishment in schools

  • 0
    0

    The Deputy chair appears to be a sleezy, slimy character! Holding the post of Deputy NCPA DOES not mean he can hold pandam and change Government policy/laws or UN standards just because MY3 has been misinformed by the gutter snipes holding on to him. If MY3 is wrong he is wrong! If Daham is wrong he is wrong! Just because it is the hierarchy one cannot bend rules of Yahapalanaya! In time to come when the next government comes Daham will be the first to be prosecuted!! It may not be far!
    NCPA DEPUTY guy probably is also a hanger on! If he is a lawyer then he should not hold the post!
    Subha Anagathayak!

  • 1
    0

    Physical punishment, ie caning, slapping or similar is simply an anachronistic practice whose time has long past. It should have no place in the forms of punishment that are available to parents, teachers and others in positions of authority. Hitting someone, including a child, is a criminal act and their are laws against it.

    The President has been misguided in his thinking or wrongly advised, and should correct himself.

    But don’t hold your breath.

  • 1
    0

    Beating a child is child abuse – period. Whether done by parents or teachers it is a barbaric way of disciplining.

    “Spare the rod and spoil the child” – old saying’. Well justice, it is an old saying not suited to modern days.

    Humanity and Sri Lanka in particular must move away from all forms of barbaric practices. If the teacher has a right to beat an errant child, the monk must also have the right to beat the samanera, the husband his wife and the police officer the law breakers. At the end we will become a nation where we will beat each other for one thing or another.

    • 1
      0

      Teaching appointments have been given in run of the mill state schools also for “Counsellors”. That is the correct modern approach!

      Unfortunately, what is happening now is that there are periodic rounds of giving “Aanduwe pathweem” to all sorts of graduates, many of them telling you that their degrees were done in the “English Medium” – but they just don’t know ANY English. I hope that these “Counselling” courses are better.

      We can’t escape seeing references to Daham Sirisena. Most of those opposing corporal punishment, have been faulting Maithripala for sparing the rod! There were alternatives, developed about seventy-five years ago, which the cultured and tender-hearted “Spring Koha” would never approve of:

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lobotomy

      You could perform something like that and turn Daham in to a literal moron incapable of harming anyone. Rather like castrating a rapist, that would be.

      Dear “BBS Rep”, some of these may turn out to be more barbaric than the sort of thing that Maithri describes, without really prescribing. You’ve got to LISTEN to what he says. Things are taken to absurd lengths in certain schools, and I wouldn’t want to single out State / village schools. Actually, schools catering to the very rich also have problems stemming from the fact that the teacher usually comes from a much humbler background than the students.

      Today, when counselling fails, the kid will be turned over to psychiatrists, who administer all sorts of drugs. That doesn’t appeal to me either, but for a guy like Daham it may be necessary. In fact I’ve been putting that advice on every article on the subject that has been appearing on CT these past two days.

      I’d say that today every teacher knows that corporal punishment is taboo. But there ARE some guys in the middle who do punish in a principled way. And then, there are the Dickensian monsters. We just shouldn’t be too dogmatic. Teaching is an art. Just because something is modern and “Western” it needn’t be embraced! This morning I heard Hillary Clinton and that horrible man Donald Trump in their second debate. It looks as though Trump is finished, but we’ve had Mano Ratwatte warning us for a long time that he could well get elected!

      Sirisena is no monster!

      • 2
        0

        Sinhala_Man

        ‘Sirisena is no monster!’…but Daham is a shit nevertheless. What we see now is a child who was indulged in and tolerated by his teachers, because his father was a politician. He has grown up to believe in entitlement and this has led to his behaving with impunity. Daham is now a man, and if he continues to behave like this, the day will come when, like his uncle, someone will administer the final coup de grace and finish him off.

        Let Daddy and Mummy be warned.

        • 0
          0

          Dear “Spring Koha”,

          I have assessed you to be a decent and humane person, and as such you too would like to see the personal tragedy being averted. I agree that all the news we’ve go on this (in the public domain) confirms you prognosis to be correct.

          There’s also all the harm that this could do to the entire country.

          We can only make our observations – because it would be a shame to have all of this leading to tragedy.

  • 1
    0

    These forms of punishments are banned in almost all developed countries and their’s no evidence the children misbehave more than usual. Some school teachers seem to enjoy sexual gratification caning children on their buttocks. Expensive public schools in UK like Eton and Harrow used to leave the punishments to the head boy to deliver and it was abused and now predictably banned. They discovered these head boys and their victims suffered horrific sexual degredaation in later life.

  • 2
    0

    “It is important for the head of state to be aware of world standards set by the United Nations. The Convention of the Rights of the Child (CRC ) came into existence in 1989…”

    Caning is common in Singapore. They will cane you for throwing a plastic cup on the street. Does it work? Yes. Very clean city. Beating a child also has its advantages. Once the child becomes an adult, it will be harder to discipline him/her. He/she will face harder punishments as an adult than a child.

  • 0
    0

    Why DJ & HLDM are silent on this ? Is it because if they speak up ,then readers will ask them why they do not raise the crimes committed by junior Rajapakses ?

    Any books or papers written on the political culture & practices in contemporary SL by DJ ?

  • 0
    0

    With the recent uttering, I guess the president needs a vacation to take some rest, and importantly to watch old media clips of his own campaigns during late 2015’s elections.

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