Dehradun: A global Swedish NGO is making efforts to end corporal punishment in schools here.
SPARKE (Supporting Positive Alternative for Raising Kindness in Education) was initially started as a pilot project in 2007 by SOIR-IM (Swedish Organisation for Individual Relief).
In its third phase now, the project aims to develop a reference book or teaching guide on practical alternatives to corporal punishment for teachers, a short animated video and a comic book for junior students.
Presently, 24 schools in the Himalayan region are participating in this project. These include 15 in India and nine in Nepal. Out of these, five are in Dehradun.
“Corporal punishment in government and private schools is deeply ingrained as a tool to discipline the children. It perpetuates the cycle of violence as it teaches the kid to accept violence, said a SPARKE official.
The project aims to increase democratic development at the schools, reduce bullying and corporal punishment in the classrooms and to improve the school’s physical environment.
A study carried out by the Child Line India Foundation between 2009 and 2011 found that students experienced corporal punishment in 95% of the 198 schools in the 11 states where the study was carried out.
Prior to the launch, the SPARKE project found that 83.3 % of the teachers had used corporal punishment. The modes of punishment included forcing children to stay in uncomfortable or painful positions, twisting ears, slapping, pinching, caning or kicking children. The students were also given verbal punishments. Prior to the project, 72.28% of the teachers wanted to find alternatives to corporal punishment and 87.74% though that the teaching staff needed training in alternative disciplining methods.
Project Coordinator of SPARKE project Tenzin Lhawang said the workshops are being continuously held at the schools under this project. Corporal punishment is prohibited in schools under the right to free and compulsory education act 2009.