Sunday, April 19, 2009

Elementary school. Torture. Girl dies :-(

Torture--no, not the "enhanced interrogation" and other techniques used by Cheney, et al.
This is from a different part of the world. Not of a terrorist. An eleven year old girl tortured to death because she could not recite the English alphabet :-( The following is an editorial from The Hindu:
Teaching without torture

It is now widely accepted round the world that the deliberate humiliation of children, either through corporal punishment or otherwise, is antithetical to learning as well as the well-being of children. The heart-rending death of 11-year-old Delhi schoolgirl Shanno Khan following brutal punishment by her teacher for failing to recite the full English alphabet string is a stark reminder of the torture that sometimes goes on in the name of pedagogy in several Indian schools. Shanno, according to her older sister, was made to stand in a murga position [a common form of punishment where the victim is forced to hold her or his ears with hands passed under the legs] for over two hours in the hot sun and even placed seven bricks on her back. When the girl asked for water, the teacher kicked her and her head hit a wall and she began to bleed from the nose. Shanno lost consciousness on returning home, and died two days later in hospital after slipping into a coma. This may seem an extreme case of punishment gone horribly wrong but it does highlight a fairly widespread practice in Indian schools.

In 2000 the Supreme Court of India banned corporal punishment for children and directed the state to ensure that they received education in an environment of freedom and dignity, free from fear. In the same year, the Delhi High Court struck down the provision for corporal punishment in the Delhi School Education Rules, noting that such punishment went against a child’s dignity and was not in tune with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which India was a signatory. The National Policy on Education states that corporal punishment would be firmly excluded from the educational systems. Following incidents of suicide by students terrorised by teachers, States such as Goa and Tamil Nadu outlawed corporal punishment. The rule providing for such punishment in Tamil Nadu was replaced by a section that recommended that children should be given an opportunity to learn from their errors through corrective measures such as imposition and suspension from class. However, enforcement is weak and instances of corporal punishment continue to be reported from across India. In fact, many schools practise a variety of methods of physical and emotional punishment. Occasionally, when teachers find mild forms of punishment ineffective, they resort to third degree methods of the kind that caused Shanno’s death. It is time authorities as well as parents and the public mobilised to make it absolutely clear that corporal punishment or any form of deliberate infliction of pain and humiliation on schoolchildren, supposedly for their own good, would not be tolerated any longer.

Wondering what "murga" punishment is? Here is an explanation from Wikipedia.

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