‘80pc children experience violent discipline’

September 07, 2018

Kathmandu, September 6

Over 80 per cent of Nepali children, aged between one and 14 years, experience violent discipline. A significant number of toddlers, more than half, aged between one and two years, are disciplined with the use of physical force.

The vast majority of children experience violence at the hands of those entrusted with taking  care of them, according to the data of the 2014 study by Central Bureau of Statistics and UNICEF Nepal. Similarly, almost every child in Nepal experiences some form of violent discipline by their parents, teachers or caregivers. Violent discipline affects children from rich and poor households alike.

The statistics are alarming. Seventy per cent children face psychological aggression, while over 50 per cent of children are subjected to general physical punishment  and among them, 14 per cent face more severe forms of physical punishment. The consequences of these forms of discipline are wide ranging and long-term in nature, including learning disabilities, behavioural disorders and depression.

In some instances, the physical harm inflicted on children have led tragically to death, stated a press release issued by UNICEF Nepal today. “Protecting children forms the foundations for building peaceful societies. However, four out of five children experience violent discipline, often out of sight, and this is tolerated due to social and cultural norms,” said UNICEF Nepal Deputy Representative Rownak Khan in the press release.

“The laws and policies in Nepal clearly prohibit corporal punishment and a code of conduct for teachers specifically prohibits the use of physical or mental violence on students. We can address this national issue and together with all those entrusted with caring for children, find ways to positively discipline and guide the future generation of this country,” Khan added.

Every day children are experiencing different levels of violence across all stages of childhood and in all settings – at home, at school, in their communities and online.

According to a new global report released by UNICEF today, half of students aged 13 to 15 worldwide – around 150 million – report having experienced peer-to-peer violence in and around school. The report ‘An Everyday Lesson:#ENDviolence in Schools’ says that peer violence – measured as the number of children who report having been bullied in the last month or having been involved in a physical fight in the last year – is a pervasive part of young people’s education around the world. It impacts student learning and well-being in rich and poor countries alike.

In Nepal, according to the Global School-based Student Health Survey Nepal 2015, more than 50 per cent of students aged between 13 and 15 years reported being bullied on one or more days during the 30 days before the survey.

According to the press release, to counteract the situation, the Government of Nepal has been carrying out important initiatives on both operational and legal fronts. The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology has established a school-based reporting mechanism ‘Suggestion box’ to promote reporting cases of various forms of violence experienced by the students, including corporal punishment by teachers and bullying by peers.

As per the Complaint Response Mechanism Guidelines 2073 BS by the Centre for Education and Human Resource Development, all secondary schools countrywide should appoint one female teacher as gender focal person and compulsorily establish a suggestion box in schools.

A version of this article appears in print on September 07, 2018 of The Himalayan Times.

Source: The Himalayan Times