In KP schools, the stick reigns supreme

  • After being flogged by her teacher for not securing what the instructor regarded as good marks in a test, eight-year-old Iqra changed her school and now attends Libra Public School. — Photo by author

    PESHAWAR: Eight-year-old Iqra resumed schooling in Peshawar after a two-week gap. She is now at a new school, quitting the previous one after she was brutally beaten by a teacher for failing to obtain what the teacher deemed good marks in a test.

    Terrified at the thought of being flogged again, she had vehemently refused to go back to the same school.

    Eight-year-old Iqra displays her marks of the beating after being flogged by her teacher for not securing good marks in a test. — Photo by author

    Eight-year-old Iqra displays her marks of the beating after being flogged by her teacher for not securing good marks in a test. — Photo by author

    "The fear, however, is still very much there," said her mother. "The incident left a very negative impact on her mind, and she has been unable to get over the trauma."

    Iqra's family was not reassured even when the school principal — with whom they lodged a complaint —assured them that the teacher in question would be terminated. Their daughter's fearful state after the incident coupled with the negligent attitude of the school administration whom they blamed for the incident prompted them to change schools.

    The third-grader is now enrolled at Libra Public School in the city area of Peshawar.

    Recounting the ordeal, Iqra said her Islamiat teacher Nasreen Bibi conducted a test and after checking her test paper, she beat her with a piece of wood.

    “No one came forward to stop her,” said the whimpering child.

    "She is a good student, but the teacher conducted a surprise test which is why she failed to obtain good marks," said the child's mother.

    Eight-year-old Iqra displays marks of torture after being flogged by her teacher for not securing "good marks" in a test. — Photo by author

    Eight-year-old Iqra displays marks of torture after being flogged by her teacher for not securing "good marks" in a test. — Photo by author

    Showing the marks of beating on her body, Iqra mumbled that her teacher hit her on her arms, legs and back.

    Teachers big on corporal punishment

    Iqra is among hundreds of students who are beaten for what teachers regard as poor performance in school tests.

    Educationists and child rights workers say corporal punishment, which is adopted with the notion of disciplining children, has become an intrinsic part of KP's academic culture.

    “In our society, elders possess the right to punish children when they commit mistakes; the same culture is followed in schools,” said Ahmed, a child rights worker.

    Even though Section 89 of Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) allows 'light' punishment, educationists and psychologists strongly oppose corporal punishment and abuse in any form.

    "Physical punishment and abuse creates fear among students," said Ahmed Ali, who teaches psychology at a private institution. He adds that it causes the student to develop hatred towards the teacher and the school administration.

    "It discourages students and undermines their confidence level," he said, adding that punishment and physical abuse also results in under-developed personalities.

    Not just schools, children are subjected to beatings at their homes, in the streets and even in bazaars.

    "Government and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) need to run a massive awareness drive to educate people about the harmful impacts of corporal punishment," said Ali.

    "Corporal punishment is especially common in government schools," said Farhan, a student of Government Higher Secondary School No. 1 in Peshawar.

    "Despite being a student of Class 10, I don't have the courage to speak up against my teachers for such demeaning acts."

    Despite child rights law, no avail

    The provincial government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa had introduced a law for safeguarding child rights in 2010.

    Under Sections 34 and 35 of the KP Child Rights Act, all forms of corporal punishment are prohibited which is in stark contrast to Section 89 of the PPC 1860 which allows parents and teachers to punish children in order to discipline them.

    Farhan said that the government has failed to curb corporal punishment in schools.

    Corporal punishment — dropping out of school

    The Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (Sparc) — a non-governmental organization working for child rights — cites corporal punishment as one of the main reasons behind the high number of school dropouts in KP.

    According to a rough estimate by Sparc, more than a hundred students in the past year in KP dropped out of school due to the fear of being physically punished.

    "Teachers need to be educated on how beating and abusing students has a negative impact on them," said Sparc manager Muhammad Khalid.

    "Sparc has provided training to almost five thousand teachers in five districts of the province, but it is not enough. The government should start training sessions to create awareness among teachers," he said.

    "Corporal punishment is also strictly prohibited in Islam," said Nazar Hussain, who is the deputy chairman at the Education Council of Pakistan.

    "Teachers need to cultivate a friendly and nurturing environment in the classroom, and teach students with love and affection."

    Read: Corporal punishment: Spare the rod

    Like other educationists, Nazar is also scornful of the government's role in eliminating corporal punishment from schools.

    "I don't know any case where a guilty teacher has been penalized for engaging in these counterproductive acts."

  • Over 70 per cent of teachers in Pakistan agree with the statement that corporal punishment is useful, shows a study launched by the education campaign Alif Ailaan.

    This was just among the several findings of the study on teachers in Pakistan, especially government school teachers, about whom very little is known, especially when it comes to the challenges they face and the support they need to do their jobs well.

    The Voice of Teachers, the study on Pakistani teachers, highlights the struggles of men and women who are charged with the task of educating this country’s children, often under the most difficult circumstances.

    Conducted by the Society for the Advancement of Education (SAHE), in partnership with Alif Ailaan, the study is based on an extensive survey of more than 1,250 teachers and head teachers in government and private schools across the country.

    The survey interviewed 1,264 teachers (823 teachers and 441 head teachers) from 634 government and private schools in 15 districts, covering urban and rural areas in all four provinces. Its findings challenge many of the myths surrounding Pakistan’s teaching workforce.

    The study also delves into issues that have received public attention in recent years: political interference, the role of teachers’ associations, recruitment, transfers and postings. Here too, what teachers have to say is surprising. Most government teachers state that they were hired on merit, with just 20 per cent reporting that their recruitment did not follow official procedures and just one per cent using political influence.

    Among the issues that hamper a teachers’ ability to perform effectively are overcrowded classrooms, multi-grade teaching, poor quality textbooks, and the lack of facilities and equipment. For government school teachers, non-teaching duties are a major concern. Teachers in the survey claim that they spend an average of 53 days a year on non-teaching duties.

    Despite these and many other challenges, an overwhelming majority of teachers surveyed report that they are satisfied in their jobs.

    “It is easy to blame teachers for the failures of the education system,” said Saman Naz, Alif Ailaan's Research Director.

    “But our findings tell a different story. While there are teachers who renege on their duties and abuse the system, they are by no means in the majority.”

  • Even Shirazi Jee got corporal punishment to make him agree to his Friday Teacher that "Shias" should be regarded as minority.

    Corporal punishment does show results that's why teachers who don't have intelligence do it.

  • In general, Pakistan is an abusive society where physical torture is considered normal and legal. Parents beat children, teachers torture students, husbands mistreat wives or brothers ill-treat sisters.

    This is one of the biggest differences I saw when got out of Pakistan; In west, children have rights. No parent, teacher of anyone can physically harm them, and if they do there are serious consequences. Mothers and fathers have gone to jail over ill-treatment of their kids and sometimes lose custody of their children over an abuse.

    The most painful fact is that most Pakistanis, parents, husbands, or teachers, think that its okay to be abusive and torture kids and wives. This is nothing but shameful!

    Quran sanctions torture in Surah Al-Nisa, so torture is a necessary tool. Torture and punishment are mentioned so many times in Quran that one wonders if God himself enjoys torture & suffering.

  • @Qarar Jee

    "Quran sanctions torture in Surah Al-Nisa, so torture is a necessary tool."

    Quran does not sanction torture, you have misinterpretation.

  • @curiousity jee

    I recommend you read 4:34.

    Men are in charge of women by

    <div class="bbcode_right" style="text-align:right">what Allah has given one over the other and what they spend [for maintenance] from their wealth. So righteous women are devoutly obedient, guarding in [the husband's] absence what Allah would have them guard. But those [wives] from whom you fear arrogance - [first] advise them; [then if they persist], forsake them in bed; and [finally], strike them. But if they obey you [once more], seek no means against them. Indeed, Allah is ever Exalted and Grand.


  • QararSaheb

    Due to this kind of physical and mental torture a boy of 15 became heavily criminal in Pakistan and told his story after suffering many years in Pakistan jails that how and why he became a dangerous criminal. In the school time he was beaten up by his sadist teachers, and in the evening by his extremely brutal father. So he decided to become criminal and committed a bank robbery in a broad day light as his first crime of his life. The rest of his story is also full of major crimes. At the age of 50 he committed suicide and died just after release from his last imprisonment in Pakistan. I knew his family and him quite well. It's indeed a very sad story. In my book he was murdered by a very sick and sadist society of Pakistan.

  • @Qarar Jee

    "strike them"

    Based on my understanding, this is limited to only one item with respect to wife. The wife must be faithful to husband and meet reasonable sexual needs of husband. If wife disobeys with respect to above items, first husband needs to advise her of her obligation and as a final recourse strike her such that there is no mark on her body.

    This is my understanding of Fiqh Jafria.

  • In Our Country physical torment is viewed as typical and lawful. Folks beat youngsters, educators torment understudies, spouses abuse wives or siblings abuse sisters.

    This is one of the greatest contrasts I saw when escaped from Pakistan; In west, kids have rights. No guardian, instructor of anybody can physically hurt them, and in the event that they do there are not kidding outcomes. Moms and fathers have gone to correctional facility over sick treatment of their children and infrequently lose authority of their youngsters more than an ill-use.

    The most excruciating reality is that most Pakistanis, folks, spouses, or instructors, believe that its alright to be harsh and torment kids and wives. This is only dishonorable!

    Quran approvals torment in Surah Al-Nisa, so torment is an essential apparatus. Torment and discipline are said such a large number of times in Quran that one miracles if God himself appreciates torment & enduring.

  • @Curiousity bhai

    Even Shirazi Jee got corporal punishment to make him agree to his Friday Teacher that "Shias" should be regarded as minority.

    hahahaha ...

    In today's Friday sermon Moulana Saab focused on relations between wife and mother. He said we can't impose mother on wife or vice versa. Our molvi is Egyptian, top notch Muslim brotherhood cleric. He elaborated his point by giving his own example. His mother was visiting him from Egypt for 2 weeks. He asked his wife if she will be OK if his Mom stays with them in the basement. She said no. He said no issues. He rented a room for 2 weeks in hotel and used to visit his mom everyday after work before heading to home. That was he was able to strike balance between mother and wife. He is definitely God fearing soul, and perhaps wife fearing too.

    As far as Shia minority is concerned, it's basic math - 1200M vs 200M.


  • @Shirazi Jee

    Ask your Egyptian guy what would he do if his wife refuses to have sex with him or flirts with another man. It seems you like him, so it shouldn't be difficult.

    Also, do you refer to Catholics as a minority.

  • @Curiousity Jee

    No not Catholics - I refer Protestants as minority - 1200M vs 600M. And that Egyptian guy is not my guy by any stretch, it's one crowded mosque, I barely see him and you are asking me to ask him how will be react if his wife is in some other relationship?


  • @Shirazi Jee

    "No not Catholics - I refer Protestants as minority - 1200M vs 600M."

    I am referring to your adopted country. Do you call your catholic friends as minorities?

    You can ask your Egyptian guy, what should a guy do if his wife refuses to satisfy his sexual desires?

  • @Curiousity Jee

    In US Catholics are minority very much like Sunnis is Iran or Shias in Saudi Arabia or Protestants in Europe. Fortunately religious affiliation is not an issue here in US.

  • @Shirazi Jee,

    So you don't refer to your catholic friends as belonging to minority, as all of them are Christians. In the same vane, Shias ( Twelvers, Ismailis, etc) and Sunnis ( Malaki, Hambali, Hanafi, Shafi, etc.) are all Muslims. It is not correct call any group as a minority in a Muslim majority country. If you do it, you are accepting the narrative being pushed by leJ, ASWJ, TTP, et. Al. And by doing so you are indirectly supporting their terrorist activity.

  • @Curiousity Jee

    I don't refer them as Christians either. Religion or faith is not as issue in developed world. Here racial divides are much deeper than religious or sectarian. But in developing world it's not same. Sectarian lines are not only deep they are very prominent. The attack on Ismailies was not an indiscriminate attack. There were 60 + Ismalies sitting in one bus - Sunni radicals targeted them. It takes two to tango. I am standing firm with you blaming sunni radicals and state and public at large to be complacent. But in same breadth I expect Shias to tone down their joint activities like our Army men in uniform did few years ago. The ultimate beneficiary of these man slaughters is same radicals that we all are condemning.

  • @Shirazi Jee

    "The attack on Ismailies was not an indiscriminate attack. There were 60 + Ismalies sitting in one bus - Sunni radicals targeted them. "

    Do you realise that those people were either going for work / business / shopping / etc. Ismailis are most low keyed and are very community based. Their residence required them to travel as a unit in a bus. Only mistake I see is that they should have hired a security guard for the bus. I hope you are not saying that they should stop travelling even for these daily activities.

    Travelling together or separate doesn't make any difference because these terrorist of LeJ, ASWJ , TTP , et. Al. have many times separated the Shias of Ali ibne Abi Talib in buses and checked their ID cards and killed Shias.

    The real problem is that government and establishment is protecting them and their abettors.

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