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Guidelines for the Elimination of Corporal Punishment in Schools (GECP)

GS Paper 4

 Syllabus: Applications of Ethics


Source: TH


Context: The Tamil Nadu School Education Department has released Guidelines for the Elimination of Corporal Punishment in Schools (GECP), focusing on safeguarding students’ physical and mental well-being.

The guidelines, issued jointly by the Director of School Education and the Director of Elementary Education, address various forms of harassment, in line with the Right to Education Act, 2009. Measures include awareness camps, prompt complaint resolution, and the establishment of monitoring committees at each school. Affirmative actions against corporal punishment and promoting a positive environment are also emphasized. District-level officers are instructed to ensure schools implement these guidelines effectively.


What is Corporal Punishment?

Corporal punishment refers to the use of physical force against students as a means of discipline or punishment in educational settings. It can include actions such as hitting, spanking, or other forms of physical punishment inflicted by teachers or school authorities on students.


Key legal provisions related to the prohibition of corporal punishment:

  1. Article 39 of the Constitution: Mandates the State to protect childhood and youth from exploitation, including physical and mental abuse.
  2. Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act 2009: Section 17 of the Act explicitly prohibits physical and mental harassment of children in schools, making it a punishable offence.
  3. NCPCR guidelines: The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) provides guidelines for eliminating corporal punishment. This includes promoting positive engagement with children and establishing Corporal Punishment Monitoring Cells in every school to ensure compliance with anti-corporal punishment measures.


Ethical Issues with Corporal Punishment:

Ethical Issue Description
Physical and psychological harm Corporal punishment can cause physical injuries, anxiety, low self-esteem, and other mental health issues.
Perpetuation of violence By using violence as a disciplinary measure, corporal punishment may normalize and perpetuate violence in society.
Discrimination and disproportionate impact Corporal punishment may be applied disproportionately or discriminatorily based on factors such as gender, race, or socioeconomic status.
Ineffectiveness as a disciplinary measure It may fail to promote positive behavioural changes or moral development, teaching children to fear punishment rather than learn from their mistakes.
Impact on education Corporal punishment can lead to higher school dropout rates and poor learning outcomes due to the atmosphere of fear and intimidation it creates in classrooms.



Thinker’s views on Corporal Punishments:

Thinker View on Corporal Punishment
Mahatma Gandhi Opposed corporal punishment, advocated for nonviolent methods of discipline and education.
Rabindranath Tagore Condemned corporal punishment, believed in nurturing individual creativity and moral development through positive reinforcement.
Maria Montessori Advocated against corporal punishment, and promoted child-centered education focused on nurturing independence and self-discipline.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau Opposed corporal punishment, believed in the natural goodness of children and the importance of freedom in education.
John Dewey Criticized corporal punishment, and emphasized experiential learning and democratic principles in education.