The Children Act 2013 of Bangladesh, which was passed in 2013, explicitly prohibits corporal punishment in all settings, including homes, schools, and institutions. However, despite the fact that it has been a decade since the law was passed, has the act been implemented truly?
To shed light on this, BLAST arranged a view-exchange meeting about teachers’ expected roles in mitigating physical and mental punishment of children, which took place at the National Press Club in Dhaka on October 4, 2023.
Syeed Ahamed, the CEO of IID, explained the current situation, the importance of teachers in preventing corporal punishment, and the challenges to doing so. He pointed out that, ” Despite the ban on punishing children, teachers continue to do so because the law is not enforced. Additionally, parents’ attitudes towards punishment contribute to the problem, as 23% of parents believe that verbal punishment is acceptable, and 5.2% believe that physical punishment is acceptable. This lack of consequences allows the cycle of corporal punishment to continue.” Ahamed also highlighted systemic issues such as flawed teacher recruitment processes, inadequate salaries, and lack of training, which contribute to the problem.
Furthermore, Ahamed stressed the harmful effects of corporal punishment, which can create a vicious cycle of aggression among children. He stressed that these practices teach children that violence is acceptable, which can lead to aggressive behaviors such as bullying, domestic violence, and even political violence.
Ahamed emphasized the urgent need to take action, saying firmly, “We must strictly enforce the law, provide teachers with proper training and support, and educate parents about positive discipline. Only then can we break this cycle of violence and create a safer environment for our children.”