Police conduct certificate must for AP teachers

Order based on a corporal punishment test

In an effort to combat the menace of corporal punishment in schools, the Andhra Pradesh Police have been entrusted with issuing conduct certificates to teachers based on a “corporal punishment test”, and on their previous track record of going easy on children.

The certificate is mandatory for all teachers seeking employment. The decision is based on the recommendations of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, which brought out a set of guidelines to eliminate corporal punishment in schools.

While the guidelines merely specify how schools should conduct annual social audit of physical punishment, cancellation of permission to schools if found guilty, and strict legislation for teachers, the state education department went overboard in interpreting the central laws, teachers said.

Sources in the school education department say that there will be strict background check on prospective teachers. “It is better to pre-determine the attitude of the teacher in dealing with children, as the department strongly believes the teacher’s past determines the pupil’s future.”

The new mechanism will be implemented in all schools across the state, sources added. The state secondary education department will issue a circular within a few weeks. The department will also rope in police officials to train teachers on how to deal with hyperactive children.

 “They need special skills to deal with them. We will arrange lectures for both teachers and students on the provisions under the law. Corporal punishment is an offence punishable with imprisonment of up to three years and a fine up to Rs 25,000,” Commissioner of School Education Usha Rani said. The state government’s decision comes after an analysis of cases registered in Hyderabad and Ranga Reddy district. There were 36 complaints of high-handedness of teachers across these two districts in just two months.

Syed Fardeen Ahmed, a class VII student of Hyderabad Model High School, Moghalpura, is the latest victim of corporal punishment. He suffered severe eye damage after he was hit by his Arabic teacher.

“This will only open a new window of corruption as candidates in their hurry to get the certificates might be ready to pay bribes,” CPM leader Punyavathi said. The education department has also decided to open a special helpline where parents can lodge complaints against teachers without approaching the school management. However, child rights organisations in the city welcomed the move and said at least three incidents of corporal punishment were taking place everyday in the state, thus requiring a strict legislation.

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