On Punjab Chief Secretary Kamran Rasool’s orders, the Punjab Education department recently warned all schoolteachers that corporal punishment would not be tolerated and action would be taken against such teachers under the Punjab Removal from the Service (Special Powers) Ordinance 2000. Two teachers have already been dismissed on charges of corporal punishment.
Education and social circles praised this action but also drew attention to the Lahore Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education (BISE), another ‘harassment centre’ for students. Haji Muhammad Dogar, the BISE secretary, recently beat up a student standing in a queue outside the BISE office. Allegedly, Mr Dogar was appointed because of the Punjab chief minister’s backing even though the education department secretary had declared him ineligible.
Ali Murtaza, along with his mother, had gone to the BISE office to submit his sister’s admission forms. The guard outside the BISE dragged Ali from the crowd and started beating him. Ali retaliated harshly as he was being beaten for no reason. Mr Dogar later asked Ali if he had misbehaved with the guard. Ali replied yes but only because the guard had attacked him. However, Mr Dogar did not listen to Ali and started beating him. Ali was then taken inside the BISE office and again beaten up by Mr Dogar’s staff. BISE personnel alleged that Ali was teasing a girl.
Unfortunately this is not the first time that such an incident took place. The BISE authorities were criticised in July for wrongly implicating an FSc candidate and her tutor in a criminal case. The Punjab chief secretary’s office, after an inquiry into the matter, had recommended that the officials who had lodged the complaint be dismissed. Only intervention by the Punjab education minister had saved the officials from being dismissed and let off with a warning.
The student and her tutor went to the BISE office on July 12 to inquire about her application. The girls asked the authorities about the application and were told by the chairman that the application was still pending. The girls became angry since this was their eighth visit to the BISE office and broke a vase outside the chairman’s office, upon which the BISE lodged a first information report. The girls spent the night in the police lock up.
Various social circles and parents believe that education encourages social change, progress, modernisation and social integration. However, change is possible only if teachers improve their attitudes and if officials (like the BISE secretary) have started beating students, this reflects poorly on the government. Parents demand the government take notice of such issues, as it is not considered professional behaviour.
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