The office assistant of a high school in Sharifpur union of Jamalpur Sadar upazilla has been beating up twelve students of the school. In effect, the individual in question caned the students because they were creating commotion in a classroom next to the one where he was taking a class. Now, of course it is troubling when young people in school create a noisy atmosphere and so disturb the proper working of the school. It is only to be expected that they will be disciplined. What is of grave concern here is that, firstly, the office assistant was in a class where he should not have been and, secondly, that he adopted corporal punishment to bring the recalcitrant students to heel.
Obviously, the office assistant was in the classroom because of a shortfall of teachers. The rules of an educational institution do not permit, even when there are no teachers, an office assistant or any other administrative staff from doing the job of a teacher. One is therefore perplexed as to why the school authorities allowed the individual in question to be in the classroom in the first place. As to the second point, that of the caning of the students, one must ask the school authorities why they still permit such barbaric methods to be applied to students. On a larger scale, we cannot but note that in rural Bangladesh, there are yet teachers who do not balk at employing corporal punishment to students if the latter are inattentive to their studies or create disorder in the classroom. Physical punishment of students goes against all norms of civility and simply undermines the foundations of learning by the young.
We understand that the office assistant in question has been suspended from his job. His behaviour should now impel the education authorities into inquiring into the prevalence of corporal punishment despite a prohibition. The aim of education is the creation of an enlightened citizenry. Caning the young is a simple, sad way of suggesting that the negative is normal.