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China enacts new regulations banning corporal punishment, verbal abuse in school

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Mar 02, 2021, 16:08


China's new rules governing school disciplinary methods come into force on Monday, banning physical punishment and verbal abuse in primary and secondary schools.

Educators are prohibited from carrying out disciplinary procedures that would inflict direct physical pain on students, according to the trialed regulations released by the Ministry of Education last December.

Other forbidden disciplinary methods include verbal abuse that could harm students' mental health, forcing students to stand still or assume physically uncomfortable positions for excessive amounts of time, and covert forms of punishment such as intentional isolation.

In addition to demarcating prohibited areas for teachers, the new regulations also clarified the conditions under which educators need to intervene and introduced a three-tiered disciplinary regime.

Students who commit minor offenses should only receive minor punishments such as being required to make oral or written apologies or undertake classroom chores, read the regulations.

Harsh measures for severe violations apply to children who reach their senior years in primary schools and students in middle and senior schools. Disciplinary options include suspension from school, school counseling and professional correction sessions.

Objectivity, fairness and commensuration in meting out discipline are stressed in this process, as is the cultivation of well-rounded individuals.

Calls for clearer definitions of and clarification on school disciplinary measures have grown stronger in China due to a rise of related controversial incidents.

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These are fair and wise measures. Physical and verbal abuses especially before peers with whom everyone wants to look good may scar young minds throughout life.

Two other things can be done.   One, each school should have a counselling unit to advise and help any difficult student; the counselling should have a feedback loop in which the student must report back to the counsellor on progress, and the unit should be part of a nation-wide network of counsellors who can share experiences besides providing a measure of how extensive are the problems.  The counsellor should not be the same teacher.

Two, all parents and guardians of the students must be told in advance about the disciplinary measures and be recorded as having been told so that they cannot later say they didn't know. If some say they cannot accept, then they must speak to the school head to explain why; the school head will have to make a decision; the proceedings will also be recorded.

With more urbanization, there will be more pressure to work so leaving less time for the young ones who will then try to fend for themselves. If they are disciplined and know why they have to keep good habits because they know what will happen when they don't, then the problems will be less. But if they don't, then the problems will be more.

Self-discipline should not be lost from eastern culture just because of the creeping in of the western culture of freedom of the individual which in young minds, translate into doing anything one fancies without thinking through more carefully the consequences of one's actions. Thought trying to catch up with action often leads to bad results.

The most important thing for any society - never make the same mistake again - learn all the time - be more responsible for the greater good - do no harm - exercise the ability to absorb boredom.


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