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NHRC recommends to revise the school life regulation(draft) (09-10-2002)

  • 2002-12-04
  • 2214

The National Human Rights Commission recommends to the Minister of Education and Human Resources Development to Revise the School Life Regulation (draft) (09-10-2002)


Recommendations include: Revise the Elementary & Secondary Education Law and Ban Corporal Punishment


The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has concluded that, after reviewing the new School Life Regulation (draft) as announced by the Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development (EHRD), "Although we highly value the effort to revise the school regulation in this ever-changing society, we must nevertheless conclude that the EHRD"s proposal may aggravate existing problems and promote further violations againstthe student"s human rights." The NHRC has recommended the Minister at EHRD to ban corporal punishment, revise the Elementary and Secondary Education Law, establish a human rights consultation office within schools, and nullify the article which bans political activities.


According to the proposal of the EHRD, corporal punishment must "take place at a separate place, accompanied by a third person, where the instrument of punishment must be a straight piece of wood which has a diameter not exceeding 1.5cm, and a length not exceeding 60cm.Corporal punishment must be restricted to buttocks (for boys) and thighs (for girls).The number of strikes per punishment must not exceed 10." The Supreme Court also is of the opinion that corporal punishment is a legitimate act, and has in the past, recommended a "standard" for corporal punishment.


However, the NHRC believes that corporal punishment constitutes a violation of the student"s right to physical freedom, and the UN Committee for Children"s Rights too has recommended the use of dialogue and cooperation, rather than punishment.Although a teacher uses corporate punishment to control students, the majority of the students who receive such punishment have suffered such consequences as nervousness, depression, hostility, and obsession with schoolwork.  The NHRC has pointed out that the school community must find a way to do without corporate punishment and the EHRD to actively engage in the abolishment of corporate punishment.

 

In regards to the participation of the students in school management, the proposal of the EHRD provides: "a student may not vote on matters regarding school management."But the NHRC has argued that since students too are members of the school community, they too can express their opinions on school matters. Thus, the NHRC has recommended the EHRD to revise Article 31 of Elementary and Secondary Education Law which provides: "students may not express their opinions in regards to matters concerning the school."


The proposal also strictly prohibits the political activities of students.To this, the Commission has responded: "a man"s rights must not be restricted, unless his behavior poses a threat to other"s rights, or to the national security, or to public morals," and whereby "students must be offered a chance to participate in the democratic process," which the school must encourage.Nevertheless, student active participation in political activities is forestalled by other laws.For example, only those adults over the age of 20 may enjoy the right to vote, and the Law on Political Parties provides that to become a member of a party a person must have the right to vote.


The NHRC also reviewed the issue of school violence. The EHRD proposal plans to establish a "Commission to Eradicate Violence in School." To this the Commission has recommended that, "the duty to prevent school violence should lie on both the school and the parents. Thus, we hope that the schools establish a "human rights consultation office" within each school."


In regards to leisure activities, the NHRC has concluded that, to encourage the growth and happiness of children, the School Life Regulation should contain an article outlining the child"s right to play and to enjoy cultural activities. Also, in regards to the phrase, "according to the status as a student," the NHRC has recommended it be changed as to be able to respect the individuality of each student.


In regards to the proposal on vocational schools that, "if an injury is a caused by negligence on the student"s part during on-site practice, the student is wholly responsible," the NHRC has recommended that "prior to outlining the student"s responsibility, the EHRD proposal should "outline the school"s responsibility to offer a safe environment."


Other recommendations made by the NHRC included; add an article about the rights of students and article (s) about the rights of disabled students; revise the School Life Regulation into a language which students can easily understand.

 

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