The move by the education authorities to train
teachers in classroom techniques, particularly over ensuring discipline among pupils, is commendable. It ought to have come much earlier, but that it finally has encourages us in the belief that we can now look forward to some quality teaching in schools. That of course depends on how well and how soon teachers at the primary and secondary education as well as madrasah levels are imparted training on how they must conduct classes. Obviously, they will have to discard corporal punishment, which has generally been a bad tradition with education in our circumstances. The old idea of sparing the rod and spoiling the child does not hold good any more. In these more sensitive times, it is critically important that teachers bring into the classroom all those attributes which will make them role models for their pupils and thereby make education for the young a true and focused search for knowledge.
We understand that the Directorate of Secondary and Higher Education is engaged in preparing the draft of a manual relating to teachers' training. That is a good move and once the education ministry sets about overseeing such training, it will surely be another feather in its cap. The ministry has performed well, thanks to an able and committed minister, over these past two and a half years. Its goal of turning teachers away from inflicting corporal punishment on pupils promises to set education along a modern path. Such new generation philosophy must make it clear to teachers that corporal punishment degrades pupils and far from ensuring that no child is left behind only leaves large swathes of pupils psychologically scarred, perhaps for life. Corporal punishment is but a mirror image of the societal violence we are all keen to stamp out. Worse, inflicting corporal punishment on the young exposes a yawning gap in a teacher's suitability for teaching: he or she is incapable of exerting moral influence on the pupil.
Teaching loses meaning if the teacher bases classroom instructions on fear. The new guidelines on classroom techniques should result in meaningful change.