Frank Peters |
Dec. 24, 2021, 9:12 p.m.
A classroom is no place for the misery, the lost hopes and the tears of grief of shamelessly shed children; nor should it be a colosseum where the flames of joy, excitement, mystery and the adventures of learning are extinguished.
Schools should be sanctified establishments like churches, mosques and temples – the keepers and conduits of knowledge and truth. Places where everything you see and hear is honorable and trustworthy. Even a whiff of shameful ugliness, wrongdoing, corruption and scheming from the outside world should never permeate its hallowed borders.
In an ideal society, schools, madrashas and their teachers are sacred and should be honored, treated and respected as such.
Schools are the most important playgrounds and learning arenas a child can hope to attend. They teach the vital and necessary academic concepts and skills that every child must know to achieve their fullest development possible in order to live morally, creatively and productively in a democratic society. Equally important is that they provide students with the opportunity to interact with one another socially, academically and emotionally.
Stealing the fun of learning from children is shameful, a shame and a crime against them, the nation and God. It is one of the few crimes that is committed frequently in broad daylight, often with accomplices complicit in the heinous wrongdoing.
To subject a child, in any context, to corporal punishment is cruel and wrong, but especially in a school or a madrasha where love is often described as sacred and pure, but hypocritically seldom displayed.
How ignorant do parents and “teachers” have to be in order for their children or the children in their care to end up being as ignorant as they are? Some seem to wear ignorance as if it were a badge of honor – their precious possession.
There is no shame in being ignorant, it is a simple misfortune of circumstance. Shame comes if they try to influence others to join their club.
What I find incredibly difficult to understand and accept is how some people (parents, teachers, guardians) use violence to âteachâ. If we all read the same holy books, the Quran, the Bible, etc. who teach love, understanding and compassion, shouldn’t we be practicing the same?
After all, violence only teaches violence. When was the last time a family searched for a husband for their beloved daughter with the precondition that he must be master in violence?
The best lessons in all fields are taught by example. Do what I say, but don’t do what I do, this is hypocrisy at its worst.
Not only is corporal punishment not necessary to discipline children, it is also morally wrong and completely ineffective. It is the weapon that an ignorant and uncompassionate teacher, parent or imam uses to cover up their own ignorance and teaching inadequacies.
It is a known fact and an indisputable truth that life is precious. The Covid-19 reminded the world of this. Doctors and surgeons take an oath for its preservation. Many also believe that children are gifts from God. No one on earth actually owns another person. Parents are only temporary caretakers and protectors tested to see how well they care for their divine loans and judged accordingly.
If you lend gardening tools to a neighbor (or whatever), you don’t expect them to be damaged. If they did, your opinion of them would be drastically changed. Likewise, if children are loaned by God, He does not expect them to be sent home damaged.
We can make plenty of concessions and apologies to the ignorant (God forgive them because they do not know what they are doing), but this privilege does not apply to people in positions of influence such as “teachers” and imams. and other religious leaders, who are supposed to, and should know, better.
For Bangladesh to move forward towards realizing the Bangabandhu dream of Sonar Bangla, it is time for a sincere spring to benefit the nation, whether the offenders are brown envelope pushers, parents of politicians or not.
Sir Frank Peters is a former publisher and editor-in-chief of newspapers and magazines, award-winning writer, Royal Goodwill Ambassador, humanitarian and valued foreign friend of Bangladesh