Kerala Kaumudi Online
Thursday, 30 November 2023 12.00 AM IST

Is such a punishment necessary to collect fees?


The heinous act where a Class 7 student in a private school in Thiruvananthapuram was forced to write the exam sitting on the floor for late payment of fees is an incident that should be condemned by the entire society. This happened in a country where the Child Rights Act exists. There was a time when all kinds of atrocities against children went on in schools. However, if such acts of torture happen today, those responsible for it must go behind bars. The despicable 'punishment' that took place at the Sree Vidyadhiraja Vidya Mandir School in Althara Junction, Thiruvananthapuram, shows that there are still people amongst us who are not able to accept the change of times. It is a good thing that the management and the education department immediately intervened after the incident where a child was forced to write an exam sitting on the floor in front of his friends became a controversy. The management was forced to hand over a suspension order to the principal who punished the child cruelly for delay in paying fees. The Education Minister has sought a report on the incident.

The management's claim that this is a school that does not charge exorbitant fees may be true. It is said that the school authorities do not collect fees mandatorily. Then how did the principal take such an action? Is he a person who does not know the rules of the school? In many schools, teachers routinely punish children for not being diligent in their studies, for indiscipline, or for misbehavior. However, with the strict implementation of the Child Rights Act, any form of punishment is now a crime. The old theory that children will pay attention to studies only if they are punished has no relevance today.

No child wants to be humiliated in front of other children. Any behavior that hurts a child's feelings is serious. The delay in paying the fee is not the child's fault. There might be a reason for that. The school authorities could have contacted the child's guardian and inquired about the matter. Instead, the principal made the child, who was writing his exam in the class, sit on the floor and continue writing his exam. Although the principal might not understand the heartlessness of his action, it will hurt the hearts of all the parents who send their children to school. No good school will insist on collecting fees during the examination itself. There might be many other instances where the authorities can collect fees. The principal of Shree Vidhyadhiraja School came to collect the fee during the examination due to the lack of sense of propriety. What was even more painful was the principal's response to the child's parent when the latter inquired about the matter. Anyone can understand the scorn hidden in the principal's reply that the child was made to sit on a beautiful floor. Even if it was an isolated incident, this should be a lesson to all schools.

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