Ending corporal punishment in schools to transform education for all children
Can you learn when you are afraid?
Can you experience the transformative power of education when your teacher beats you?
How can you learn the skills for employment if school is a dangerous place?
The evidence tells us over and over again that violent punishment - and the fear, anger and humiliation it creates - stops children from learning. As well as causing physical and psychological harm, it affects children’s brain and cognitive development, leads to lower educational achievement, prevents them from building healthy relationships, causes school dropout and has many other negative short- and long-term impacts for both the individual and society.
Corporal punishment in schools undermines everything that education aims to achieve - and yet it remains lawful for half the global school-age population, and a weekly or even daily experience for vast numbers of children around the world. Its prevalence combined with its harmful impacts mean that the vital benefits of education for children and
societies are wasted.
This new landmark report co-authored by the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children, Safe to Learn and the Coalition for Good Schools makes the case for urgently accelerating progress towards universal prohibition and elimination of corporal punishment, with a focus on education settings, both in support of children’s rights and protection, but also as an essential and achievable strategy for ensuring all children have access to safe, quality schooling and maximising our collective investment in education.
The report addresses:
- prevalence and children's experiences of violent punishment in schools
- progress - and delay - towards universal prohibition of corporal punishment in schools
- how school corporal punishment entrenches inequality and disadvantage for children
- practical measures to eliminate violent punishment in schools, including the importance of a whole-school approach
- case studies, resources and examples
Key messages from the report:
- Urgent action is needed to end corporal punishment in all settings of children’s lives, including schools, by 2030 – in line with states’ commitments under SDG 16.2 and other human rights obligations.
- School corporal punishment is still lawful in 63 states worldwide – comprising approximately 793 million children - half of the global school-age population.
- Vast numbers of children are subjected to corporal punishment at school - recent research found a lifetime prevalence of 70% in Africa and Central America, and a past-week prevalence of over 40% in Africa and Southeast Asia.
- Safe education is particularly vital for children in overcoming difficulty – and yet disadvantaged children are especially likely to be subjected to it, entrenching the inequality that they face.
- Ending corporal punishment in schools is possible! Many countries with previously high levels of violent punishment in school have now ended or are close to ending the practice, helping to transform attitudes to violence against children across society.
All children have a right to safe, quality education – school should never be a lesson in violence.