الثلاثاء، 28 أكتوبر، 2008

11-year-old kicked to death by teacher in Alexandria


By Safaa Abdoun :daily news egypt
Badr‘s teacher kicked him for not doing his homework.
Eleven-year-old Islam Amr Badr, a student at Saad Othman Primary School in Alexandria, died Monday after being kicked in the stomach by his mathematics teacher.
It began when the teacher reportedly hit a few of the students — Badr included — with a ruler as punishment for not completing their homework. When Badr did not “show regret”, the teacher took him outside the classroom and kicked him in the stomach.
Badr fell unconscious and was admitted to the hospital, where he died of circulatory failure shortly after.
The teacher, Haitham Nabil Abdel Hamid, 23, was detained by police and confessed to kicking Badr, saying that he only meant to beat Badr for “discipline, but not to kill him.”
Unconfirmed reports claim that a similar case took place in Tanta on Tuesday, when a teacher lashed out at a group of 15 students, allegedly claiming the life of one and leaving seven hospitalized in critical condition.
The incident has shed light on the growing problem of corporal punishment in Egyptian schools, where teachers often resort to violence as a means of punishment. According to statistics by the United Nation’s Children’s Fund (UNICEF), an estimated 50 percent of children in Upper Egypt and 70 percent of children in urban areas are subjected to physical discipline in schools.
“Violence in schools is legally prohibited according to a decree issued by the Ministry of Education during the 1990s. However, due to the fact that the ministry is not enforcing this decree, the problem still prevails,” said Gamal Eid, lawyer and executive director of the Arab Network for Human Rights Information.
“Only when parents intervene and write a petition does the school take action, which usually tends to be a warning for the teacher,” he added.
Human rights organizations slammed this growing problem in Egypt, saying that it is not receiving any attention from government officials and the media.
“Violence in schools is an endemic problem in Egypt despite the Ministry of Education’s decree prohibiting it,” said Hossam Bahgat, chairman of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights.
“The draft child protection law which was presented to the People’s Assembly last June had excellent articles to end this problem, unfortunately, they were amended and practically taken [out],” he added.
The majority are calling on the government to take serious action against corporal punishment in schools, which is a violation to child and human rights. “There needs to be effective legal measures taken to completely end this problem,” said Bahgat.
When contacted by Daily News Egypt, the press office at the Ministry of Education refused to comment on the incident.