Teachers who assault students should face criminal charges, UAE experts say



ABU DHABI // Prosecutions of teachers who physically punish their pupils may be needed to end the practice, education experts say.

“I personally think it will need those caught to be put before the courts and convicted. If there is irrefutable evidence, the teacher should be prevented from teaching again – in any emirate, not just the one where it has happened,” said Judith Finnemore, an education consultant.

“Unfortunately, many schools hire teachers without checking properly with the last school so those who can’t handle students simply move about.”

The Minister of Education last week said "all forms of physical punishment are rejected as a tool of discipline at schools", after a video of a teacher apparently slapping a student in Ajman went viral.

Another video that appears to show a teacher beating a child in a classroom in Fujairah also surfaced earlier this week, prompting the Ministry of Education to announce plans to launch a hotline for students to report anything that may threaten their physical or pychological wellbeing, or education. The hotline will also prevent students from incorrectly reporting incidents at school, said Hussain Al Hammadi, the Minister of Education.

In Abu Dhabi, the director general of the Abu Dhabi Education Council issued a similar statement saying "it is prohibited to use any form of corporal punishment as a sort of disciplinary action" after a lab technician was caught assaulting a student in Al Ain.

There are still signs that the use of corporal punishment has not been eliminated in schools, particularly boys’ schools, across the country, despite it having been illegal for many years said Dr Natasha Ridge, executive director of the Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi Foundation for Policy Research.

“I don’t think many people realise the extent of the problem,” Dr Ridge said. “It’s very widespread. There’s a culture of violence in boys’ schools that isn’t properly addressed.

“I think teachers and principals feel very powerless. Parents also feel powerless as well as the students themselves. The fact that it isn’t being addressed head on is leading to more and more incidents such as those we’re seeing of late.”

The existing practice of corporal punishment has also been noted in some school inspection reports published on Adec’s website. In a 2015 report for a Ministry of Education curriculum school in Abu Dhabi, inspectors called for the “urgent eradication of corporal punishment”.

“The school forbids corporal punishment but students report that it does happen,” inspectors wrote.

These findings did not come as a surprise to Mrs Finnemore.

“I can recall an incident where an inspector returned to Adec aghast at being in a classroom with the principal when the teacher smacked a child over the head with a book,” Mrs Finnemore said. “Only Adec intervention and insistence on action [resulted in] any.”

Dr Ridge said there needed to be an overhaul in the way schools approached behaviour management.

“Teachers need to be supported by management and taught new strategies and techniques to be able to manage student behaviour, without resorting to physical violence or even verbal abuse in their classrooms,” Dr Ridge said.

“If a teacher assaults a student, criminal charges should be laid.

“I mean there’s a difference even between corporal punishment and assault and I think that’s what people aren’t really understanding.

“What we’re talking about here in these cases, it’s not about corporal punishment, what we’re talking about is actual physical assault, which if it happened on the street, the person would end up in jail.”

Dr Samineh Shaheem, assistant professor of psychology at Hult University in Dubai, agreed that more needed to be done.

“We need to support teachers in terms of their workload, in terms of providing teaching assistants, in terms of training them how to more functionally handle stress and how to handle and manage the behaviour of students in the classroom,” Dr Shaheem said.

“So that we have long-term behaviour modification techniques, not these short-term scare tactics. That requires investment, that requires training, that requires a change in mindset and it requires the assistance of the parents as well.”

rpennington@thenational.ae

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Georgia Gibson (Newcastle United)
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Director: Michael Sarnoski

Rating: 4/5

THE BIO

Mr Al Qassimi is 37 and lives in Dubai
He is a keen drummer and loves gardening
His favourite way to unwind is spending time with his two children and cooking

MADAME WEB

Director: S.J. Clarkson

Starring: Dakota Johnson, Tahar Rahim, Sydney Sweeney

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Age: 38
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Engine: 5.6-litre V8

Gearbox: Seven-speed automatic

Power: 428hp @ 5,800rpm

Torque: 560Nm @ 3,600rpm

Fuel economy, combined: 12.7L / 100km

Our legal consultant

Name: Dr Hassan Mohsen Elhais

Position: legal consultant with Al Rowaad Advocates and Legal Consultants.

Getting there and where to stay

Etihad Airways operates seasonal flights from Abu Dhabi to Nice Côte d'Azur Airport. Services depart the UAE on Wednesdays and Sundays with outbound flights stopping briefly in Rome, return flights are non-stop. Fares start from Dh3,315, flights operate until September 18, 2022. 

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Milestones on the road to union

1970

October 26: Bahrain withdraws from a proposal to create a federation of nine with the seven Trucial States and Qatar. 

December: Ahmed Al Suwaidi visits New York to discuss potential UN membership.

1971

March 1:  Alex Douglas Hume, Conservative foreign secretary confirms that Britain will leave the Gulf and “strongly supports” the creation of a Union of Arab Emirates.

July 12: Historic meeting at which Sheikh Zayed and Sheikh Rashid make a binding agreement to create what will become the UAE.

July 18: It is announced that the UAE will be formed from six emirates, with a proposed constitution signed. RAK is not yet part of the agreement.

August 6:  The fifth anniversary of Sheikh Zayed becoming Ruler of Abu Dhabi, with official celebrations deferred until later in the year.

August 15: Bahrain becomes independent.

September 3: Qatar becomes independent.

November 23-25: Meeting with Sheikh Zayed and Sheikh Rashid and senior British officials to fix December 2 as date of creation of the UAE.

November 29:  At 5.30pm Iranian forces seize the Greater and Lesser Tunbs by force.

November 30: Despite  a power sharing agreement, Tehran takes full control of Abu Musa. 

November 31: UK officials visit all six participating Emirates to formally end the Trucial States treaties

December 2: 11am, Dubai. New Supreme Council formally elects Sheikh Zayed as President. Treaty of Friendship signed with the UK. 11.30am. Flag raising ceremony at Union House and Al Manhal Palace in Abu Dhabi witnessed by Sheikh Khalifa, then Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi.

December 6: Arab League formally admits the UAE. The first British Ambassador presents his credentials to Sheikh Zayed.

December 9: UAE joins the United Nations.

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51kg: Sakchai Chamchit (THA) beat Salam Al Suwaid (IRQ) TKO round 1. ​​​​​​​54kg: Veerasak Senanue (THA) beat Huynh Hoang Phi (VIE) 30-25.

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63.5kg: Abil Galiyev (KAZ) beat Nouredine Samir (UAE) 29-28. 67kg: Narin Wonglakhon (THA) beat Mohammed Mardi (UAE) 29-28.

71kg: Amine El Moatassime (UAE) w/o Shaker Al Tekreeti (IRQ). 75kg:​​​​​​​ Youssef Abboud (LBN) w/o Ayoob Saki (IRI).

81kg: Ilyass Habibali (UAE) beat Khaled Tarraf (LBN) 29-28. 86kg: Ali Takaloo (IRI) beat Emil Umayev (KAZ) 30-27.

91kg: Hamid Reza Kordabadi (IRI) beat Mohamad Osaily (LBN) RSC round 1. 91-plus kg: Mohammadrezapoor Shirmohammad (IRI) beat Abdulla Hasan (IRQ) 30-27.

Women's finals

45kg: Somruethai Siripathum (THA) beat Ha Huu Huynh (VIE) 30-27. 48kg: Thanawan Thongduang (THA) beat Colleen Saddi (PHI) 30-27.

51kg: Wansawang Srila Or (THA) beat Thuy Phuong Trieu (VIE) 29-28. 54kg: Ruchira Wongsriwo (THA) beat Zeinab Khatoun (LBN) 30-26.

57kg: Sara Idriss (LBN) beat Zahra Nasiri Bargh (IRI) 30-27. 60kg: Kaewrudee Kamtakrapoom (THA) beat Sedigheh Hajivand (IRI) TKO round 2.

63.5kg: Nadiya Moghaddam (IRI) w/o Reem Al Issa (JOR).

Our legal consultant

Name: Hassan Mohsen Elhais

Position: legal consultant with Al Rowaad Advocates and Legal Consultants.

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2. Allowance Optional Claiming, Santa Anita Park, June 24, 2016

3. Allowance Optional Claiming, Del Mar, August 4, 2016

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6. Pegasus World Cup, Gulfstream Park, January 28, 2017

7. Dubai World Cup, Meydan Racecourse, March 25, 2017

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2. Prayer

3. Hajj

4. Shahada

5. Zakat 

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Match info

Deccan Gladiators 87-8

Asif Khan 25, Dwayne Bravo 2-16

Maratha Arabians 89-2

Chadwick Walton 51 not out

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