TAIPEI (CNA) — Nearly 70 percent of junior high school students in Taiwan have personally experienced or witnessed corporal punishment at their schools, according to the results of a survey released Thursday.
The survey by the Humanistic Education Foundation (HEF) also found that students are being forced to endure other humiliating forms of punishment such as standing or sitting alone, making a public apology, and writing lines in front of the class.
Regarding corporal punishment, 68.6 percent of students in junior high school, 28.7 percent in senior high school, and 47.6 percent in vocational school said they had either been on the receiving end or had seen it being administered, according to the poll.
The percentage of junior high students reporting corporal punishment this year was an increase from the 56.9 percent recorded in a similar survey in 2016, HEF said.
In addition, the majority of students in the survey said their dress code and appearance were regulated by their schools, in contravention of Ministry of Education (MOE) policy, HEF said.
The survey also found that at some schools, there are prohibitions and penalties to discourage dating among students.
At a press conference at National Taiwan University Alumni Hall, HEF said there is considerable room for improvement in the protection of students’ human rights in Taiwan.
While Taiwan officially banned corporal punishment in the education system in 2006, the government still allows punishments that are humiliating and a violation of students’ human rights, the HEF said.
It called for the legislation of a comprehensive “Students’ Rights Protection Act,” and for the education ministry to undertake immediate reforms to protect the rights of students.
The MOE should prohibit humiliating forms of punishment in schools, institute measures to terminate teachers who administer corporal or humiliating punishments, and penalize schools that enforce dress codes and appearance policies, HEF said.
The nationwide HEF survey was conducted online, in partnership with student associations during summer vacation this year. It collected valid responses from 694 students in junior high school, 739 in senior high, and 511 in vocational school, and had a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percentage points.
Chen Chih-Chung and Matthew Mazzetta