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Last Updated: Friday, 29 December 2006, 04:56 GMT
Taiwan corporal punishment banned
A pupil being caned by his teacher in Taiwan (October 2005)
Footage of a pupil being caned in 2005 sparked a heated debate
Amendments to Taiwan's basic education law have come into force which ban corporal punishment in schools.

Advocates of the changes say students will be better protected and that the island's overall human rights situation will be enhanced.

However, some teachers in Taiwan fear the new rules could cause chaos in their classrooms, saying it removes an important disciplinary tool.

The move means 109 countries have now banned corporal punishment in schools.

After years of lobbying by civic groups, lawmakers in Taiwan ratified the new rules designed to prevent teachers in educational institutes from physically and psychologically punishing students.

The BBC's Caroline Gluck in Taipei says before the changes Taiwan had regulations in place which theoretically banned corporal punishment - but they seemed to be widely ignored.

'Changing attitudes'

An island-wide poll carried out among junior and primary school children in 2005 suggested that 65% of students had received some kind of corporal punishment at school.

Kim Wang, of the Humanistic Education Foundation which has been fighting for the changes, said it had met some resistance from school teachers.

"We believe banning corporal punishment by law can help them to change their attitude.

"As long as corporal punishment is banned in schools, teachers start to look for other ways to teach, to educate... they start to pay attention to positive disciplining methods."

The ministry of education and teachers' leaders are now drawing up guidelines for schools on how they can deal with difficult students without resorting to corporal punishment.

Advocates are hoping it will lend impetus to a push to end corporal punishment in homes, in line with UN recommendations that countries phase out all violence against children by 2009.

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