Corporal Punishment Of Children: Human Rights Watch's Middle East and North Africa Index - Jordan

The Civil Service Law prohibits "any form of corporal punishment against any children," including in schools, and provides for warnings, the deduction of a weeks' worth of pay from the monthly salary, denial of pay rises for up to three years, and termination.[1] However, other laws are inconsistent on the issue. The Education Law of 1994 does not address violent discipline at schools.[2] In the home, Article 62 of the Penal Code stipulates that parents can punish their children for disciplinary purposes in accordance with "general norms"; the same language is included in the Juveniles Act of 2014.[3]

Authorities have taken significant policy steps to reduce violent discipline in schools. The Ministry of Education's policies clearly ban corporal punishment. The ministry's Instruction No. 4 on School Discipline of 1981 prohibits corporal punishment, requires respect for students, and outlines measures that can be followed in cases of misconduct.[4] The Discipline Instructions for Public and Private Schools No. 1 of 2007 prohibits any corporal punishment in schools.[5] The ministry has other issued regulations to ban corporal punishment, including in March 2019.[6]

In 2009, the Ministry of Education and UNICEF initiated a campaign against violent discipline.[7] Surveys found verbal violence at school had dropped to 18.3 per cent in 2015, while physical violence fell to 10.8 percent.[8] In 2016, another survey found 18 percent of students reported verbal violence in schools, while 11 percent reported corporal punishment.[9] The government launched a three-year national plan of action to further reduce violence against children in March 2018.[10] In 2020, the government endorsed the global "Safe to Learn" framework to end violence in and around schools, which includes goals of outlawing and enforcing the prohibition of corporal punishment in schools, while educating schools and communities about positive discipline.[11]

[1] Civil Service Law, Art. 68(f), Art. 142(b).

[2] Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, Education Law No. 3 1994, http://www.moe.gov.jo/ar/node/19179 (accessed July 23, 2019).

[3] Article 62 of the Criminal Code 1960 originally permitted "disciplinary beating of children by their parents in a manner allowed by public customs". The law, as amended, states, "types of discipline inflicted by parents on their children in a way that does not cause harm or damage to children within what is permitted by general custom". UNICEF, Changing Norms and Behaviors to End Physical Violence Against Children in Jordan, 2019-2021, March 2018, p. 24, http://ccp-pakistan.org.pk/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/UNICEF-Jordan-Changing-Norms-and-Behaviours-Strategy.pdf. See also Juveniles Act of 2014, art. 33(h), cited by Global Initiative to End All Corporal Punishment of Children, "Jordan," updated May 2019.

[4] Global Initiative to End All Corporal Punishment of Children, "Jordan," updated May 2019, https://endcorporalpunishment.org/reports-on-every-state-and-territory/jordan/.

[5] UNICEF, Changing Norms and Behaviors to End Physical Violence Against Children in Jordan, 2019-2021, March 2018, p. 24, http://ccp-pakistan.org.pk/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/UNICEF-Jordan-Changing-Norms-and-Behaviours-Strategy.pdf

[6] Khawla Abu Qureh, "Beating in schools continues… despite the ban," Al-Rai, January 5, 2020, http://alrai.com/article/10518086/شباب-وجامعات/الضرب-في-المدارس-مستمر-رغم-المنع.

[7] UNICEF, Changing Norms and Behaviors to End Physical Violence Against Children in Jordan, 2019-2021, March 2018, Table 2.6, p. 19, http://ccp-pakistan.org.pk/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/UNICEF-Jordan-Changing-Norms-and-Behaviours-Strategy.pdf

[8] Evaluation of the Ma'an towards a Safe School Environment Program Jordan 2009-2016, June 21, 2017, Visual 3.1, p. 48, https://www.unicef.org/evaldatabase/files/MAAN_EvalReport_FINAL_20170623_Eng.pdf; Khetam Malkawi, "Despite progress combating violence against children, more is needed," Jordan Times, December 12, 2016, http://www.jordantimes.com/news/local/despite-progress-combating-violence-against-children-more-needed-%E2%80%94-unicef; Dr. Linda Ahmad Khateeb, "The Status of Corporal Punishment in Jordanian Primary Schools from the Perspectives of: Teachers, Students, and Parents," Journal of Education and Practice, Nov 7, 2015, https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1077381.pdf

[9] Ana V Ibanez Prieto, "Teachers' verbal, physical violence still prevalent in schools — SIGI," Jordan Times, January6, 2018, http://www.jordantimes.com/news/local/teachers%E2%80%99-verbal-physical-violence-still-prevalent-schools-%E2%80%94-sigi

[10] Al Bawaba, "Jordan Implements 3-Year Plan to Reduce Violence Against Children," March 30, 2018, https://www.albawaba.com/editorchoice/jordan-implements-3-year-plan-reduce-violence-against-children-1110240

[11] UNICEF, "UNICEF welcomes Jordan's endorsement of Safe To Learn Call to Action," July 19, 2020, https://reliefweb.int/report/jordan/unicef-welcomes-jordan-s-endorsement-safe-learn-call-action.

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