Resolution on: Achieving Agenda 2030 by Moving Away From Corporal Punishment Towards Positive Approaches to Learning Environments

published 10 March 2020 updated 10 March 2020

The 8th Education International (EI) World Congress, held in Bangkok, Thailand, from 21 to 26 July 2019,

Acknowledges that:

(1) Educators’ practice in learning environments all over the world is central to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG4) on ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and promoting lifelong learning opportunities for all by 2030;

(2) In school environments where physical, emotional or mental abuse, violence or trauma are present, including through the use of corporal punishment, the delivery of high-quality education is strongly inhibited;

(3) Discrimination based on gender, race, or personal characteristics, such as disability, ethnic origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression in teaching and learning environments violates the right to education and elicits poor classroom discipline;

(4) In many countries, poor discipline in schools outweighs dissatisfaction with conditions of service or working conditions as the main catalyst for educators leaving the profession in alarming numbers;

(5) It is virtually impossible for educators to maintain discipline in over-crowded schools and learning environments;

(6) School discipline flourishes in a caring environment, which encourages and nourishes the physical, emotional and intellectual development and health of students and educators;

(7) Values such as mutual respect, tolerance, integrity, responsibility and fairness underpin positive approaches to discipline;

(8) Views on, and practices around, learning environments and classroom discipline differ between countries and range from widespread use of corporal punishment to laissez-faire approaches.

The 8th EI World Congress declares that:

(9) Discipline is an essential element of all school environments;

(10) The quality of education is enhanced by an environment in which educators are able to teach, and students to learn in a disciplined manner;

(11) It is the responsibility of schools and education authorities to establish and maintain educational establishments in which both learners and educators know and understand the rules and the boundaries within which teaching and learning are to occur;

(12) Corporal punishment is not only ineffective, but damages learners physically and in their development, breaks down the relationship between learners and educators, and teaches learners that violence is acceptable.

(13) Corporal punishment must be universally outlawed in schools in law and in practice;

(14) The use of effective alternative positive disciplinary measures and methods will greatly enhance efforts to achieve SDG4 by 2030;

(15) The introduction of new forms of positive learning environments in schools, even if highly effective in theory, will remain ineffective if educators are not retrained in the practical application thereof.

Calls on EI and all EI member organisations to:

(16) Uphold and broadly publicize the 1989 UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)

(17) Champion the universal eradication of corporal punishment in schools;

(18) Share and disseminate examples of good practice and alternative positive approaches to classroom discipline between and within EI regions;

Mandates the EI Executive Board to:

(19) Conduct or commission research on existing positive approaches to learning environments and classroom discipline around the world and disseminate the findings to EI member organisations;

(20) Develop a programme of inter-union capacity development on effective, practically implementable alternative disciplinary measures/methods that will enhance teaching and learning environments.