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One day, year-old Farhad schoolboy decided that the frequent beatings his teachers subjected him to were just too much to bear. Horrified by the prospect of being hit yet again, he and his parents agreed that he would simply leave school and get a job. Today the teenager earns just two dollars a day working at a blacksmiths near his home in Mehtar Lam city, the provincial capital of Laghman.
Schoolchildren in the eastern province of Laghman told IWPR that it was not unusual for boys to leave education early rather than suffer the abuse.
Spare the Rod, Spoil the Child. The situation is not helped by the fact that many parents in Afghanistan see corporal punishment as an important part of school discipline. Shahidullah Khan, a year-old pupil at Sayeed Murad school in Alisheng district, said that he regularly played truant to avoid being beaten. He said he pretended to leave home for class in the mornings, but often spent the day wandering the streets with friends.
For some students lucky enough to have families who can afford it, moving to a private school can provide a solution. I really enjoy my studies here and am one of the best students. Syed Aslam Mesaq, a psychologist, told IWPR that it was now widely recognised among those in his profession that corporal punishment was both an outdated and ineffective response to poor discipline.
He emphasised how mistreating children could damage their confidence and lead to a variety of other problems in adult life. He urged schools to show appropriate compassion to their students and recognise that all pupils required careful nurturing.