On 23 March 2022 Phare Ponleu Selpak hosted a roundtable discussion on child protection and the promotion of positive discipline for children under the topic, “How to Apply Positive Discipline at School”, with seven guest speakers, including Mr. Chhun Ramy, Deputy Director of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports (MoEYS) and Mr. Teng Visal the Deputy Director of the Provincial Office of Education (PoE) in Battambang and representative of a few public schools. Student representatives participated in the audience as well.
Mr. Chhun Ramay pointed out that the cases of violence against children have decreased by 36% since 2015, however there is still headway to be made, especially with the uptake of positive discipline as an alternative. A pilot on positive discipline has been launched in Battambang, Prey Veng and Kampot provinces last year. After the pilot implemention is successful, the draft guidelines will be approved in 2022 and implemented across the country.
Positive Discipline is a way of teaching and guiding children by letting them know what behavior is acceptable in a way that is firm, yet kind. Recent research has confirmed that people learn best when they feel safe and connected to others, in the context of safe relationships. Mr Chhun Ramy, emphasized that “successful implementation of positive discipline requires the coordination and cooperation from all sectors and the community chiefs, parents and students as well.” He went on to say that the school directors and principals are the key as they need to set the examples and be the role models.
A student asked the panelists a very valid question – “what action is taken against teachers that resort to corporal punishment.” The child protection and positive guidelines set outline several procedures in dealing with teachers that do not follow the guidelines.
Phare Ponleu Selpak is in the final year of implementing a 3-year program ‘Love Does Not Hurt’ to encourage Positive Discipline and reduce violence against children. The ‘Love Does Not Hurt’ campaign advocates for children rights and wellbeing and is being implemented in Southeast Asia through our network of partners – the Association for Community Development in Laos PDR, the GabFai Community Theatre Group in Thailand, and the Philippine Educational Theater Association – and funded by Terre des Hommes and German Cooperation. PPS worked closely with the MoEYS and PoE, local authorities, and primary schools to promote the child protection and Positive Discipline.