Bangladeshi Student Burnt To Death On Teacher’s Order – Police

Bangladeshi women hold placards and photographs of schoolgirl Nusrat Jahan Rafi at a protest in Dhaka, following her murder by being set on fire after she had reported a sexual assault. SAZZAD HOSSAIN / AFP

 

 

A schoolgirl was burned to death in Bangladesh on the orders of her head teacher after she reported him for sexually harassing her, police said Friday.

The death of 19-year-old Nusrat Jahan Rafi last week sparked protests across the South Asian nation, with the prime minister promising to prosecute all those involved.

Rafi was lured to the rooftop of the Islamic seminary she attended where her attackers asked her to withdraw the sexual harassment complaint she had filed with police.

When she refused, she was doused in kerosene and set on fire.

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Police said Friday that one of the 17 people arrested in connection with her death had accused the school’s principal of ordering the attack.

The teacher “told them to put pressure on Rafi to withdraw the case or kill her if she refused”, senior police superintendent Mohammad Iqbal, who is leading the investigation, told AFP.

Rafi had gone to police in late March to report the sexual harassment, and a leaked video shows the local police station chief registering her complaint but dismissing it as “not a big deal”.

Iqbal said at least five of those under arrest, including three of Rafi’s classmates, had tied her up with a scarf before setting her on fire.

“The plan was to pass the incident off as a suicide. But it fell through after Rafi managed to come downstairs while on fire because the scarf burnt and freed her hands and feet,” he said.

Rafi suffered burns to 80 percent of her body and died in hospital on April 10.

But she recorded a video before her death, repeating her allegations against the principal.

“The teacher touched me, I will fight this crime till my last breath,” she said. She also identified some of her attackers.

Rafi’s brother Mahmudul Hasan Noman said people close to the principal had also put pressure on the family to withdraw the case against him.

“They told us that it was a conspiracy against him and that it was fabricated,” he told AFP.

The case has caused outrage in Bangladesh, with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina vowing that “none of the culprits will be spared legal action.”

Rights groups say the number of rape and sexual assault cases has increased in Bangladesh because authorities have failed to prosecute attackers.

“The horrifying murder of a brave woman who sought justice shows how badly the Bangladesh government has failed victims of sexual assault,” Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement.

“Nusrat Jahan Rafi’s death highlights the need for the Bangladesh government to take survivors of sexual assault seriously and ensure that they can safely seek a legal remedy and be protected from retaliation,” she added.

The local Manusher Jonno Foundation, a non-governmental group, says at least 39 children under the age of 18 have been raped in the country since April 2.

Another eight have been subjected to attempted or sexual harassment, the groups says.

AFP

Teacher From Kenyan Village, Peter Tabichi Wins World’s Best, $1mn

This handout picture provided on March 24, 2019 by the Global Education and Skills Forum, an initiative of the Varkey Foundation, shows Kenyan teacher Peter Tabichi (C) holding up the Global Teacher Prize (GTP) trophy after winning the US$ 1 million award during an official ceremony in Dubai presented by Australian actor Hugh Jackman (L) and attended by the Dubai Crown Prince Hamdan bin Mohammed Al-Maktoum (R). Tabichi, a 36-year-old maths and physics from a secondary school in a remote village in Kenya’s Rift Valley, who organisers say gives away 80 percent of his monthly income to the poor, received the prize at a ceremony on March 24. Global Education and Skills Forum / AFP

 

A maths and physics teacher from a secondary school in a remote village in Kenya’s Rift Valley has won the $1 million Global Teacher Prize for 2019, organisers have said.

Peter Tabichi, who organisers say gives away 80 percent of his monthly income to the poor, received the prize at a ceremony Saturday in Dubai hosted by Hollywood star Hugh Jackman.

“Every day in Africa we turn a new page and a new chapter… This prize does not recognise me but recognises this great continent’s young people. I am only here because of what my students have achieved,” Tabichi said.

“This prize gives them a chance. It tells the world that they can do anything,” he added after beating nine finalists from around the world to claim the award.

The Dubai-based Varkey Foundation, which organises the event and handed out the prize for the fifth time, praised Tabichi’s “dedication, hard work and passionate belief in his students’ talent”.

All this combined, it said in a statement, “has led his poorly-resource school in remote rural Kenya to emerge victorious after taking on the country’s best schools in national science competitions”.

Tabichi, 36, teaches at the Keriko Mixed Day Secondary School in Pwani village, in a remote, semi-arid part of Kenya’s Rift Valley, where drought and famine are frequent.

Around 95 percent of the school’s pupils “hail from poor families, almost a third are orphans or have only one parent, and many go without food at home,” the statement added.

“Drug abuse, teenage pregnancies, dropping out early from school, young marriages and suicide are common.”

To get to school, some students have to walk seven kilometres (four miles) along roads that become impassable during the rainy season.

The school, with a student-teacher ration of 58 to 1, has only one desktop computer for the pupils and poor internet, but despite that Tabichi “uses ICT in 80 percent of his lessons to engage students”, the foundation said.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta congratulated Tabichi in a video message, saying “your story is the story of Africa, a young continent bursting with talent”.

Sudan Protesters Rally Against Death Of Teacher In Custody

 

Sudanese protesters rallied after Friday prayers in an eastern town against the death in custody of a teacher arrested in connection with anti-government demonstrations sweeping the country, witnesses said.

An investigator on Thursday confirmed that teacher Ahmed al-Kheir, 36, had died from wounds sustained while in detention after he was arrested last week by security agents in the eastern town of Khashm el-Girba.

Kheir, a member of Sudan’s Islamist Popular Congress Party, was detained for allegedly organising anti-government protests, a relative told AFP.

On Friday, crowds of protesters in Khashm el-Griba staged a rally after the weekly Muslim prayers to protest his death.

READ ALSO: Sudan Police Fire Tear Gas As Protesters Launch New Rallies

“We will give our blood to keep you alive,” chanted the protesters, who emerged from several mosques after prayers and held a march, a witness told AFP by telephone.

Kheir was arrested by agents of the country’s powerful National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS), his uncle Ahmed Abdelwahad told AFP as the family took his body from a mortuary.

“We have asked the chief of NISS in Kassala to bring the security agents who interrogated Kheir in Khashm el-Girba,” Amer Ibrahim, the head of an investigative committee at the prosecutor’s office, told reporters on Thursday, indicating he had died in detention.

“The man had wounds on the back, legs and other parts of his body that led to his death,” Ibrahim said.

Deadly protests have rocked Sudan since December 19, with demonstrators holding nationwide rallies calling on President Omar al-Bashir to resign.

Officials say 30 people have died in the violence, while rights group Human Rights Watch says at least 51 people have been killed.

Demonstrators on Friday also staged rallies in a district of Khartoum and in Omdurman, the twin city of the capital, witnesses said.

Police fired tear gas as protesters rallied chanting “freedom, freedom” outside a mosque in Omdurman run by the main opposition Umma party, witnesses said.

Police dispersed the protesters and some tear gas canisters hit the compound of the mosque, a witness said.

Police and security officials were not immediately available for comment.

Umma’s head, former premier Sadiq al-Mahdi, has thrown his weight behind the protests and called on Bashir to step down.

Bashir, who has refused to resign, swept to power in a 1989 Islamist-backed coup that ousted Mahdi’s elected government.

Protests first erupted after a government decision to triple the price of bread but soon escalated into rallies against Bashir’s three-decade-old rule.

AFP

Teacher Accused Of Racism Reinstated In South Africa

file photo

 

The Johannesburg Labour Court on Thursday reinstated a South African primary school teacher who was suspended after photographing black children sitting separately from white children in her class. 

Judge Justice Prinsloo ordered Elana Barkhuizen to return to work “with immediate effect”, dismissing her suspension by the North West education department as “unlawful”.

She was suspended on January 10 from her job at Schweizer-Reneke school after a photo she took of ‘segregated’ children went viral.

Prinsloo said the school’s governing body and the provincial education department had to allow her to “return to work and resume her normal duties with effect from January 25”.

The photo she took showed about 17 white children sitting around a large table, with four black children sat at a small corner table in the background.

The Solidarity trade union, which is mainly made up of white Afrikaners, said Barkhuizen was a victim of political opportunism.

READ ALSO: Teacher Suspended In South Africa Over Racist Picture

It said she was only supervising the class while the actual teacher, who was not suspended, was with a parent.

The union had previously argued that the children were seated by language, not race.

“The children were seated like that only for a short period of time, to make them comfortable,” Anton van der Bijl, Solidarity’s head of labour law, told AFP.

After the ruling, Solidarity referred all questions on the children’s seating arrangements to the teacher in charge of the classroom in question.

Race relations remain tense in South Africa 25 years after the end of white-minority apartheid rule, with racist controversies regularly erupting on social media and within politics.

AFP

Teacher Suspended In South Africa Over Racist Picture

White and black schoolchildren were seated apart from each other at Laerskool Schweizer-Reneke. Credit: BBC

 

A South African primary school teacher was suspended on Thursday after a photograph appeared to show black children sitting separately from white children in a classroom, sparking a storm of racism accusations.

The pupils were attending their first day at the Schweizer-Reneke school in North West province when the teacher took a photograph to send to anxious parents.

It rapidly spread on social media as it showed about 17 white children sitting around a large table, with four black children around a small corner table in the background.

“From the information, I got from the meeting, it seems that there are a lot of cases here of racism,” provincial education minister Sello Lehari said after visiting the school.

“I will send a team to do an investigation into all schools… to deal with issues of racism in totality.”

Race relations remain tense in South Africa 25 years after the end of white-minority apartheid rule, with fierce racist controversies erupting regularly on social media and in politics.

“We saw the photo and we were also angered by what we saw,” Jozeph du Plessis, chairman of the school’s governors, told the eNCA television channel.

“The kids were quite unsettled — you must realise they were five years old on their first day at school — and she grouped them in a way she thought would settle them quickly and comfort them.

“There was no intent of racism or segregation from the teacher’s side.

“We are investigating — perhaps it could be a language issue, perhaps those kids are not speaking Afrikaans, but I can’t speculate.”

Some white parents on Thursday took their children away from the school after protesters gathered outside.

AFP

China Jails Teacher Over ‘Needle’ Scandal

 

A Chinese kindergarten teacher was on Friday jailed for 18 months for abusing children with needles, a Beijing court said, sparking criticism online that the sentence was too short. 

Liu Yanan, who was a teacher at the RYB Education New World kindergarten, pricked four children with needles in November 2017, the Beijing Chaoyang Court said. The scandal triggered national outrage.

An investigation into the kindergarten began when parents found needle marks on their toddlers who attended the high-end, bilingual Chinese-English school. There were also allegations that the children were made to take mysterious pills.

“The circumstances were vile. Her behaviour has seriously damaged the physical and mental health of minors,” the court said in a statement, adding that the abuse did not result in any lasting injury.

Liu has also been banned from working with minors for five years after serving her sentence.

RYB Education, a New York-listed company which runs the chain of kindergartens, apologised for the incident and stressed on their official social media account the abuse was carried out by an individual.

However, there was huge criticism of the sentence online, with many social media users angered that no officials have been punished.

Three Beijing education officials were under investigation for “lack of supervision” but the case has not progressed.

“The cost to commit a crime is too low! This is condoning crimes!” read one post on Weibo, China’s Twitter-like platform, saying that Liu should have been given a lifetime ban from working in education.

The incident prompted the State Council, China’s top administrative body, to call for an “immediate” investigation into all kindergartens across the country.

RYB Education owns some 500 kindergartens and nearly 1,300 learning centres across China for children up to the age of six, according to its website.

The scandal was not the first to hit the company.

RYB suspended the head of a Beijing kindergarten in April 2017 after videos surfaced of teachers throwing a child on a bed and kicking another in the back.

In 2016, two teachers from a RYB kindergarten in northeast Jilin province were jailed for 34 months for jabbing children’s heads, mouths and buttocks with sewing needles.

AFP

France Charges Teenager For Threatening Teacher With Fake Gun

 

A French teenager who was filmed threatening his teacher with a fake gun in a tough Paris suburb was charged Sunday with aggravated violence, prosecutors said.

The incident, which was filmed and uploaded onto social media by one of the 15-year-old’s classmates, took place Thursday at a high school in the southeastern suburb of Creteil.

It drew widespread condemnation, including from President Emmanuel Macron and members of his cabinet as well as the right-wing opposition condemned the incident.

The daily Le Parisien reported that the student admitted to pointing the imitation gun at the teacher, but said it was meant “as a joke” and that he was not aware he was being filmed.

He presented himself to police on Friday accompanied by his father.

The video shows the boy standing over the seated teacher, brandishing what turned out to be an air gun.

“You’ve marked me absent. Mark me as a present,” he shouts as another student tries to plead his case with the teacher, who appears more weary than panicked and continues working on her laptop while exchanging a few inaudible remarks with the class.

She filed a police complaint on Friday.

Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer and Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said in a joint statement Sunday they would convene a top-level meeting next week to discuss ways to end violence in schools in low-income city suburbs.

“School is the cradle of the Republic and it is where we learn to respect the Republic,” Castaner said during a visit to a police station in eastern Paris, vowing to “recapture the Republic square metre by square metre” from lawless elements.

Le Parisien said the teenager was angry that the teacher marked him down as absent when he had been merely late for class.

Another teenager suspected of bringing the fake weapon to school was also questioned by police but released without charge.

Macron on Saturday warned in a tweet that threatening a teacher was “unacceptable” and said he had ordered his ministers to take “all necessary measures” to prevent a repeat of the incident.

France has so far been spared the kind of gun violence that has plagued schools in the United States and parts of northern Europe.

AFP