73.4% OF CHILDREN BETWEEN 1 AND 14 subjected to corporal punishment in SL: UNICEF
About 73.4% per cent of children aged one to fourteen experience corporal punishment at home by parents in Sri Lanka, the UNICEF Sri Lanka said yesterday.
Issuing a statement, it said only 48.7% of three to five-year old’s in Sri Lanka attend pre-school, which, when of good quality, helps to foster cognitive and language development, social competency and emotional development.
It said an estimate 17% of children under five are at risk of poor development due to stunted growth, resulting from poor nutrition and 15.1% of children under five are suffering from wasting (low weight for height) which if untreated can lead to chronic malnutrition.
“Children in Sri Lanka are at risk of entering adulthood at a disadvantage to their peers, because they have not benefited from the good nutrition, stimulation and protection - known as ‘eat, play and love’ - that enable a brain to grow to its full capacity by the age of 5 years,” warned UNICEF. The statement said advances in neuroscience have proved that during the early years of life a child’s brain grows at an astounding rate which is never again repeated.
“A child’s brain grows and develops to 85 per cent of its full capacity by the age of 5. In these early years’ brain development depends on good nutrition, play and stimulation in the home environment and in preschools and love and protection from harm including violence, abuse and neglect. These can be provided by parents through simple actions, and can make a lasting, positive difference to a child’s development,” UNICEF said.
Meanwhile, marking the run up to Father’s Day (17th June), UNICEF said it has launched a new digital campaign to celebrate and inform parents how they can support their children’s optimal brain development.