Singapore: Education Ministry lambasts bullying in any form

Singapore's Minister of Education, Ng Chee Meng on Tuesday, October 3 stated that bullying in any form will not be tolerated and strict action will be taken against the accused.

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Students leave for classes after their recess at a secondary school in Singapore. Reuters (Representational Image)

Singapore's Minister of Education, Ng Chee Meng, on Tuesday, October 3, declared that bullying of any form will simply not be tolerated in schools. He further stated that every child has the right to feel safe and feel at home in schools.

According to reports by Channel NewsAsia, Ng Chee Meng was reciprocating to questions which were being put forward by Daniel Goh, an associate professor. Chee Meng spoke on the issue of bullying and the necessary measures required to be undertaken.

The footage of a classroom brawl at St.Hilda's Secondary School, in September, was widely circulated online, leading to a massive uproar and questioning the school authorities' responsibility, in keeping the safest abode for children at peace.

The incident at St.Hilda's saw two students knocking over a desk and swearing at another boy. One of the students puts the boy in a headlock, whereas the other one continues hurling abuses at him. The three boys then engage in kicking and punching one another.

This incident had put the authorities in shame, pointing fingers at the disciplinary measures of Singaporean schools.

Chee Meng said that such cases are "less prevalent", pointing to a 2015 survey that shows 5 percent of Singapore's 15-year-old students experiencing physical bullying and around 10 percent and 20 percent are vulnerable to social and verbal bullying.

"When students misbehave or make mistakes, schools will discipline and educate them so that there is learning and it will not be repeated," he added. "School staff will also counsel students who are involved in bullying as well as those affected by it."

School personnel and teachers are being trained to create positive classroom culture, classroom management strategies and other resourceful activities to infuse discipline among students.

Students are being given Character and Citizenship Education so that they can learn social skills, empathy, respect towards the other classmates and awareness of the consequences of bullying.

"They also learn coping strategies, relationship management, and help-seeking skills," said Ng Chee Meng. "Schools also actively create a positive and supportive environment for all our students" he added.

"They have strengthened peer support by equipping students with relevant skills such as befriending and active listening. The peer supporters will alert and seek help from their teachers when they observe situations that affect the safety of their classmates" said Chee Meng.

Bullying has become a growing concern in most of the schools in Singapore. Authorities are buckling up to take strict measures. Chee Meng further stated that in severe cases parents will also be involved in the counselling of their children.

Clicking videos of children being bullied have been deeply condemned by the authorities who are pointing at the gradual degradation of the morals of the contemporary generation.

"Video posting and actual filming using handphones are actually prohibited in classrooms," said Ng Chee Meng.

Appropriate measures, such as educating students on positive social behaviour, will be of primary importance to the school authorities. Necessary actions will be taken when situations go out of hand.

Have a look at the video below, which shows bullying in its raw form at schools: