‘Bullying has negative impact on students’ learning abilities and intelligence’

February 15, 2020

Children in privately managed educational institutions bully and harass each other on the basis of distinctiveness and inherited characteristics, including colour, ethnicity, religious affiliation...

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Children in privately managed educational institutions bully and harass each other on the basis of distinctiveness and inherited characteristics, including colour, ethnicity, religious affiliation and sex orientation, which restricts friendly environment in schools.

Experts say the children being bullied and harassed at schools could be easily identified from their behaviour. Less participation in classroom, stammering, laziness, disturbed eating habits, nervousness, aggressiveness, mood swings, disturbed sleep and many other unusual behaviour could be noticed in children facing harassment at their schools. Parents should promptly investigate and talk to the teachers whenever they notice any abnormal pattern of behaviour in their child.

While announcing the Sindh government's policy on harassment and bullying in privately managed schools at the Sindh Boys Scouts Association Provincial Headquarters, educators and officials opined that intolerance and lack of empathy in society led to the use of abusive and derogatory remarks against fellow students. The bullies, victims and bystanders intensify bullying in schools while teachers and parents were also responsible for not taking action on time.

The event was attended by 400 heads of private schools. Directorate Inspection and Registration of Private Institutions Sindh (Dirpis) Registrar Rafia Javed said there was a need to initiate an awareness campaign about harassment and bullying in private schools.

Commenting on Dirpis's decision to disseminate the Sindh government’s policy on bullying and harassment, she said the plan would help the students, teachers and parents to comprehend and handle such issues at schools. “Bullying has a negative impact on student’s learning abilities and intelligence.”

During the panel discussion, former MPA Mahtab Akbar Rashdi said schoolchildren’s behaviour reflects what they are learning from society. Bystanders never take any step to end disagreements or bullying, instead, they take out mobile phones from pockets to record what is happening, she remarked, adding that it is our collective responsibility to play a role in building a better society for future generations.

Answering a question, Shapur Jamall, Principal of the Bay View Academy, said every school had its own culture. If the heads of the schools would give importance and respect to the teachers, the students would also respect each other. Therefore, administrators should promote a culture of tolerance.

After the panel discussion, Additional Secretary School Education and Literacy Department Altaf Ahmed Soomro said the department would introduce a strict policy against bullying and harassment in schools. He stressed the need for conducting more discussions and sessions to get comprehensive recommendations and suggestions from the teaching community, civil society and parents on the issue. Everybody had the right to be treated with respect and to feel safe at school, he said.

Provincial Law and Environment Adviser Barrister Murtaza Wahab, who was the chief guest at the event, said bullying and harassment cases were not only reported in schools, but the whole society was affected by this issue. Unfortunately, bullying was becoming a serious problem in our society, he said. Everyone, including police, journalists, teachers and politicians, was developing an intolerant society by intentionally promoting aggressiveness.

He said such behaviour could be dealt with if we performed our duties responsibly. He asked the participants to provide recommendations so that the government could make legislation on bullying and harassment.

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