Primary school pupils being bullied at school
Date of sitting: 3 July 2002
Asked by: Hon. David Chu Yu-lin, J.P.
Replied by: SCS
It has been reported that, according to the results of a survey recently conducted by the Chinese University of Hong Kong, over 30% of the primary school pupils surveyed indicated that they had been bullied at school by schoolmates in the preceding three months, and the forms of bullying included pushing, bumping, teasing and isolating; the situation is worse than that in the United Kingdom and the United States of America. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
- whether the Education Department ("ED") has conducted similar studies to look into the problem of bullying at school; if so, of the results of such studies, as well as the follow-up actions taken; if not, whether it will consider doing so; and
- of ED's measures to alleviate the problem of bullying at school?
Each year, the Education Department conducts a survey among primary schools on students' behavioural problems and collects statistics on cases reported to have been handled by discipline teachers. In the 2000/01 school year, the number of "bullying" cases handled by them was 359. These included teasing, intimidating, threatening and damaging classmates' property, with victims accounting for 0.07% of the student population of primary schools.
The Education Department advocates the cultivation of a happy learning environment for students through school guidance and discipline. The aim is to develop in students healthy character and good behaviour, and to enhance their ability in self-understanding, mutual respect, problem-solving, change and conflict management, communication and socialisation. Under the existing curriculum reform, the promotion of positive values and attitudes in students is accorded high priority. This will contribute to less "bullying" at school by helping students build up harmonious relationship with their peers and instilling in them the culture of respecting others and looking upon others as equals.
In handling "bullying" cases, the Student Guidance Officers/Teachers and the Student Discipline Masters/Teachers will intervene, mediate and counsel the students concerned, and follow up as appropriate.
To enhance the knowledge and skills of discipline and guidance teachers, the Education Department provides them with regular professional training. These include Diploma Courses for Student Discipline Masters/Teachers, as well as pre-service and in-service professional training for Student Guidance Officers/Teachers in primary schools, all of which aim to strengthen their knowledge, ability and skills in handling student behavioural problems.
In the 2000/01 school year, the Education Department organized a series of seminars and workshops on bullying in schools with a view to providing teachers with a deeper understanding of the issue and of the ways to deal with and prevent it. The areas discussed included phenomena and forms of bullying, the psychological state and behavioural patterns of the bullies and victims, and the tripartite involvement of the school management, teachers and students in combating and preventing bullying.
The Education Department also actively promotes parent education and home-school cooperation, which are also effective means in reducing bullying in schools.