Bullying cases here few and are 'stable and managed': Ng Chee Meng
Minister for Education says measures like counselling are in place to keep bullying in check
Schoolchildren have a right to feel safe and bullying has no place in Singapore, said Minister for Education (Schools) Ng Chee Meng yesterday in parliament.
"Generally, our students are well-behaved. Instances of bullying in our schools are few," said Mr Ng, who was responding to a parliamentary question from Associate Professor Daniel Goh on the prevalence of bullying in schools and the measures being taken to detect it.
He added: "On the whole, bullying has been stable and managed."
Citing figures from the global Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development survey in 2015, Mr Ng told the House about one in five 15-year-oldshas been verbally bullied, while one in 10 has experienced social bullying.
The number of those bullied physically was about 5 per cent, he said, adding that these statistics were similar to surveys done by local studies, including those by the Ministry of Education (MOE).
Said Mr Ng: "When students misbehave or make mistakes, schools will discipline and educate them, so that there is learning and it will not be repeated.
"School staff will also counsel students who are involved in bullying as well as those affected by it."
Equipping students with skills such as listening and befriending is a way schools have strengthened peer support, explained Mr Ng, adding that students will alert teachers when they observe situations that affect the safety of their peers.
Prof Goh also asked about bullying videos being posted online that have been increasing, and the impact on schools and individuals concerned.
Generally, our students are well-behaved. Instances of bullying in our schools are few.Minister for education (Schools) Ng chee Meng in parliament yesterday
Last month, a video of a classroom brawl involving three boys in St Hilda's Secondary School went viral online. An adult "intern with an external agency" was present but did have the "training or authority to manage the situation", said the school.
"Video posting and actual filming using handphones is actually prohibited in classrooms," said Mr Ng.
"But the upstream measures I've described earlier are more important."
Responding to another question, Senior Minister of State for Education Janil Puthucheary revealed that about 12 per cent of the Primary 1 cohort entered the schools that at least one of their parents went to.
Dr Janil was responding to Mr Gan Thiam Poh (Ang Mo Kio GRC) regarding this figure over the last three years.
The percentage has remained "fairly stable" over that time frame. Of those successful applicants in Phases 2A1 and 2A2 in the last three years, less than 15 per cent stay more than 8km away from their schools, Dr Janil added.