The Ministry of Education is deepening schools’ capacity to help students protect themselves better online from bullying and work with parents and the community to educate the youth, said Minister of State for Education Sun Xueling.
She was responding to questions from Workers’ Party (WP) Members of Parliament He Ting Ru and Leon Perera on bullying in schools—from gender-based bullying and discrimination to cyberbullying.
Ms He, a Sengkang GRC MP, had asked about support available for students who face gender-based bullying and discrimination, including at single-sex institutions and what recourse students have when faced with such issue, and how students are educated about such forms of bullying.
Ms Sun replied that the MOE take a “serious view” on any form of bullying.
“Schools monitor the school environment and discipline closely and take educative, preventive and intervention measures to address bullying incidents,” said the Minister.
She cited the Character and Citizenship Education for students who are taught “the importance of respect and empathy for others”, as well as Cyber Wellness programmes which educate students on how to use online tools such as security settings and reporting functions to more safely navigate online spaces.
She added that student peer supporters are involved in looking out for their peers, speaking up against bullying and reporting such instances to school authorities in cases of bullying in school.
As for cyberbullying, schools guide students on how to report instances of bullying to online service providers.
“School rules and disciplinary frameworks are clearly and regularly communicated,” she stressed.
When a case of alleged bullying is reported, trained personnel in schools are involved to investigate and provide counselling support to students involves, as well as to decide on appropriate disciplinary action, if necessary.
Additionally, there are educative processes in place to help students learn from the incident and reconcile with each other.
Ms Sun went on to say that schools require help from families as well in dealing with bullying and that they work closely with parents to support students who are involved.
On the question of training provided to teachers and school staff with regards to handling cases of bullying, Ms Sun explained that teachers are given refresher training through online modules, both school-based and MOE workshops.
She said, “To further equip some senior teachers to handle complex bullying cases, MOE is strengthening their training in fostering positive class culture, investigating and addressing online and offline bullying.”
“We are also deepening schools’ capacity to help students protect themselves better online and work with parents and the community to educate our young,” she added.