Study reveals bullying, corporal punishment the norm across campuses
BANGALORE: "Finally, you are here. What took you so long?"
The relief was palpable in the voices of students, when volunteers from the Bullying Research Initiative in Training and Education (BRITE) project visited campuses across North India.
The BRITE study done at 12 English-medium schools across Dehradun, Munsoorie and Chandigarh showed that students have been dealing with bullying not only on the playground, but inside classrooms.
The study conducted by Uttarakhand MLA and school teacher Karen Mayer; and psychologist and child protection consultant Aparna Massey showed that bullying often took place during class hours.
"Bullying is not state or country specific and there is a need to recognise the impact it has on children. Most schools are in denial about bullying on campus and didn't want to participate in the study. What is worrisome is that more bullying happens right under the teacher's nose and not as assumed, during lunch or recess when students are unsupervised," Karen said.
Nearly 1,200 students and 600 teachers were consulted between 2002 and 2005 as part of the project. Bullying among boys is usually through fights or using abusive language. In girls, bullying takes the form of teasing, name-calling or avoiding someone.
The BRITE study shows that 58.7 per cent boys in the age group of 14 to 18 felt that bullying was present on campus, while the figure was higher among girls, 65.09 per cent.
Karen and Aparna also worked on the issue of corporal punishment in schools. This project titled, Supporting Positive Alternatives for Raising Kindness in Education was conducted across five schools based in Dehradun and Himachal Pradesh between 2007 and 2008. "The schools approached us to investigate complaints of corporal punishment being meted out on campus," Aparna said.
The SPARKE findings were that there was a high level of acceptance for corporal punishment among students. Meaning, 64.4 per cent of students in the age group of eight to 18 indicated that they would bear with such punishments and not inform anyone about it because it is good for them. "Most of the students had been conditioned to think that it was okay to receive corporal punishment. Often parents asked teachers to hit their child to instil discipline," Aparna added.
Karen and Aparna are slated to interact with teachers and education professionals in Bangalore about a 'Child Protection Module,' as part of the national conference on the social and emotional environments of schools. The 'Schools that Care,' initiative is being organised by the Teacher Foundation, an organisation involved in the field of teacher training, and the National Council of Educational Research and Training and will held here between November 3 and 5.