Gender-based bullying and discrimination

Published Date: 01 February 2021 09:00 PM

News Parliamentary Replies

NAME AND CONSTITUENCY OF MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT

Ms He Ting Ru, Sengkang GRC

QUESTION

To ask the Minister for Education (a) what support is available for students who face gender-based bullying and discrimination, including at single-sex institutions; (b) what training is provided to staff to support students who face gender-based bullying and discrimination; (c) what proportion of staff at each school receive such training; (d) how do schools educate students about gender-based bullying and discrimination; and (e) what recourse do students have when faced with bullying over such issues.

RESPONSE

1. The MOE takes a serious view on any form of bullying, including cyber and gender-based bullying. All schools send a clear message to students that bullying is not acceptable and has no place in our schools.

2. Schools monitor the school environment and discipline closely, and take educative, preventive and intervention measures to address bullying incidents. Through Character and Citizenship Education, students are taught the importance of respect and empathy for others. As part of Cyber Wellness, they are taught to use online tools such as security settings and reporting functions, so that they can navigate the online space safely. We know there are concerns about whether students report bullying incidents. That is why teachers also involve student peer supporters to look out for their peers, speak up against, and report bullying to school authorities. Additionally, for cyber bullying incidents, schools guide students to report these to the online service provider. School rules and disciplinary frameworks are clearly and regularly communicated.

3. When alleged bullying is reported, trained school personnel investigate and provide counselling support for students involved and decide on appropriate disciplinary action. There is also an educative process to help the students learn from the incident and reconcile with each other. Schools need the help of families as well and work closely with parents to support the students who are involved.

4. Training on positive classroom culture and classroom management is core for all student teachers at the National Institute of Education. For trained teachers in schools, they are given refresher training through online modules, school-based and MOE workshops. 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.

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