The Parent Action Group for Education (PAGE) has urge universities across the nation to come up with a zero tolerance policy an an initiative to reduce bullying, be it physical, verbal, cyber, sexual or social.
In an interview with FMT, PAGE’s chairman, Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim said this policy could be supported by anti-bullying campaigns.
This comes after the recent case, where the High Court sentenced 6 students from the National Defence University (UPNM) to 18 years in jail for causing the death of navy cadet Zulfarhan Osman Zulkarnain 4 years ago.
On Tuesday (2 November), the court had delivered its verdict as they found 90 burn wounds had been inflicted on Zulfarhan with a hot steam iron, thus causing his death.
She also said that Zulfarhan’s family should sue the university for negligence, and that action could be taken against the wardens if they were found to have failed in their duty to keep the hostels safe.
“Only then can the lessons be learned.” she added.
Meanwhile, she also said that those found guilty of bullying should be expelled and referred to the social welfare department for rehabilitation. She also encouraged the victims to seek help from students’ unions or their tutors or submit complaints to their universities.
“Parents also have to keep an open mind and not brush off their children. It is already tough for a person to reveal and share what is painful and humiliating.”
“Parents should support and bolster confidence. Keep details of the incidents and encourage their child to report to the administration. Accompany the child if need be.” she said.
Besides, the National Union of the Teaching Profession (NUTP) secretary-general Wang Heng Suan said that more effort should be placed on prevention, instead of punishing the perpetrator
“Strategies on educating students to create and strengthen awareness on the effects of bullying should be of utmost importance. Counselling should also be given to offenders.” he said.
He also encourage university authorities to set up CCTVs to monitor the situation, and to carry out regular spot checks to identify the early stages of bullying among students.
“Schools or universities should come out with their own methods and strategies according to their school environment.”
“They should offer the victim and whistleblower some kind of protection and confidentiality when a report is made to the authorities.” he said.
While in an interview between FMT and former deputy education minister, Teo Nie Ching, she said that it is important for all parties, including teachers, students, counsellors, parents and the police, to work together to resolve a complaint.
“The duty cannot be pushed to the counsellor alone, because if the school or university authorities take bullying lightly, then the students and teachers will likely have a similar attitude.” she said.
Meanwhile, Teo said that it is not possible to completely eliminate bullying, but schools and universities can increase monitoring to prevent cases from recurring.
“Schools and universities can also conduct training and awareness programmes. They should address the different forms of bullying and how to overcome them.” she said.
She added that adequate follow-up and a safe space to lodge complaints should be provided to help victims too.
What do you think about this? Share your thoughts!