The global education survey Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2018 — which ranked the Philippines the lowest in Reading and second to the lowest in Science and Math among 79 countries — also shows that Filipino students are the most exposed to bullying.
Senator Win Gatchalian calls on the Department of Education (DepEd) to strictly enforce and monitor anti-bullying measures in schools, reiterating the need for child protection since the passage of the Anti-Bullying Act of 2013.
PISA results show 65 percent of Filipino high school students experience bullying “at least a few times a month”. This is way beyond the 23 percent average among 79 countries that joined the said global survey.
Conducted by the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD), PISA also says that both aggressors and victims of bullying tend to skip classes, show poorer academic performance and drop out of school. Students who reported being threatened scored 56 points lower in Reading compared to those who had no or less frequent experiences. The study also showed that students whose peers made fun of them scored 13 points lower than those who experienced this less frequently
Countering the prevalence of bullying should be part of efforts to reverse the Philippines’ dismal PISA performance, Gatchalian said, as he pointed out the study’s findings and how bullying affects academic performance.
“Kailangang tignan natin ang kabuuang larawan kung bakit pinakamababa ang ating mga mag-aaral sa PISA. Kung susuriin nating mabuti ang pag-aaral na ito, lumalabas na isa sa mga dahilan ang bullying kung bakit nahuhuli ang ating mga mag-aaral,” said Gatchalian, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts and Culture.
“Nitong mga nakaraang araw, malakas ang panawagan na i-angat ang kalidad ng edukasyon ngunit upang magawa natin ito, kailangang masiguro nating ligtas ang ating mga paaralan upang matuto nang husto ang ating mga mag-aaral,” added Gatchalian.
One of the most effective ways to prevent bullying is through bystander’s intervention, PISA said. The lawmaker, meanwhile, highlighted anew the importance of teaching Values Education. He recently sponsored Senate Bill 1224 which seeks to institutionalize the teaching of Comprehensive Values Education in schools, including Good Manners and Right Conduct (GMRC).
In rolling out anti-bullying measures, Gatchalian said there should be emphasis on how witnesses to bullying situations can effectively intervene.
“Mahalagang ituro natin sa bawat kasapi ng paaralan ang kanilang tungkulin sa pagtaguyod ng kaligtasan. Hindi lamang mga mag-aaral at guro ang dapat maging bahagi nito, kundi pati mga magulang din at iba pang mga miyembro ng komunidad,” added Gatchalian.