Senator Win Gatchalian is urging the Department of Education (DepEd) to improve its mechanisms for the reporting of bullying cases in the country’s schools.
Gatchalian pointed to the discrepancies on the DepEd’s data and the findings of international large-scale assessments which, according to the senator, points to a large number of cases that went unreported.
In a Senate panel hearing that reviewed the implementation of the Anti-Bullying Act of 2013 (Republic Act No. 10627), DepEd reported that bullying cases have been on the rise since School Year (SY) 2014-2015, when there were 5,624 cases reported. The highest number of cases were recorded in SY 2018-2019 when figures reached 21,521. The number dropped to 11,637 for SY 2019-2020 possibly due to the shift to distance learning from face-to-face classes.
Gatchalian cited the results of the 2018 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) when the Philippines got the highest percentage of 15-year-old learners, out of 79 countries, who reported experiencing bullying at least a few times a month. Based on the study’s results, 65% of learners reported experiencing being bullied.
The 2019 Southeast Asia Primary Learning Metrics (SEA-PLM) also revealed that 62.5% of the country’s Grade 5 learners reported experiencing bullying. Compared to other Southeast Asian countries, the Philippines’ Grade 5 learners are the most exposed to bullying.
“If you look at PISA and SEA-PLM figures, we’re talking about more than 60%, 11,000 is not even one percent of the total student population, so merong discrepancy. If you look at DepEd’s numbers, ang layo. What the large-scale examinations are saying is that it’s up to 65%, so if we convert that to the student population we’re talking about up to 17.5 million students as opposed to 11,000, so how do we reconcile that?” Gatchalian observed.
“The first order of business is to improve mechanisms for reporting because there are many students who are not reporting, who are scared of reporting and we can see that there’s a disparity between what is being gathered in large scale international assessments and what’s on the ground, and that leads me to a conclusion that our units on the ground are not functioning,” Gatchalian said.