A growing number of students around the world aren’t getting the full educational experience they deserve because they are being bullied, according to a new report.
After taking a closer look at the prevalence of school bullying, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is calling attention to the need to promote “safe and inclusive” learning environments, UN News reports.
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UNESCO released “Behind the Numbers: Ending School Violence and Bullying” Tuesday at the Education World Forum in London.
The statistics are startling. One in three children has been bullied at least once at school over the last month, according to UNESCO. Close to the same amount have experienced physical violence.
“All children and young people have the right to safe, inclusive, and effective learning environments,” Stefania Giannini, UNESCO’s assistant director-general for education, said at the forum.
Currently, most children who are victims of bullying across the globe are targeted physically, and boys tend to be the perpetrators, the report said. Girls are more likely to use psychological abuse, which is the most common form of bullying in North America and Europe — and sexually-related bullying isn’t far behind.
The study found online and smartphone bullying is a growing issue. UNICEF published a study in 2017, stating 70% of kids in Malaysia have been harassed online, and one-quarter have been bullied. In developing countries like Malaysia, receiving an education is key to escaping poverty, which puts children who are bullied at a major disadvantage.
New @UNESCO publication reveals the latest and most comprehensive evidence on school violence and bullying.— UNESCO (@UNESCO) January 22, 2019
Check out the new report released today at the #EducationWorldForumhttps://t.co/4YvbpdztB0#ENDviolence#EWF2019pic.twitter.com/QG7nHhh7oI
UNESCO’s research shows bullies are most likely to target students who are perceived to be different, with physical appearance being the main reason. Students of a different race, skin color, or nationality are the second most vulnerable.
Bullying can severely stunt a child’s academic career. Children who are bullied regularly are nearly three times more likely to feel shunned and more than twice as likely to miss school.
They are also less likely to go to college or university, according to UN News.
Despite the numbers, UNESCO remains optimistic. Giannini said half of the countries that received data about school violence and bullying have made an effort to cultivate safer learning environments.
UNESCO includes tips for lowering school violence and reducing bullying in the report. These recommendations include implementing support for teachers and affected students, creating reporting and monitoring systems, and encouraging student participation in class.