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After PISA dismal score, DepEd deals with school bullying

Neil Jayson Servallos - The Philippine Star
After PISA dismal score, DepEd deals with school bullying
Students and police personnel evacuate after a strong earthquake was felt at U.N. Avenue in Manila on December 5, 2023.
KJ Rosales / The Philippine STAR

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Education (DepEd) has assured the public that it is addressing school bullying following a senator’s call for stronger measures to protect students due to a recent international assessment that revealed how one in three Filipino students is bullied in school at least once a week.

In a statement, the DepEd said it has already implemented several programs that deal with mental health and counseling, learner formation, legislative approaches and parental involvement to deal with school bullying in public schools.

Among these measures, the agency said, are capacity-building for teachers and school personnel to help flag possible bullying cases, an online mental health platform to be fully transferred to DepEd next year as well as a mental health hotline.

The DepEd said it is also bolstering the involvement of parents in dealing with bullying cases.

“The Bureau of Learners Support Services (BLSS) is pushing to train parents to spot red flags of bullying among their kids (similar to the Katatagan

 program for DepEd personnel). However, we are still waiting for the results of the special provision request for this program,” the DepEd said in a statement.

“The BLSS is primarily geared more at bullying prevention and creating a climate of safety in schools (using a more health and wellness lens). On the other hand, the LRPO (Learner Rights and Protection Office) mainly comes in to address abuse and bullying cases directly (using a more legal lens),” it added.

In a statement over the weekend, Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian expressed concern over the recent results of the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) that showed that bullying remains a pervasive problem among boys in public schools.

The DepEd’s records showed 21,521 bullying cases nationwide during school year 2018-2019, which dropped to 11,637 the following year “possibly due to the shift to distance learning because of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Gatchalian, who chairs the Senate committee on basic education, stressed that when the findings of the 2018 PISA were scaled to the entire student population, up to 17.5 million learners would have experienced bullying. The discrepancies point to possible underreporting of bullying cases.

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