Bullying is schools' biggest problem

2012-12-04 11:05

Johannesburg - Bullying is the biggest problem schools face, according to a consumer survey released by research company Pondering Panda on Tuesday.

In total, 7 324 South African pupils, teachers, and families of pupils, aged between 13 and 34, were asked to identify the biggest problems at their schools.

"Bullying remains the most significant cause for concern, with 28% saying it was one of the biggest problems at their school," Pondering Panda said in a statement.

The survey is repeated at regular intervals by cellphone.

In June, 31% of respondents named bullying as the most significant problem.

A quarter of respondents criticised parents' lack of involvement, while 24% complained about toilet facilities.

Bullying was a greater cause for concern among younger respondents.

A third of pupils aged 13 to 14 identified bullying as a major problem, compared to 25% of pupils aged 15 to 17.

Effect on pupils

Black people were less likely to see bullying as a major issue, with only 26% identifying it as a significant problem.

In contrast 40% of whites, 35% of coloureds and 52% of Indians saw bullying as a serious problem.

The Western Cape (35%), Gauteng (35%) and the North West (33%) were most likely to see bullying as a major problem.

"It's clear that bullying remains a real problem in schools," said Pondering Panda spokesperson Shirley Wakefield.

"The fact that it is seen as more important than infrastructure requirements means that it should be a high priority for teachers, parents and education officials."

Bullying had an immediate, harmful and long-term effect on pupils' psyche and their ability to benefit from education.

The problem was likely to have been exacerbated by the growth in cyber-bullying, which was less easy to identify, she said.

  • yolanda.bezuidenhoutfraser - 2012-12-04 11:20

    Saying it and surveying it means nothing! Our children is bullied, there is no recourse for the victims. My son had to endure a chair leg penetrating his anus. When he retaliated and swore the bulies, the teacher told him he doesn't belong in the school! The eduacation department says its not their problem. Schools rather tend to the bully and not the victim. The legal system also has no recourse. So please rather get something done than just surveys.

      carpejugulim - 2012-12-04 12:08

      I agree Yolanda, the bullies are treared like royal game and absolutely nothing is done for the victims. Heaven forbid that a victim should retaliate after months and months of repeated bullying and complaints where absolutely nothing has been done because then the bully goes whining and crying to the powers that be

      colin.spear - 2012-12-04 12:22

      Agreed, but it starts with surveys and research. It would just make the situation worse if the 'system' suddenly rushes in all bull headed without understanding the problem and makes things worse. Its surveys and other research that brings attention and understanding to the problem so that the most effective action can be taken.

      connie.baiao - 2012-12-04 21:28

      Yolanda, there is recourse for the children but a lot of people don't know about it and it is up to us parents to take action. A few weeks ago my 11 year old was beaten by 5 classmates and suffered physical injuries. I laid criminal charges of assault against the boys (even though they are minors). Bullying is seen as a serious offense in youngsters and is taken quite seriously by the SAPS. The 5 children in question have been arrested and will be tried in a juvenile court. If we stand by and do nothing, then nothing will be done about the bullies and they will continue. It is up to you to go and lay those charges and take it the legal route.

  • paulvernonza - 2012-12-04 11:25

    NO the problem is that children need a bloody good hiding , Raising children using "psychological methods" are all for those who are scared actually do anything. Children are far more perceptible and are able to pickup/equate that their actions will not be met with the any serious deterrent. I don't advocate beatings but I do believe that a hiding should not be an idle threat. The pre-programming of children to challenge authority stems from soft measures and creates a bigger issues than a good smack ever would.

      inky.pinky.56 - 2012-12-04 12:48

      You do not believe in beatings but approve of hidings! They are the same thing! You appear to further believe that the way to stop a bully is to use bullying tactics. Go figure that one !. Who would beat the bully? The incompetent teachers? Our education system is rated the fourth worst in the world and therefore a clear indicator that the teachers are not fit to teach let alone beat a defenceless child.

      araris.valeran - 2012-12-04 13:33

      Beating children to show them that beating children is wrong? Yeah, I'm not sure that is a sustainable solution. After all, we had corporal punishment back in the day when we were in school, and over 50% of respondents to the News24 poll said they were bullied, so clearly it doesn't work.

      helga.venter.1 - 2012-12-04 13:33

      Really? Bullying was rife when I was in school, and in those years corporal punishment was common. The threat of getting a hiding never deterred the bullies, and in the 12 years I spent in school not once was a child given a hiding for bullying behaviour. Hidings were used for things like not doing homework or giving teachers attitude, NOT for picking on other kids.

      lskopinski - 2012-12-04 14:31

      Inky. Pinky don't say all teachers are not competent of doing their jobs. Some of us work very hard, much more than a lot of corporate people. Maybe parents should teach their children that for each right there is a responsability then children will come to school to learn and not to bully or challenge teachers and classmates. Don't always take your child's side and be more there for your child will solve problems like this.

  • linda.duits - 2012-12-04 11:58

    Bullying needs to be stopped at once, teachers need to catch a wake up call,principles need to step it up and parents need to listen to their children. Bullies should be expelled and parents of bullies slapped with a hefty fine. This is BS that everyone turns a blind eye. Parents should be more involved in their childrens lives.The Education department needs to put in a no tolerance rule in every school, but mind you with Angie at the helm........

      carpejugulim - 2012-12-04 12:14

      what does one do when a principal after the barest minimum of investigation tells the pupils concerned: "I don't know who to believe" Even worse is when a parent does step in because the situation has become intolerable for the child that is being bullied and the bullied child is then bullied by the principal

      connie.baiao - 2012-12-04 21:35

      Duits, agreed that severe action needs to be taken but sadly our education department are very slack where this is concerned. Schools are not allowed to just expel kids anymore and have to submit an application to the Dept of Education for an expulsion .... and that is where it stops. One of my sons bullies is a problem at the school and they have requested from the Dept 5 times to have him expelled due to bullying, hitting teachers, and the list goes on. The Dept excuse is he is not a danger to other kids but a few weeks ago him and another 4 boys (11/12 years old) assaulted my son leaving him with physical injuries .... and STILL the dept won't do anything. We have had no choice but to go the criminal route and lay assault charges.

  • fatima.seedat.165 - 2012-12-04 11:59

    Any sexual assault is criminal. Report them to the police.

  • Tony - 2012-12-04 12:01

    I would have thought a 13% pass rate in Maths was a bigger problem?

      hlengiwe.mnguni.54 - 2012-12-04 12:24

      Let me think about that. No. Kids killing each other in school seems more serious to me.

      colin.spear - 2012-12-04 12:35

      It would be a mistake to think the two problems aren't related (or both are caused by other common issues).

  • magogodale.mulalo1 - 2012-12-04 12:13

    Parents a da 1 hu cn deal with dis problem.... Workin hand 2 hand with teachers

      marcus.vermaak - 2012-12-04 13:07


      jessicajinx90 - 2012-12-05 01:48

      I think it's trying to communicate. Can someone translate please?

  • colin.spear - 2012-12-04 12:20

    There really needs to be a distinction made between bullying and thuggery. We had plenty bullies when I was a kid. They shoved you around, publicly humiliated you and would always pick fights with the smaller, lonelier kids. But that is quite different from kids who come to school armed and intimidate, steal and essentially run a small organised crime unit in the school.

  • eland.snitbul - 2012-12-04 12:32

    This must be a joke? Bullying a bigger problem than pupils not receiving textbooks ...? SA being labeled as the dumbest country in Africa...? And according to your title bullying is school's biggest problem? We honestly need better reporting. Bullying has probably been in schools since the first school was built.. I am not sure how this could be solved now.

  • J.Stephen.Whiteley - 2012-12-04 13:06

    In the late 1950s boys were caned by the head on a report by the teacher. The boy was cross-examined by the head first (I do not remember the position as to girls). This may be an improvement today if one teacher is a witness to the caning. But television and single parenthood have destroyed authority in State Schools. In private schools the remedy is suspension or expulsion, which is another argument for privatising education. As things are now, any remedy is better than none.

  • jacyjays.letsoalo - 2012-12-04 13:12

    A lot of social ills have been a problem a long time ago, we had bullies at every school, the problem is DEMOnCrazy! Where I was raised I knew that when I fought with a fellow kid I was going to be taken to a kgotla under a tree and both of us were going to be beaten and forced to be friends! I moved to a Kasi where I parents will do anything to defend their kids. I fought with my neighbours' kids, oh wow it was a mini war, the parents came and all hell broke loose. All I am saying is the advancement of technology has made us get information accessible to us and hence we now think the stats are overwhelming

  • haroldcecil - 2012-12-04 14:08

    U got 2 be kidding me.Bullying the biggest problem PLEASE.What abt poor education,no textbooks,kids being taught under 3's or outside in the heat and what abt the teachers that sleeps with their pupils.Come-on u dnt nd 2 do a servey 2 see what the real problems are

  • khumo.lebone - 2012-12-04 15:26

    Jeez I was thoroughly bullied at school until I learnt to stand up to the bullies, then it stopped. You would go to the school gate and you would see bullies carrying "staal-draade" and waiting for you to pass by. At boarding school it was even worse on weekends where you would start fighting as early as 6am up to 4 boys, then break a little for lunch and then fight about 5 more boys till 5pm. I truly hated weekends back then.

  • teri.bosmanbekker - 2012-12-04 16:07

    No wonder that poor boy shot that one bully not so long ago! It all starts with PARENTS!!!!! lack of discipline! Serious issues!!!

  • winifred.watson.9 - 2012-12-04 16:10

    Bullies are mostly boys or girls who are too old for their class or their school. My maids son is 19 in standard 8 now he is classed as an adult, this guy is too old to be there. School girl pregnancies, same thing, over aged boys in the school. If they have not passed matric by 18 then they should have to go to a special college or something. Eighteen years down the line, this is not on anymore.

      jessicajinx90 - 2012-12-05 01:50

      I agree with you. When I was in school we had a boy in our class who was 3 years older than the rest of us, twice our size and was always mean to everyone. How can someone who is 19 still be allowed to attend Std 8 class?

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