According to Singapore’s Ministry of Education (MOE), provision has been made for several counselling personnel in a school – two Teacher Counsellors (TC) in every primary school / junior college / centralised institute, four TCs in every secondary school, two specially appointed Caring Action in Response to an Emergency (CARE) Officers, Part-time School Counsellors (PTSC) trained and Allied Educators who are specially trained at Diploma level by National Institute of Education. While CARE Officers are trained to manage behaviour in emergency situations, TCs are trained in special areas such as suicide intervention and counselling for grief and loss as well.
(In 2003, 50 students committed suicide. In 2007, 49 students committed suicide. Well done, TCs. Well done.)
MOE, in a parliamentary reply titled Zero Tolerance Towards Bullying in Schools, claims that they “do not tolerate bullying in any form, and schools have in place a system and measures to support a safe, conducive environment for learning (…) schools will take immediate action to investigate and assess all reported cases. Appropriate disciplinary actions will be taken against students who commit the act of bullying”.
Yet, somehow, many cases of bullying in schools go by overlooked. 95% of students in Singapore – in primary and secondary school – have experienced bullying. 1 in 4 secondary school students are bullied every day.
Ask any secondary school student, and (s)he will be able to tell you that in school, (s)he knows at least one person who is, one way or another, connected to a case of bullying – be it a friend of a victim, a friend of a bully, the bully, or the victim. That student will also be able to tell you that (s)he has witnessed at least one incident of bullying. This could range from spamming of social media with hate messages, to pushing and shoving in between classes.
What are teachers doing about this? Nothing.
What is MOE doing about this? Publishing parliamentary replies.
Go ahead, MOE, publish all the articles you want about having “zero tolerance towards bullying”. Your teachers don’t even care about bullying cases. They see it as a phase that students go through. The most they do about bullying cases, is sit the bully and victim down for a “talk”, and then send them for counselling sessions.
The 1 in 4 secondary students who are victimised by bullies know that schools do absolutely nothing about bullying. If anything, they only worsen the situation, and encourage bullies to work “under the radar” instead. It’s even worse nowadays, because bullying doesn’t end when the student leaves school. Bullying now follows the victim home, ready to bombard him/her with a load of insults every time (s)he logs onto social media.
I’m going to end this post abruptly here, because I am done ranting.