One in six German school kids regularly bullied: report

A new report shows that one in six German school children faces regular bullying at school.

One in six German school kids regularly bullied: report
Photo: DPA.

The PISA study released on Wednesday found that 15.7 percent of German 15-year-olds surveyed reported being regular victims of bullying at school at least “a few times a month”. That’s about one in six students, but still lower than the OECD average of nearly one in five students (18.7 percent).

The global PISA study (Programme for International Student Assessment) is conducted by the OECD as a way to compare scholastic performance across countries. Wednesday’s report also used the survey to examine students’ well-being, questioning more than half a million students in 72 countries.

“Bullying was a major issue in schools, with a large proportion of students reporting being victims,” the report states.

“Students attending schools where bullying is frequent, by international standards, score 47 points lower in science than students in schools where bullying occurs less frequently. Students who reported being frequently exposed to bullying also reported a weaker sense of belonging at school and less satisfaction with life.”

Nearly one in ten (9.2 percent) German students also reported being the target of taunts and insults, while 2.3 percent said they had been pushed around or hit at school. Another 7.3 percent said that “nasty rumours” had been spread about them at school.

“We must more strongly address bullying in Germany because it is often here still pushed to the margins,” OECD education and skills director Andreas Schleicher told DPA.

“Only a no-tolerance practice helps to make it clear that something like this is not acceptable.”

Compared to the OECD average, German students were about on par as far as ratings of life satisfaction (around 7.3 out of 10), but felt much more strongly a sense of belonging at school. They also reported feeling less school-related anxiety than the OECD average.

Overall across the OECD study and in Germany, boys were more likely to be the victims of physical aggression, while girls were more likely to be excluded or to become the focus of malicious rumours. Recent immigrants were also more likely to experience all forms of bullying across the countries.

The country where students reported the highest rates of bullying was Latvia, where nearly one in three (30.6 percent) 15-year-olds reported being victims of mean treatment. New Zealand, Singapore, Macao, and Australia rounded out the top five in the report’s index of exposure to bullying. The UK came in sixth place.

South Korea was ranked by the report’s index as having the least exposure to bullying, with less than 12 percent of students reporting mistreatment each month.

“Effective anti-bullying programmes follow a whole-of-school approach that includes training for teachers on bullying behaviour and how to handle it, anonymous surveys of students to monitor the prevalence of bullying, and strategies to provide information to and engage with parents,” the report states.

“Teachers and parents have a particularly important role to play in preventing bullying at school: teachers need to communicate to students that they will not tolerate any form of bullying; and parents need to be involved in school planning and responses to bullying.”

With DPA.


‘It’s their loss’: Italian universities left off UK special study visa list

The UK is missing out by barring highly skilled Italian graduates from accessing a new work visa, Italy's universities minister said on Wednesday.

'It's their loss': Italian universities left off UK special study visa list

Universities and Research Minister Cristina Messa said she was disappointed by the UK’s decision not to allow any graduates of Italian universities access to its ‘High Potential Individual’ work permit.

“They’re losing a big slice of good graduates, who would provide as many high skills…it’s their loss,” Messa said in an interview with news agency Ansa, adding that Italy would petition the UK government to alter its list to include Italian institutions.

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“It’s a system that Britain obviously as a sovereign state can choose to implement, but we as a government can ask (them) to revise the university rankings,” she said.

The High Potential Individual visa, which launches on May 30th, is designed to bring highly skilled workers from the world’s top universities to the UK in order to compensate for its Brexit-induced labour shortage.

Successful applicants do not require a job offer to be allowed into the country but can apply for one after arriving, meaning potential employers won’t have to pay sponsorship fees.

Students sit on the steps of Roma Tre University in Rome.

Students sit on the steps of Roma Tre University in Rome. Photo by TIZIANA FABI / AFP.

The visa is valid for two years for those with bachelor’s and master’s degrees and three years for PhD holders, with the possibility of moving into “other long-term employment routes” that will allow the individual to remain in the country long-term.

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Italy isn’t the only European country to have been snubbed by the list, which features a total of 37 global universities for the 2021 graduation year (the scheme is open to students who have graduated in the past five years, with a different list for each graduation year since 2016).

The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, EPFL Switzerland, Paris Sciences et Lettres, the University of Munich, and Sweden’s Karolinska Institute are the sole European inclusions in the document, which mainly privileges US universities.

Produced by the UK’s Education Ministry, the list is reportedly based on three global rankings: Times Higher Education World University Rankings, the Quacquarelli Symonds World University Rankings, and The Academic Ranking of World Universities.

Messa said she will request that the UK consider using ‘more up-to-date indicators’, without specifying which alternative system she had in mind.