Korea will kick off its second biannual survey on violence in elementary, middle and high schools throughout the country next week, the Education Ministry said Thursday.
Students from some 600 schools ― ranging from fourth graders to second year high school students ― will participate in the nationwide survey. Parents of students in the cited schools will also be allowed to take part, should they choose to do so.
The survey will be held online from Sept. 19 to Oct. 24, and will have the same categories as the first survey: whether the student has been a victim, perpetrator or witness of school violence and whether preventive education on school violence is effective.
Parents will be asked to share their views on the seriousness of violence in classrooms.
Anyone wishing to participate in the government survey can log on to the website of the National Education Information System (neis.go.kr) and answer the questions. The results will be posted online on Korea’s school information website (schoolinfo.go.kr) in November.
School violence is one of the four major social ills President Park Geun-hye vowed to tackle upon taking office, the others being sexual violence, domestic violence and substandard food.
The results of the first round of surveys in 2013 showed school violence had dropped 0.5 percent to 1.4 percent between the first survey in March and April and the second in the fall. But it also showed that only 33.9 percent of the respondents thought that reporting the cases to the authorities was an effective measure, marking a 7.3 percent drop.
The majority of the violence ― 67.9 percent ― happened in schools, and 9.2 percent of the respondents said they were victims of cyberbullying.
In many cases, bullying occurred for trivial reasons. Some 28.4 percent said they abused the victims “as a joke” while another 21.1 percent said it was simply because they “did not like the victim.” About 9.5 percent said there was no reason at all.
Another study by the National Youth Policy Institute showed that only 5.2 percent of students said they reported the incident to the teachers or the police, in line with the Education Ministry’s findings that students have little faith that the authorities will stop bullying.
“Victims of school violence have a tendency to suffer from depression, anxiety and a lack of ability to adjust to new environments,” said Chung Jae-young, professor of education at Ewha Womans University. “Their self-esteem also takes a hit. In some cases, the induced aggressiveness can turn the victims into perpetrators (of school violence).”
The government survey revealed that 25.4 percent of students had been both a victim and perpetrator of bullying.
By Yoon Min-sik (email@example.com)