NZ 2nd worst in world for school bullying
By GRANT FLEMING | Sunday, 14 December 2008

New Zealand has been ranked second worst among 37 countries when it comes bullying in primary schools, according to a major international report.

Almost three quarters of about 5000 New Zealand year five students said they had been bullied in the past month in the Trends In International Mathematics And Science Study (TIMSS).

The same study, which was released last week, also found that local pupils were lagging behind Kazakhstan when it came to science prowess, scoring just above the international average. In maths they scored below the international average.

When it came to bullying only Tunisia ranked lower with 77 per cent of students reporting bullying in the last month.

Bullying was defined as having something stolen, being hit or hurt by another student, was left out, made fun of, or made to do something you didn't want to do.

New Zealand also ranked second worse when it came to students experiencing three of more of those forms of bullying in the past month, with 33 per cent reporting such experiences.

Only Taiwan, with 35 per cent, was worse.

New Zealand's rates were more than 50 per cent above the international average.

Australia also fared badly in the year five section of the study just above Qatar, Taiwan, New Zealand and Tunisia with 70 per cent of students reporting some form of bullying in the past month and 26 per cent saying they had experienced three or more kinds.

Labour's education spokesman, Chris Carter, said parents "would be horrified" by the report's findings

"This shocking news must be a wake up call for the new National-ACT Government to focus education resources on making our schools safer for students."

Mr Carter, Labour's former education minister, defended his own record, saying he had instructed the Education Review Office to ensure schools had strategies in place to combat bullying.

Resource cards had also been distributed to students on the subject.

A spokeswoman for Education Minister Anne Tolley said she had not been briefed on the figures, but would look into it "as a priority".

She said she saw bullying in schools as a serious issue that needed to be addressed and Labour's efforts in the area had been lacklustre.

Its resource cards were a gimmick that were either likely to be lying languishing in classrooms or to have been tossed into the rubbish by students.

Mr Carter said 220 New Zealand primary schools had taken part in the study, the major part of which was released last week.

More than 600 New Zealand principals and teachers were surveyed as well as 4940 Year five students.

-NZPA

From here.