Parliament Directs Ministry Of Education To Issue Circular On Bullying In Schools
Parliament has directed the Ministry of Education and Sports to issue a circular to combat incidents of bullying by students in all schools in the country.
Speaker Anita Among made the directive in her opening communication to the legislators during plenary sitting on Thursday. It follows the death of a 14-year old Bonus Atukwatse, a Senior One student of Kyamate Secondary School in Ntungamo Municipality on 26 February 2023.
Atukwatse’s tormentor, a Senior Three student was serving a suspension by the school authorities for bullying. The suspect reportedly later sneaked into the school premises and tied his victim on his dormitory bed before soaking him with petrol and setting him ablaze.
Several other students were injured in the inferno that gutted and destroyed valuable property worth millions of Shillings across Mandela and Nyerere boys’ dormitories at the school.
Speaker Among condemned the ‘barbaric’ act and directed the Education Ministry to urgently develop an urgent circular that must be communicated to all schools in the country to outlaw and severely punish perpetrators in order to protect vulnerable learners.
The Speaker called for more investigations to ascertain the cause of bullying in modern day schools. She equally rallied parents to exercise proper parenting to foster love, discipline and respect among the children.
In response, John Chrysestom Muyingo, the State Minister for Higher Education conveyed the Ministry’s condolence to the bereaved family and restated that a new circular will be communicated to schools to address bullying.
Bullying is a repeated form of aggressive behavior in which someone intentionally and repeatedly causes another person injury or discomfort such as use of force, coercion, hurtful teasing or threat, to abuse, dominate or intimidate the weak by older or stronger individuals.
A 2020 report by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization – UNESCO revealed that bullying in schools deprives millions of children and young people of their fundamental right to education.
The findings projected that more than 30% of the world’s students have been victims of bullying, affecting 1 in 3 young people each month with devastating consequences on academic achievement, school dropout, and physical and mental health.