New Delhi: More than 150 million students aged between 13-15 years have experienced peer-to-peer violence in and around school, according to a report released by Unicef on Friday.
Slightly more than 1 in 3 students aged between 13-15 years experience bullying, and roughly the same proportion are involved in physical fights. While 3 in 10 students in 39 industrialised countries admit to bullying peers, the report says.
While girls and boys are equally at risk of bullying, girls are more likely to become victims of psychological forms of bullying and boys are more at risk of physical violence and threats, the report suggested.
Peer violence — measured as the number of children who reported having been bullied in the last month or having been involved in a physical fight in the last year — is a pervasive part of young people’s education around the world which impacts student learning and well-being in rich and poor countries alike.
“In 2017, there were 396 documented or verified attacks on schools in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, 26 on schools in South Sudan, 67 attacks in the Syrian Arab Republic and 20 attacks in Yemen,” it said.
Nearly 720 million school-aged children live in countries where corporal punishment at school is not fully prohibited.
The report noted that violence involving weapons in schools, such as knives and guns, continues to claim lives. It also said that bullies are turning violent, hurtful and humiliating with increasing influence of digital world.
“Every day students face multiple dangers including fighting, pressure to join gangs, bullying — both in person and online — violent discipline, sexual harassment and armed violence. In the short-term this impacts their learning, and in the long-term it can lead to depression, anxiety and even suicide,” said Unicef Executive Director Henrietta Fore.