PETALING JAYA: Bullying cases in schools must be handled more holistically, says Datuk Dr Mohd Radzi Md Jidin.

The Education Minister said every component within the school ecosystem must be reviewed in trying to curb bullying.

“We must look at each component to know what we can strengthen further so that our efforts to curb bullying in schools will be a success.

“If we are only focused on specific components, then we will not be able to prevent such acts wholly,” he told reporters after the national-level Teachers Day 2021 Award presentation ceremony yesterday.

He said the ministry has been looking at whether existing reporting systems are sufficient, as well as monitoring systems in schools and punishments.

Radzi said discussions are also being held with central agencies to look into making warden positions in boarding schools as a monitoring component to reduce the risk of bullying.

“Self-awareness among the students is another component. We cannot just talk about punishments and monitoring alone.

“We must educate our students about rational behaviour and empathy towards others,” he said in response to the National Union of Teaching Profession’s request to the ministry to return caning powers to the teachers.

Separately, he said the boarding school students in Perak who were seen in several viral video clips punching a peer would be transferred to national schools.

He said school counsellors will monitor these students as the ministry does not want the issue to continue in the new school they enter, adding that schools must be honest in reporting bullying cases.

“Bullying cases in boarding schools and national schools differ due to their environment.

“As such, counselling plays an important role, especially in trying to help bullies realise the consequences of their actions,” he said.

Radzi added that the ministry is confident that by viewing bullying holistically, they would be able to manage such cases better.

“We have various approaches in place and are improving on them to strengthen our methods.

“When schools reopen next year, we will focus on the self-awareness aspect of bullying in all schools.

“Students have not returned to school in a long time, so we want to take the opportunity to focus on this,” he said.

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