Bullying still rampant in NZ, study shows
Fifteen-year-olds in New Zealand are reporting the second-highest rate of bullying out of 51 countries - a statistic the Children’s Commissioner has blasted as ‘‘utterly unacceptable and deeply disturbing’’.
The finding is included in the third volume of data to be published from the OECD’s latest three-yearly survey as part of the Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa) carried out in 2015.
Survey answers from New Zealand showed just over a quarter of the students taking part reported being subject to some type of bullying at least a few times a month.
That included 6.7 per cent who reported being hit or pushed around by other students, 8.3 per cent who were threatened, and 6.3 per cent who said other students took or destroyed things that belonged to them.
Pisa considered just under one in five of the New Zealand students as meeting the criteria for being described as frequently bullied, compared to the OECD average of 8.9 per cent.
Among the Kiwi students, 12.8 per cent reported being left out or having students spread nasty rumours about them, and 17.4 per cent said other students made fun of them and 12.8 per cent said other students spread nasty rumours about them.
Children’s Commissioner Judge Andrew Becroft said bullying rates in New Zealand were unacceptably high and should cause deep shame.
‘‘It’s utterly unacceptable and deeply disturbing to see the relatively high rates of reported bullying, relative to the rest of the world,’’ Becroft said.
Asked whether he thought the report gave a fair indication of rates of bullying in New Zealand compared to other countries, he said it was a fair question but he was not a statistician and could not comment on that aspect of the survey.
‘‘We have to start from the fact that’s what New Zealand children are saying,’’ Becroft said.
The Pisa programme was reputable and did say that by and large New Zealand was doing well in terms of student wellbeing. ‘‘Kids are engaged, motivated to be engaged, and supported in their achievement in school.’’
But the rates of reported bully- ing should perplex New Zealanders and cause us to ask why they were high.
‘‘That’s a question whole country,’’ he said.
‘‘It's utterly unacceptable and deeply disturbing ’’
Bullied students are more likely to skip classes, drop out of school and perform worse academically.