A policy, to become effective soon, has been designed to prevent bullying and ragging at educational institutions in the country.
The government is moving forward to formulate the policy over bullying and ragging following the reports of maltreatment or abusive culture from some educational institutions in the country in recent years.
The Education Ministry has already prepared the draft of the proposed policy under the title ‘Prevention of Bullying and Ragging in Educational Institutions Policy, 2023’ after taking opinions from stakeholders.
Suleman Khan, secretary of Secondary and Higher Education Division of the ministry said that they have already prepared the draft of the policy and it is now in the final stage.
He also said that counseling will be ensured to prevent bullying and ragging in schools, colleges, universities, madrasas and all other educational institutions in the country.
It is known that after formulation of the ‘Prevention of Bullying and Ragging in Educational Institutions Policy, 2023’, it will be mandatory for all educational institutions to form committees over bullying and ragging. Complaint box must be installed at all the educational institutions for taking action.
The bullying prevention committee will also hold regular meetings and submit reports to the authorities concerned.
Bullying usually means harassing anyone before or after formal lessons, in the classroom, inside the educational institution or on its compound, or outside the campus, physically hurting someone, calling an abusive manner, behaving abusively and repeatedly harassing.
The bullying disrupts the normal life of many students in the country. Even many victims died after they faced bullying. So, it has become a serious problem in educational institutions. Against this backdrop, the government decided to formulate a separate policy to prevent it.
The proposed policy identifies some types of bullying or ragging and defines these. Some of the bullying types are- verbal, physical and social.
As per the draft policy, verbal bullying is the saying or writing something to someone that implies something bad such as mocking, whistling, calling bad names, using vulgar words or intimidating.
Physical bullying refers to hitting, slapping, kicking, pushing, punching, spitting, tying, ordering or forcing someone to stand in a particular position, forcing someone’s belongings to be taken away or breaking, making indecent or discourteous gestures with the mouth or hands.
Making fun of social status, spreading rumors about someone, publicly insulting someone, making comments about religion, caste, tribe or caste will be termed as social bullying or ragging as per the policy.
As per the draft policy, cyber bullying is defaming friends by writing or posting rude things about them on social media; while sexual bullying is deliberately touching or attempting to touch various parts of the body offensively, and displaying suggestive signs. Stripping or forcing someone to undress, throwing water or paint on the body will also be termed as sexual bullying or ragging.
Insulting and humiliating someone based on race, caste, tribe, religion, profession, skin colour and region will be termed as racial bullying or ragging.
According to the draft policy, involvement of any teacher, officer and employee of an educational institution in bullying or ragging will be considered as a punishable offence and punishment will be ensured under the Government Servants (Discipline and Appeal) Rules, 2018 for the misconduct. If the Rules are not applied, punitive measures may be taken under relevant laws.
If any student is involved in bullying or ragging, the authorities concerned will temporarily or permanently expel the student.
If any member of the governing body, managing, ad hoc or special committee is involved in bullying, he/she may be removed from the membership of the body or the committee concerned may be canceled.
The draft policy has also mentioned the role of the managing committee, headmaster and teachers-employees over bullying at educational institutions.