Forty children from across Malaysia, aged between 13 and 16 years old, staged a “Kita Peduli” (We Care) KidsTakeover at Parliamen Malaysia on World Children’s Day recently to demonstrate their concern for bullying in schools in Malaysia.
Nur Iwani Izzati Bt Ruhaizard (16) from Negeri Sembilan presented the Children’s Recommendations for an Anti-Bullying School Policy to Deputy Minister of Education YB Puan Teo Nie Ching. The Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia YAB Dato’ Seri Dr. Wan Azizah Wan Ismail and UNICEF Representative to Malaysia Ms. Marianne Clark-Hattingh witnessed the handover. Parlimen Malaysia Speaker of the House YB Tan Sri Mohamad Ariff Md. Yusof, and several Members of Parliament graced the event in support of the children.
WE NEED TO FEEL SAFE
“We need an anti-bullying policy because we deserve to feel safe, and to be able to trust people without fear. We need this to get the best of our youth”, the children highlighted in their Recommendations.
The Anti-Bullying School Policy recommendations were developed by 40 students from 18 schools during the 3D/2N immersive #ENDviolence Youth Camp in October.
The camp was organised by the Ministry of Education, Project I.D. and UNICEF in response to the 2018 Children4Change survey which revealed 83% of students in Malaysia have been a victim of bullying. Close to 70% of the children called for an Anti-Bullying School Policy to help them feel safe in schools.
KIDSTAKEOVER CALLS FOR EMPATHY AND KINDNESS
According to the Children’s Recommendations: “Every member of the school community should do good, speak kind and positive words, behave politely, and be treated with the same care and consideration that will ensure everyone feels safe and welcomed.” The children presented 6 key recommendations:
- Update the “2010 Guidelines on Preventing and Addressing Bullying Among School Students” to include new forms of bullying such as cyberbullying. Guidance for teachers, counselors, peer-counselors, and students should also be updated to reflect new trends;
- Introduce the Code of Conduct for Students and Teachers in all schools to contribute to a safe learning environment;
- Establish Comprehensive Reporting Systems for bystanders and witnesses;
- Ensure thorough investigations that prioritise the privacy and protects the dignity of the victim and the bully;
- Strengthen Support Assistance for victims of bullying so that students feel safe, trusted, and not sidelined
- Replace harsh punishment with a holistic Program for Bullies that will help the bully to empathise and understand the feelings of the victim. The approach should also study the factors that led to the bullying. This includes home factors.
KIDSTAKEOVER: LISTEN TO CHILDREN
“The children have presented their recommendations to end bullying in schools. Violence in schools is an age-old issue, re-emerging in new forms in this digital age. Leadership, as displayed by the children, urgent action, and a recommitment to child rights is what we need today,” said Marianne Clark-Hattingh, UNICEF Representative in Malaysia.
The #KidsTakeover initiative commemorates the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in 1989. Article 12 of the CRC guarantees every child the right to be heard, to participate, and to play a role in the civic life of society.
The celebrations this year is particularly meaningful as Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, the current Prime Minister of Malaysia, was also the Prime Minister of Malaysia in 1995, when Malaysia became a signatory of the convention. February 2020 marks 25 years of Malaysia acceding to the CRC.
KidsTakeover Kita Peduli is a joint initiative by the Ministry of Education, Project I.D. and UNICEF, with support from Undi18.