Advocating the Rights of Children (ARC) will be holding RESPECT campaign interactive sessions for students(Grades 8 -12) and parents. These sessions will be conducted at Islamic University of Maldives (hall) by ARC’s senior consultant on Education Ms Fathimath Nahid Shakir, and is open to the general public, as follows:
- Parents’ sessions - 3rd May, 20.30 to 22.30 Hrs
- Parents’ sessions - 7th May, 20.30 to 22.30 Hrs
- Students’ session – 6th May, 10.00 to 13.00 Hrs
- Students’ session - 9th May, 16.00 to 19.00 Hrs
The RESPECT Campaign, launched by ARC in 2014, is designed to equip children to respect themselves, others, differences, boundaries and surroundings, and has a special focus on anti-bullying and anti-discrimination. It promotes social values and works towards creating safer environments for children.
Through the RESPECT Campaign activities ARC has reached a total of over 6590 students, parents and teachers nationwide. This includes interactive sessions in 50 schools across 27 islands in 11 Atolls, and ARC is pleased to note the very positive feedback and support from the schools towards this campaign.
RESPECT campaign was developed following a survey conducted by ARC in 2012, which showed alarming statistics of bullying in schools. The survey was conducted at one class of Grades 6 and 7 in all primary schools of Male’, Hulhumale’ and Villimale’. Out of the 542 students that participated:
- 80% of children stated that they seen another student being bullied/discriminated against and 78% of children noted that bullies acted in a group
- 61% indicated that they themselves had been bullied in school
- Among types of bullying experienced, 15% noted being hurt physically, 28% noted spreading lies and rumours about them, while 32% noted hurtful teasing.
- Participants also noted that 10% of bullying incidents took place in the toilet areas, 14% in the school playground, 16% in corridors and 37% in classrooms
- 45% of children noted that they have never reported bullying incidents to anyone and from the 55% who had reported such incidents, 49% of reports were made to teachers, while 45% was made to parents
- 17% of children mentioned that they had bullied another student
- Among reasons of why children think bulling happens, 11% noted having difference of opinions, 18% noted performance at schools, 23% noted personality and 36% noted physical appearance
- Children’s opinions on ways to prevent bullying: 13% noted involving students, parents and teachers on bullying prevention, 16% noted raising more awareness on anti-bullying and 17% noted the need for increased adult supervision, while 19% noted the need for creation of policies and rules to stop bullying
A series of activities have been planned by ARC for 2017, which also includes helping strengthen anti-bullying policies at a selected pilot school. ARC hopes that the RESPECT campaign will encourage Maldivian children to own respect and make it a way of life.