Why was the Anti-bullying Bill not passed at the National Assembly?

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The Problem Statement

The Anti-bullying School Standard Bill is yet to be enacted in Nigeria. However, as at last year, August 2019, the Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, has said the federal government will no longer tolerate bullying in the nation’s schools. This came as he said the damage the act does to the mental, social, and psychological well-being of victims calls for concern.

He stated this in Abuja, at the training of over 100 young boys and girls on anti-bullying, organized by a group under the aegis of “I am the Future of Nigeria Youth Initiative” in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Federal Capital Territory Authority, Nigeria Police Force and the Universal Basic Education Commission, UBEC. “The Minister of State said that bullying was capable of stopping children from being productive and responsible members of the society, hence, the need to urgently address the ugly phenomenon in the nation’s secondary schools,” the statement quoted him as saying. The statement read further: “According to the Minister of State, it is the responsibility of the entire society to ensure that ‘we bring up children who know that every other child is very important. “The wellbeing of every child is our concern.’, the Minister reiterated. Speaking further, the Minister of State said that it is his collective responsibility with Education Minister, Adamu Adamu to ensure that Nigerian children find their school environments conducive for learning and other beneficial activities.

 

The Policy Solution

The enactment of the Anti-bullying Standard Bill in Nigeria will help create a conducive learning environment for the students in Secondary and Primary School. It will make education more attractive and inculcate good behaviour in students. Hence increasing productivity and curbing social vices.

Several states and provinces In the USA have models for school bullying policies available for schools and school boards to adopt. Further to this, a Lawmaker from Pennsylvania says he wants to crack down on bullying and one way to do so, he says, is to punish parents for their child’s bad behavior by placing on them, a fine of $750.

 

NIGAC Constructive Position/Take

For the Nigerian Global Affairs Council, we propose that PROACTIVE Measures be taken to educate our Kids and Students on the NEGATIVE effects of Bullying – and the long-term IMPACT it could also have in the RELATIONSHIPS or BRIDGES as a result of the BULLYING behaviour they DISPLAY to the fellow students.

We believe a CURRICULUM on RESPONSIBILE ACCEPTABLE BEHAVIOUR should be added to the subject on Civic Education. We need PROACTIVE Laws not PUNITIVE measures that affects teenagers who might be IGNORANT of the consequences of their ACTIONS.

In addition, schools should ensure they have clear school policies on bullying, it helps to clarify expectations on appropriate behaviour and what the consequences of bullying are. With school policies on bullying in place, it will inculcate in everyone, good behaviour both in the school and at home.

Anti-bullying policies in schools should include both protection for students and also adults in the workplace. Once drafted, the task then becomes one of communicating the policy to teachers, staff, and students. When schools do have anti-bullying policies written, often they’re not well known or too vague.  This should not be the case, rather, the policies should reduce bullying behaviour to zero-tolerance.

School bullying policies should also prescribe interventions to change students’ behaviours and help them learn how to develop healthy social relationships as well as a conducive environment for a great learning experience.

The Anti-bullying standard bill can be drafted with the following steps:

  • Define Bullying
  • Ascertain the model/framework of the Anti-bullying Policy
  • Outline procedures for reporting incidence
  • Specify how reports are to be investigated and disciplinary actions to either students or parents of the student(s)
  • Outline how victims of bullying can get immediate help
  • State clearly anti-bullying training and prevention procedures

In all, enacting the Anti-bullying Standard Bill in Nigeria makes us a step ahead in revitalizing the educational system, embracing the learning culture whilst curbing social vices.

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