Prevalence of bullying and discrimination among students in the higher education institutes is high in the country. This is according to a study by a group of academicians. The study revealed that about 36 per cent of college students reported experiencing some form of bullying and the number stands at about 47 per cent when it comes to discrimination. These findings were presented during the second National Conference on Higher Education held in Samtse recently.
Dr Kezang Sherab, an associate professor with the Paro College of Education, shared the report’s findings.
The study, conducted in 2016 and 2023, looked at assessing the extent of these issues across 15 higher education institutions in Bhutan.
“This is the second survey that we are running. The first survey was done in 2016. And after six years, we wanted to see the current status of bullying and discrimination experiences of our college students. We have covered 15 colleges and about 1652 students. Compared to 2016, there is a slight reduction in the prevalence of such cases in 2023. But the prevalence rate is still quite high.”
As per the study, the most common form of bullying includes spreading lies about someone, exclusion, and fostering dislike towards individuals.
Additionally, the study also revealed other forms of bullying such as physical aggression, locking someone indoors, property destruction, threats, sexual harassment, and racial or colour-related name-calling.
In terms of discrimination, the study showed that participants felt others considered themselves superior and underestimated their intelligence.
As a recommendation, the study suggests increasing attention, and review of policies, guidelines and practices with regard to bullying and discrimination.
“We are proposing if our colleges could adopt something like health promoting colleges, where we try to be more proactive and create a conducive and a safe environment for our students, where they come and study, and spend their important part of their lives, which will have more impact later in their lives,” said Dr Kezang Sherab.
The survey report is part of a broader study exploring various aspects such as drug use, mental health concerns, and sexuality among college students in Bhutan.
Over 4,100 participants from the 15 RUB colleges took part in the two studies.
Passang Dorji, Samtse
Edited by Sherub Dorji