Bullying and ragging: Is there no end to it?
Posted on November 17th, 2022

Janaka Perera

A UNICEF study in 2020 revealed that over 40 percent of reported cases of bullying in schools involved physical attacks and fights among peers. Alarmingly, they also found that risky behaviors and activities such as smoking, consuming alcohol, skipping classes, dropping out of school, and considering or attempting suicide, were significantly associated with violence victimization.”

Sri Lanka is by no means an exception when it comes to the prevalence of bullying, either physically or through the internet. School violence and bullying, including cyberbullying, are widespread and affect a significant number of children and adolescents. This led UNESCO Member State to declare the first Thursday of November, the International Day against Violence and Bullying at School, Including Cyberbullying”. What this recognizes is that school-related violence, in all its forms, is an infringement of children’s and adolescents’ rights to education, health, and well-being. It calls upon Member States, UN partners, other relevant international and regional organizations, as well as civil society, including non-governmental organizations, individuals, and other stakeholders to help promote, celebrate, and facilitate the international day.

Brutal ragging has been plaguing Sri Lanka’s state universities since about the 1970s. Since then the appointment of several commissions by successive governments has yielded no results though laws exist in the statute books to prevent them. Within the past five decades, students have become victims of this brutality resulting in several deaths including suicides, and others suffering permanent injuries and disabilities

The Sunday Times (Nov.6) quoting, Higher Education State Minister Dr. Suren Raghavan reported that University marshals have not received any training to manage ragging or to counsel students said.

 This issue has been in the university system for a long time and has gone deep-rooted over the past four to five decades. Such an issue becomes prolonged, of course, it will eventually become a subculture.

The fundamental issue the University Grants Commission and the State Ministry finds is that the students who are harassed and some part of academia who are aware are not willing to make complaints,” he said.

According to Dhanushka Weerasekara, an anti-ragging activist, university administrations are required to take stronger measures under the 1998 law. The administration should establish guidelines and adhere to the Act. It has the same impact as the Prevention of Terrorism Act. According to the Ragging Act, two complaints must be filed: one by the student and one by the university”

Ragging is both verbal and physical, including drug abuse, assault, and sexual harassment. Sri Lankan State Universities have been producing globally renowned individuals in all most all professions. However, in the recent past there has been a growing concern about the prevalence of ragging and sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) in State Universities in Sri Lanka”, said, Senior Professor Sampath Amaratunge, Chairman of, the University Grants Commission.

Regarding school bullying, religious organizations in some countries have come forward to guide children who are vulnerable to bullying. A JW.ORG whiteboard animation entitled Beat a Bully Without Using Your Fists” gives the example of a teenager who faced beatings and threats but was able to not only withstand the bullying but also able to win over his tormentors.

However not every situation can be resolved so easily, especially at the university level. It needs the strong intervention of the university authorities and the government with its legal machinery.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.



Copyright © 2024 LankaWeb.com. All Rights Reserved. Powered by Wordpress