Aussie kids among world’s worst bullies
Aussie kids are among the world's worst bullies, with one in 10 teenagers bashed or pushed at school.
Thirty per cent of Australian high school students are victims of bullying - and COVID-19 lockdowns are stoking cyber-bullying - a new global education report reveals.
Bullying rates in Australia are higher than the average of 23 per cent across the industrialised world, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) report shows.
Aussie teenagers are three times more likely than Korean kids, and twice as likely as Chinese children, to be bullied at school.
The report, based on surveys of up to 10 million 15-year-old students worldwide, found that 10 per cent of Australian kids were hit or pushed around by other students, compared to the global average of 7 per cent.
One in seven Australian teenagers said fellow students had taken or destroyed their belongings, while 10 per cent were threatened and 12 per cent were the targets of nasty rumours.
"When students feel safe at school, they tend to have better educational outcomes,'' the OECD report says.
"An environment characterised by disrespect, bullying, victimisation or violence can act as a barrier to learning.
"Bullying at school can have long-lasting negative consequences for students' psychological wellbeing and increases the likelihood of dropping out of school.''
The OECD report warns that home schooling during COVID-19 lockdowns could disadvantage children from poorer families, who might not have access to computers, internet or tutors.
And it predicts the drought of fee-paying foreign students, stranded offshore by border lockdowns, will hit Australian universities harder than most other unis worldwide.
Foreign students pay $19,000 a year more than local students, on average, to study a bachelor's degree at an Australian university, the report says.
Australian universities rely on foreign students for a quarter of their revenue.
"Australia, with a higher share of international students than in total across the OECD, may be more strongly affected than other countries,'' the report says.
It warns that universities will need to "reinvent their learning environments'', as the COVID-19 crisis "raises questions about the value offered by a university education which includes networking and social opportunities''.
"Students are already demanding a partial refund of their tuition fees and many institutions (in OECD countries) have made pro-rata refunds on room and board, or have offered fee deferrals,'' it says.
"With the enrolment of international students for the next academic year severely compromised, this will cut into universities' bottom line, affecting not only their core education services, but also the financial support they provide domestic students, as well as research and development activities.''
Australian universities have been forced to slash spending and sack staff during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Originally published as Aussie kids among world's worst bullies