Saman Haziq/Dubai, UAE

Filed on April 28, 2018

The week has been for brainstorming, deep thinking and reflection.

A number of representatives of the KHDA as well as the Dubai Police have been visiting schools to promote and encourage anti-bullying activities.

Taking a pledge to stand up against bullying, about 200 Dubai schools took part in the week-long anti-bullying campaign announced by the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA). The campaign will conclude today.

In a mail sent out to Dubai schools, the KHDA stated: “In February, we received the results of the Dubai Student Wellbeing Census, which told us that 84 per cent of students are happy at school while 77 per cent feel safe. While this is positive news, we recognise that progress still needs to be made. We’re working on a national initiative with our friends in the local and federal governments to highlight the importance of empathy, kindness and compassion as a way of helping children feel safer and happier at school, and to share those positive practices with our community. Part of this initiative is the national week of the anti-bullying in the schools.”

A number of representatives of the KHDA as well as the Dubai Police have been visiting schools to promote and encourage anti-bullying activities during the week-long campaign, including KHDA director-general Dr Abdulla Al Karam.

“Bullying is a problem everyone has been handling alone and that is why we decided to run a unified campaign for all schools of Dubai to handle this issue. It is a hidden issue that our children are just tolerating quietly. This initiative aims at surfacing such issues. We aim to bring back the innocence and beauty back to childhood by getting rid of it. People should share their experiences of bullying and how they overcame bullying. We aim to ensure our kids are happy not only at home but at school and in their lives ahead,” said Abdulrahman Nassir, CEO of business support at the KHDA, during a visit at a school.

Talking about the anti-bullying campaign, Sabari Indian School principal Latha Venkateswar said: “For this entire week, our students’ planned anti-bullying activities based on creative thinking expert Edward De’Bono’s thinking-hat strategies. Our students amazed us with their visible thinking through posters, reverse brainstorming, pantomime, i-movies, robotics and their soul-touching pledges as they made personal, emotional, local and global connections. The week has been of brainstorming, deep thinking and reflection, which has helped our students internalise the value of respect for each other and to stand up to stop bullying of all forms including cyberbullying.”

Representing GEMS Wellington Academy, Al Khail, associate principal Neil Matthews said: “In support of the ‘National Week of Anti-Bullying in Schools’, our students have been involved in initiatives such as identifying anti-bullying champions to promote friendship and kindness throughout the school. We are ensuring that all students are given a ‘voice’ through schemes such as ‘worry boxes’, which enable students to share their concerns without talking directly to an adult in the first instance.

Pranav, a student of Grade 9, said: “I have been bullied for almost three years in my previous school and it is a painful experience that is difficult to overcome. Students ignored me, called me names, made me do things against my will and ridiculed me. It was the toughest time of my life and I got extremely depressed and unable to handle it. I overcame it by ignoring my bullies and informing my teachers. I am glad for such anti-bullying campaigns as these can really help create awareness about the grave effects of this evil practice.