About one in every ten students in Brazil is a frequent target of of bullying at school. It's usually an adolescent who is physically or psychologically abused, is targeted by nasty jokes or rumors, deliberately excluded by colleagues, or not invited to parties and gatherings.
These were the findings of the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2015 - Volume 3 on students' well-being. The study, which was conducted by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), assessed 540,000 fifteen-year-old students, a sample that represents 29 million students from 72 countries—comprising both the 35 OECD member countries and 37 partner economies including Brazil.
Some 17.5% of the respondents said they had been bullied at least few times a month; 7.8% said they had been left out by colleagues; 9.3% said they had been made fun of; 4.1% had been threatened; 3.2% had been hit or pushed. Another 5.3% said their personal property was frequently taken away or destroyed by colleagues, and 7.9% had been the targets of nasty rumors. Based on their reports, 9% of the students were classified as frequent victims of bullying—that means they were at the top of the bullying index and were more exposed to it.
Compared to the other countries covered by PISA, Brazil had one of the lowest indices of exposure to bullying, ranking 43rd among 53 countries for which bullying data were available. An average 18.7% of students from OECD countries reported being bullied more than once a month, and 8.9% were classified as frequent victims.
“Bullying has serious consequences for both the bully and the victim. Adolescents engaged in bullying as perpetrators, victims, or both are more likely to skip classes, drop out of school, and perform worse academically than schoolmates who have no conflictual relationships with their peers,” said the study, pointing out adolescents who engage in bullying or are bullied are more likely to have symptoms of depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, and to lose interest in activities.
Satisfaction and sense of belonging
Brazilian students scored above average in terms of life satisfaction, with 44.6% saying they were very satisfied (the average for OECD countries was 34.1%.) On the other end of the scale, 11.8% said they were not satisfied with their lives, both in Brazil and on average for OECD.
In Brazil, 76.1% said they felt like they belong at school. Among OECD countries, 73% of adolescents reported similar feelings.
Nearly all Brazilian students (96.7%) heard by PISA would like to be able to select from the best opportunities available when they graduate and 63,9% want to be among the best students in class. The OECD averages for those two aspects were 92.7% and 59.2% respectively.
However, the country also ranked high in terms of anxiety among students, with 80.8% of Brazilian students saying they felt very anxious even when they were well prepared to sit exams, second only to Costa Rica's 81.2%. (The OECD average was 55.5%.). More than half of the Brazilian students (56%) said they felt tense when studying. The OECD average was 36.6%.
“These results suggest that forging stronger relationships between schools and parents to give adolescents the support they need—academically and psychologically—could go a long way towards improving the well-being of all students,” the report read.
Translated by Mayra Borges