Counselors doubled to curb bullying

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Counselors doubled to curb bullying

The government said yesterday it will double the number of counselors at primary and secondary schools nationwide this year as part of its effort to stop the increase in school violence and bullying.

The education ministry said it will recruit 500 counselors in charge of helping both school bullies and victims by March, and dispatch them to private primary, middle and high schools deemed prone to in-campus violence.

It will also hire 500 additional counselors through the annual teachers recruitment exam in September to have them take up the position in the country’s public schools, according to its officials.

The move, which is the largest-ever increase in the number of school counselors, follows the government’s comprehensive countermeasures against rampant school violence in the wake of a series of suicides by bullied victims.

The government used to employ some 100 school counselors on a yearly basis since 2005 when it introduced the system, and now roughly 10 percent of the country’s 11,100 primary and secondary schools have counseling teachers, according to ministry data.

Meanwhile, a survey conducted by an adolescent welfare center affiliated with the Seoul Metropolitan Government showed that four out of 10 primary and secondary school students in the capital have experienced bullying by their peers.

According to the center’s biennial survey, which was conducted last year involving 11,714 students at Seoul’s 98 primary and secondary schools, 41.8 percent said they have experienced either verbal or physical violence by a fellow student.

Of them, 11.7 percent said they have been ostracized by their friends at least once, up from 6.4 percent found in the same survey conducted two years prior.

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