Bullying in Maltese schools keeping literacy rates low

Students’ reading attainment was 'positively related to a reduction in school bullying,' according to international PIRLS reading scores

A report on the progress in international reading literacy study (PIRLS) detailing the country’s progress in 2016 found that bullying in Maltese schools is more prevalent than in foreign schools, and that it has not decreased in the last five years.

The report, which was released this week by the ministry for education and employment, said that students’ reading attainment is “positively related to a reduction in school bullying.”

The Progress in International Reading Literacy Studies is a comparative study of the reading attainment of ten-year-olds. It investigates reading literacy and the factors involved in acquiring the skill.

READ MORE Maltese pupils slip further down in PIRLS global reading study

The scale score that measures lack of bullying in Malta was exactly the same as it was 2011 (9.8) and is lower than the international average, indicating that bullying is more prevalent in Malta. The scale score ranges from 11.2 (Azerbaijan) to 8.4 (South Africa).

According to the report, research shows that students who experience bullying in school are less likely to achieve. “Cyber-bullying is a new form of bullying that unfortunately appears to be common among students; and, like other bullying, cyber-bullying leads to low self-esteem, distress, and poor achievement.”

“Unlike [other forms of] bullying, the process of cyber-bullying can be shrouded in a cloud of anonymity for the internet bully.”

Around 16% of Maltese respondents said that they are made fun of a few times a week, and almost 12% said that they get hit or hurt physically on a weekly basis.

Reading literacy is defined by PIRLS as the ability to understand and use those written language forms required by society and valued by the individual.

The sample was drawn from the population of students aged 10 years old who attended primary school.

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