SEJONG, Jan. 21 (Korea Bizwire) – School violence in general fell to the lowest level since 2017 last year, but group and cyberbullying cases rose, an annual report by the education ministry showed Thursday.
In the survey conducted between Sept. 14 and Oct. 23, 0.9 percent of the respondents said they had experienced school violence over the past year. This marks the lowest in three years, down 0.7 percentage point from 1.6 percent reported the previous year.
Some 2.95 million students, roughly 82.6 percent of all South Korean students between the fourth grade at elementary school and the second grade at high school, took part in the survey.
The rate was the highest in elementary schools at 1.8 percent, followed by middle school at 0.5 percent and high school at 0.2 percent. The figures dropped by 1.8 percentage points, 0.3 percentage point and 0.2 percentage point on-year, respectively.
School violence victims reported verbal abuse as the most common form of bullying at 33.6 percent. Group bullying and cyberbullying came next, with 26 percent and 12.3 percent, respectively.
The verbal abuse rate decreased from a year ago, but the rates for the other two types jumped by 2.8 percentage points and 3.4 percentage points, respectively, according to the report.
The education ministry said it is currently studying reasons for a general drop in school violence.
On the possibility that the expansion of online classes prompted by the coronavirus pandemic led to a decline in abuse at schools, a ministry official said it is difficult to reach such a conclusion as students responded on their experiences during a period that included the second half of 2019, when COVID-19 had not yet broken out.