PUTRAJAYA: Schools can now actively promote kindness after the Education Ministry approved R.AGE and SP Setia’s #StandTogether Kindness Week programme, which aims to prevent bullying.
“A national kindness week will put us back on track to instil values,” said Deputy Education Minister Datuk P. Kamalanathan.
“It is an important value to be kind – irrespective of where people come from, what they believe or their socioeconomic level.”
R.AGE and SP Setia have been campaigning for the first week of every April to be designated National Kindness Week, and ministry approval is a huge step forward.
The approval came after a meeting with R.AGE, Kamalanathan and SP Setia chairman Tan Sri Dr Wan Mohd Zahid, the former Education Ministry director-general.
“Tan Sri’s amazing years of experience (in education) has put this in perspective,” said Kamalanathan.
He also had a stern warning for those who may be reluctant to hold the programme for fear of being seen as “problem” schools.
“We cannot sweep it under the carpet as though nothing happened.
“Never hide bullying cases. It is better to find solutions earlier rather than wait for it to become big and then blame everybody else,” he said.
HELP University psychology programme head Dr Goh Chee Leong said children “aren’t born bullies – they learn it from somewhere”.
Parents who bully children into good behaviour, mistreat domestic helpers, or even keep silent in the face of bullying situations are teaching it is all right to demean or hurt people, he explained.
“If we really want to change bullying culture, we need to look at ourselves and the examples we’re setting,” he said.
Parent Action Group for Education chairman Datin Noor Azimah said teachers and schools need to reassess how they communicate with students and handle bullying.
“(In schools) you have teachers and you have counsellors. The question is, how well trained are they to deal with bullying?” she asked, adding that the problem often arises from home.
#StandTogether aims to mobilise volunteers, parents and teachers to organise kindness activities in their schools in the first week of April every year.
Celebrities such as Arwind Kumar, Lisa Surihani, JinnyBoy, Jenn Chia and Ann Osman have already pledged to support the campaign by visiting schools that propose the best National Kindness Week activities.
Those interested in taking part in National Kindness Week, from April 2-6, may e-mail R.AGE at firstname.lastname@example.org.