The decision of the Federal Directorate of Education (FDE) to form counter-harassment and anti-bullying committees was urgently needed. Establishment of such committees in schools and educational institutions is an exigent requirement considering the ever-rising instances of harassment and bullying in these setups. Hopefully, the monitoring mechanism by creating such watchdogs will discourage harassers and bullies.

The diverse composition of the said committees shows that the FDE wants most of the stakeholders to acknowledge that safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children is their utmost responsibility. The suggested bodies indeed include different stakeholders; however, it’s surprising that parents do not find any place on these committees. Likewise, including prefects and class representatives does not mean that kids are adequately represented in such institutions.

FDE can further improve these watchdogs by including parents and students other than the office bearers in the process. After all, there have been so many cases of an indifferent or malicious administration, which instead of punishing the culprits, turns a blind eye to the victims’ complaints. With the creation of such bodies against harassment and bullying, one hopes that the situation will improve.

However, the government must complement these bodies with anti-harassment and bullying laws, if the aim is not to let any culprit get away. In the absence of laws dealing with the issues of harassment and bullying, there will always be the possibility of these issues going nowhere. At present, the options available to a victim are the provisions of criminal law and procedure. These provisions typically are not child-friendly at all. Therefore, there is a dire need of equipping such committees with anti-harassment and bullying training.

The authorities may say that legislating against harassment and bullying at schools needs months of deliberation. It is a correct assumption. But meanwhile, the government can implement the Workplace Harassment Act 2010 to empower anti-harassment bodies even further.