OSLO, Jan. 22 (Xinhua) -- More than 50,000 pupils, or 6.6 percent of Norwegian school students, were bullied two to three times monthly or more often last year, public broadcaster NRK reported Monday.
According to the online student research Elevundersokelsen, this is an increase compared to 6.3 percent the year before.
Most bullying appeared in primary schools, with nearly 7.8 percent of fifth grade pupils bullied by their fellow students. In comparison, the bullying rate at the final grade in high school was 2.3 percent, the report said.
"It is completely unacceptable that so many children and youth go to school with a lump in their stomach and get bullied. We shall have zero tolerance against bullying," Minister of Education and Integration Jan Tore Sanner said.
The survey showed that the students were bullied in different ways. While girls were called bad names or excluded, boys were more exposed to physical violence. Digital bullying was reported to be more common in high schools than in primary schools.
"This is serious. Children are vulnerable and bullying impacts mental health and learning. It is imperative that the schools tackle bullying at an early age," Sanner said.
Since August last year, Norwegian schools have started with a measure called activity duty, which implies that all those working at school should follow, notify and intervene against bullying.
The school is required to follow up the matter immediately. In addition, students and parents have the opportunity to complain directly to the county governor if they believe that the school is not doing enough.
So far, county councilors received 124 of such complaints, NRK reported.