UNICEF Serbia and partners hold 4th "School without violence" network conference
BELGRADE, 13 December 2012 – The 4th annual conference of the “School without Violence“ Network was held in the Serbian capital Belgrade today. The conference recapitulated the results of seven years of work on preventing violence against and among children in schools and the school environment. It also presented the results of a survey on children's exposure to digital violence which had been conducted by the Institute for Psychology as part of the project “Stop Digital Violence” with support from the Telenor Company.
The aim of this conference is to strengthen the school’s capacities to manage violence prevention and to support schools so that, through mutual linkage and exchange of experience, they could be strengthened to become leaders in the promotion of a culture of non-violence in the community and examples of good practice in the sphere of education.
At the conference, the Serbian Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development and UNICEF presented plaques to the principals of 24 primary schools which had this year successfully developed all the components of prevention of violence in the school environment, and thus gained the recognition that they could work independently on further developing a safe and stimulating environment for the children in their schools.
“This plaque does not mean that there is no violence in the schools which have been awarded it or that it will not happen there, but it does means that the schools are well on the way to develop and apply appropriate mechanisms for the prevention of and protection from violence. We do not expect a school to resolve problems of violence on its own, but that it should be the key operator connecting and activating all others involved in the work of the school in the matter of prevention and intervention”, stated Zarko Obradovic, Minister of Education, Science and Technological Development.
During the seven years of its implementation, the “School without Violence” programme contributed to a greater sensitivity on the part of pupils and of local communities as a whole to violence and violent behaviour. Mechanisms of prevention and intervention have been established and have become an integral part of the education system. Rulebooks on supervision and handbooks for children, education professionals and parents have been developed, a Violence Prevention Unit has been formed within the Ministry, and an SOS telephone line has been set up for reporting violence.
UNICEF Area Representative Judita Reichenberg stressed the importance of partnerships in fighting violence. “We have a large number of partners with us. We have brought in all relevant state institutions, the main ministries, as well as the corporate sector – the companies which are the leaders in corporate social responsibility. We would now like to strengthen this rich partnership network. We want to enable faster and easier connecting between all those who wish to build with us a safe environment for children and young people. This can be done through introducing new forms of work, such as joint research, innovative programmes, improved internet communication and the use of social networks”, she said.
The research on the exposure of children to digital violence in primary and secondary schools in Serbia, which will serve for developing an additional education programme for pupils, school teams and parents on prevention of and intervention in this type of violence, was carried out with support from the Telenor Company.
Telenor’s Executive Director of Corporate Communications and Human Resources, Sandra Stajner, said: “Telenor strives to bring closer to its users all the advantages of telecommunications, and we build trust through, among other things, the safety of our services. To this project we bring extensive international experience in developing projects and mechanisms for protection of children from digital violence and our desire to teach them how to use the advantages of telecommunication services in the right way“.
The survey has shown that:
The realization of the “School without Violence” programme started in 2005 in 54 primary schools, and today, seven years later, has been implemented in 251 schools in Serbia. The programme is a package of measures and activities implemented by schools in order to establish and maintain in the best possible way mechanisms for prevention of and intervention in the matter of violence in their school and community.
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