The best way to deal with violence against children is to stop it before it happens
The Violence Reduction in Schools Programme being launched in GeorgiaTBILISI. 28 March. 2008 – In response to the alarming growing violence among young people, the Ministry of Education and Science with the support of UNICEF has started to develop a “Safe Schools” programme. In this framework, a joint initiative of the Council of Europe and UNICEF called “Violence Reduction in Schools Programme” (ViRIS) is being launched.
The mission led by Mr. Chris Gittins - Director of the UK based Centre for Learning Behaviour and Council of Europe/UNICEF expert on violence in schools - is visiting Georgia to assist the Ministry of Education with the development of a National Policy, Strategy and Action Plan on reducing violence in schools. In particular, the mission will help the Ministry to adapt the Council of Europe and UNICEF programme on “Violence Reduction in Schools” to the local situation.
“UNICEF is extremely concerned by the outburst of violence in schools.” said Giovanna Barberis, UNICEF Representative in Georgia. “We do think that effective actions should be undertaken to address this issue, promote positive, child-friendly behaviours in schools and avoid punitive measures that may trigger further deterioration. Unfortunately there are no simple or single strategy solutions. We need to develop comprehensive programmes to address overall prevention of violence and promote the concept of child-friendly schools where all rights of all children are protected. UNICEF will be closely working with the Ministry of Education and Science in creating such child-friendly and violence-free environment in schools” – Barberis added.
"We need to develop comprehensive programmes to address overall prevention of violence and promote the concept of child-friendly schools where all rights of all children are protected." said Giovanna Barberis, UNICEF Representative in Georgia
The experts together with government officials will review the SAFE schools policy documents including the code of students’ conduct and the ethics code for teachers, and will develop guidelines on how to use these ethics code in practice.
UNICEF and the Council of Europe experts will closely work with a working group at the Ministry of Education and Science to adapt the “Violence Reduction in Schools Programme” materials to the needs of Georgian schools and to design a cascade training programme for school teachers and managers.
The programme employs a training methodology which will have an impact on the ability of all school staff to manage the behaviour of pupils in schools. Staff training will focus on how to establish and maintain a positive school ethos and to respond to violence in a way that will prevent recurrence.
At the same time, interventions to reduce violence in schools are highly cost effective both in the short and in the longer term by improving the quality of education for all children, reducing crime and preventing children from becoming underclass members of society.
During 2007 there have been some widely reported incidents of extreme violence among young people in Georgia. Through the nation-wide programme on reducing violence in schools, the Ministry of Education and Science also intends to respond to the United Nations Secretary-General’s Study on Violence against Children which provides a comprehensive global view of the range and scale of violence against children. The report calls for a wide range of actions to be taken to prevent and respond to violence against children across all the settings where it occurs.