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Children speak out on violence in schools at a UNICEF one minute video workshop

SKOPJE / MACEDONIA, 30 October 2008 - Over the last five days, eighteen children aged 12 to14 from three primary schools in Skopje have been working with UNICEF OneMinutesJr trainers to create short movies illustrating their views on violence in schools.   The videos provide an opportunity for children to express themselves about issues affecting their daily lives.  The one minute video workshop is the first of several activities of a “Schools Without Violence” social mobilisation project that UNICEF is currently developing with national partners.

“Promoting and providing a supportive learning environment where all children feel safe and protected is an essential function of any school,” said Mr Sheldon Yett, UNICEF Representative. 

Safe and protective schools provide an environment that protects and nurtures the physical, emotional, and psychological well-being of children.  These are essential ingredients to promote learning.

“Regrettably, schools in this country are far from meeting standards that make them truly safe and protective,” continued Mr. Yett.  

According to a survey by the Office of the Ombudsman, almost one in three students has been a victim of physical or psychological violence from teachers in schools.  Also alarming are findings from a UNICEF child-friendly school baseline study that shows a high level of tolerance towards violence among parents and children, especially with regard to corporal punishment which although prohibited by law is still used by teachers as a means of discipline. The survey also shows that other indirect forms of abuse, such as discrimination, exclusion, and isolation by peers, are not even recognized as violence.

The “Schools without Violence” project will build on the ongoing Child-Friendly School (CFS) Initiative that is currently being piloted in ten primary schools throughout the country. This initiative is being implemented by UNICEF in partnership with the Ministry of Education and Science and Bureau for Education Development and aims to improve children learning outcomes and fulfil basic child rights.

The one minute video workshop is the first of several social mobilisation activities that will form part of the “Schools Without Violence” campaign. The campaign will mobilise schools and the local community, including parents and the business community, to take action to support an ambitious programme aimed at establishing mechanisms to address violence in schools.  The campaign will be launched in early 2009.

UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence.  The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS.  UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.

For additional information please contact:

Suzie Pappas Capovska, Communications Officer, UNICEF Skopje (02) 3231-150,

Notes to the editor:
For more information on the UNICEF supported Child-Friendly Schools Initiative or to download a copy of the Child-friendly School Baseline Study visit www.unicef.org/macedonia. For more detail and a daily overview of the OneMinuteJnr workshop in Skopje visit www.unicef.org/ceecis/reallives_9986.html




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