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The Ministry of Education and UNICEF: “You’re a hero in the school yard when you stop verbal violence!”

 

BUCHAREST, 9 October 2015 – Today, UNICEF and the Ministry of Education and Scientific Research (MoESR) launched the campaign against violence in schools with the message “You’re a hero in the school yard when you stop verbal violence!”.

According to MoESR data, 18,793 cases of violence at school level were reported nationwide during the 2014/2015 school year, fewer than registered in the previous school year, and 3,397 of these cases were related to verbal abuse. As shown in the UNICEF 2014 global report on violence, 41% of children in Romania were victims of bullying in school. Among the reported forms of violence against children, the one occurring between pupils themselves (fights, conflicts, yelling, name calling) is the most frequently mentioned, compared to pupil violence against teacher or teacher violence against pupil (sarcasm, yelling, insults). Verbal aggression is also the most frequently mentioned type of violence, although it is regarded as a less serious form of abuse.

We want schools to be spaces defined by tolerance, balance and dignity. In addition to educational content, issues such as school climate and «child wellbeing», including «relational wellbeing», are also areas of concern for the Ministry of Education in terms of ensuring quality education, as these issues, as research shows, are factors that affect both school participation and student performance. UNICEF Romania is one of MoESR’s key partners and a vector of change, whose constructive ideas and solutions in the area of education go beyond the boundaries of the academic community (at local, regional, national or international level), permeating education policies and practices worldwide. The message we wish to send out via this campaign, that of ending violence against children, is one of multidimensional action and integrated response that drives the global engagement of all community members”, said Mr. Sorin Mihai Cîmpeanu, Minister of Education and Scientific Research. 

The aim of the campaign is to raise awareness at national and local level with regard to the forms and consequences of verbal aggression in school. The campaign will run during October 2015 – June 2016, it will be featured on TV via two videos (one on verbal violence occurring between two pupils and one on verbal violence occurring between a teacher and a pupil) and on radio via two spots, and it will also include outdoor media (poster/billboard mock-ups) and online promotion. The campaign encourages children to report cases of violence and since, in doing so, they are coming to the aid of their schoolmates, they will be called “superheroes”.

Unfortunately, studies show that bullying and verbal violence against children are present at worrying levels in schools. Perpetrators are either other children or teachers. Our campaign aims at raising awareness and, at the same time, calls those who witness verbal violence against children to act. We know that, for children, it is not easy to take action, but they can make a real difference in the life of their friends, and that’s why we call them superheroes in the campaign”, said Sandie Blanchet, UNICEF Representative in Romania.

Raising awareness of the effects of verbal violence is not enough to make a significant difference. For this reason, UNICEF, together with its partners, is testing a model of integrated services to identify and address this phenomenon, at family, community and school level, and to develop the capacity of children, teachers and parents to prevent and fight against violence.

At local level, in Bacău county, UNICEF and partners are working to increase the capacity of school counsellors in 45 schools to recognize and address cases of violence, to identify resource persons within the community, to create support networks, and to alert and call upon the community to take a stand on the phenomenon of verbal aggression. At the same time, each target school will receive a small grant from UNICEF to use, among others, for activities addressing violence in schools. School counsellors in the 45 schools of Bacău county will receive UNICEF-delivered training on how to identify and address violence against children. 

The evidence generated within the integrated services model is being used to influence national policies as a way to ensure all children in Romania benefit from improved protection against violence.

 

 

About UNICEF Romania

UNICEF is on the ground in Romania and other 190 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. In Romania, UNICEF works with the Government, the Parliament, local authorities, the civil society, the private sector, national and international partners and the media to provide all children with access to school and quality early education, to protect adolescents and monitor child rights, to ensure social protection and leverage resources for children. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.  

 

About the Ministry of Education and Scientific Research (MoESR)

The Ministry of Education and Scientific Research is a specialized body of the central public government, an entity with legal personality subject to the authority of the Government of Romania. The Ministry of Education and Scientific Research is responsible for providing synthesis and coordination in the implementation of the national Strategy and Governance Programme on education, scientific research, technology, technological development and innovation. 

The Ministry of Education and Scientific Research organizes and runs the national system of education, scientific research, technological development and innovation, exercising its duties as set by the appropriate legal framework, and, together with relevant ministries, it develops, as applicable, the government policy in its areas of interest.

 

 
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