A 2019 UNESCO report found that 48% of learners in the Eastern and Southern Africa region had experienced bullying in the past month and various data sources show that rates of sexual abuse and sexual harassment are high in the region. To remove the root causes of bullying and violence in schools, education - with teachers at the frontline – seems to be the best long-term prevention measure.
Learners feel the positive impact of the Connect with Respect programme
Teachers need support to prevent school violence
All learners should have access to education that leads to the prevention of school violence, and the promotion of positive relationships both now and in the future. This includes explicit efforts to address gender-based violence, in which students learn how to reflect critically on gender norms and develop constructive attitudes and behaviors in relationships with others. Such interventions can dramatically reduce the high rates of violence, including gender-based violence, in and beyond the school premises.
But while as many as four in five teachers view it as their responsibility to ensure that learners are safe from all forms of violence in the classroom, there are still gaps in their readiness and capacity to do so, shows a global study carried out by UNESCO on the role of teachers in addressing school violence (Safe to Learn: What do teachers think and do about violence in schools? forthcoming in 2022).
More attention and resources are therefore necessary to adequately prepare teachers to prevent school violence and bullying.
So while teachers point to the value of the CwR programme, they also express that to implement it well, support from their schools and the wider education sector is essential. This includes carving out time within the busy curricula to address the topic of gender-based violence prevention and ensuring that teachers are adequately trained and supported by the school administration.
More results of the research will be presented in detail during the Webinar.