#16Days – Preventing gender-based violence in schools in Asia-Pacific
- Education has a pivotal role in preventing and eliminating gender-based violence and in fostering gender and social norms that promote equality, respect, peace and social cohesion.
- The East Asia and Pacific United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative (EAP UNGEI) and its partners are launching a new curriculum resource to address School-Related Gender-Based Violence (SRGBV). The tool was developed by the University of Melbourne in close collaboration with UNESCO and the EAP UNGEI partners including UNICEF, Plan International, and UN Women.
- The curriculum resource provides guidance for teachers on the issue of SRGBV as well as more than 30 learning activities on concepts relating to the prevention of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) and the promotion of respectful relationships.
Gender-based violence (GBV) is a fundamental violation of human rights and a major obstacle to the achievement of gender equality. Governments around the world have committed to international frameworks to protect children from all forms of violence. Despite these commitments, recent reviews have highlighted that many children in the Asia-Pacific region are affected by GBV in and around school – the very place where children are expected to be safe, protected and empowered.
School-Related Gender Based Violence (SRGBV) is complex and multifaceted and includes explicit threats or acts of physical violence, verbal and emotional abuse, bullying, non-consensual touching, sexual harassment, coercion and assault, and rape.2,[vii] It is not only girls that are targets of this violence – any young learner may be affected including girls, boys, transgender and intersex children and youth.
SRGBV is a critical barrier to the right to education, not only because of the interlinked serious physical and psychological health impacts, but also because it may lead to the deterioration of the learning environment as a whole.2,7 The experience or even threat of SRGBV often results in irregular attendance, dropout, truancy, poor school performance, and low self-esteem. Witnessing or experiencing violence in schools may also herald further experiences of violence in adult life.
Education has a pivotal role in preventing and eliminating gender-based violence and in fostering gender and social norms that promote equality, respect, peace and social cohesion. Teachers, schools and education systems are fundamental in transforming behaviours, attitudes and values, including instilling in learners the understanding and practice of gender equality, non-violent behaviour and acceptance of difference.
Building on the 2013 regional round-table meeting on SRGBV, the desk review School-Related Gender-Based Violence in the Asia-Pacific Region and supporting infographics, the East Asia and Pacific United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative (EAP UNGEI) have recently developed a new curriculum resource to advance the capacity of countries to address SRGBV. This is:
- an activity-based, modular curriculum resource;
- designed to assist teachers to deliver lessons that address gender discrimination and violence; and
- age-appropriate for secondary school students aged 11-14 years.
Informed by research on effective teaching, it is the first such resource developed specifically for the Asia-Pacific region and is made for adaptation to country contexts. Designed for use in the formal school system, the resource may be modified for use in non-formal settings, including through community learning and literacy programmes.
The curriculum resource provides guidance for teachers on the issue of SRGBV as well as more than 30 learning activities on concepts relating to the prevention of GBV and the promotion of respectful relationships. The learning activities are designed to increase knowledge and positive attitudes and to build awareness and skills in students. They are suitable for use in a range of subjects including literacy development programme, social studies, pastoral care, life-skills, civics, health, sexuality education and values education programmes, and may be delivered intensively or adapted for more sustainable integration across the curriculum programme.
The first official orientation to the curriculum resource took place with Ministry of Education Officials, Education Lecturers, Child Protection Officers, Principals and teachers, in Suva, Fiji in the first week of November. The curriculum is planned to be launched at the end of the 16 Days of Activism during a regional UN Women meeting on Ending Violence Against Women/Girls (EVAW/G) in Bangkok.