Anti-violence and productivity school empowerment measures are being introduced

A series of measures to prevent violence and delinquency emphasizing schools, the Council of Ministers approved

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A series of measures for the prevention of violence and delinquency, emphasizing schools, was approved by the Council of Ministers, empowering school units to deal with this social phenomenon, as stated by the Minister of Education, Sports and Youth Athina Michailidou.

"It is the first time that we emphasize the school itself, we emphasize the roles within the school unit mainly at the level of prevention", said Mrs. Michailidou in her statements, recalling that violence prevention programs were already introduced in kindergartens by decision of the Council of Ministers and delinquency which are assessed.

Noting that everyone recognizes that the phenomenon of violence and delinquency does not only concern the school, but also the family and society in general, the Minister of Education added that "nevertheless recognizing the role of the school and relying mainly on research results, which we heard at yesterday's press conference in collaboration with the University of Cyprus, we are proceeding with the implementation of several of the recommendations of the research and the institutionalization of very specific measures".

As he said, these measures concern the support of the school and the strengthening of the school's management team, so that it can recognize phenomena of violence and delinquency and, above all, record them on an electronic platform, the well-known observatory for violence in schools.

According to Mrs. Michailidou, the implementation of the anti-racist policy is instituted and monitored at all levels of education, concepts of civic education and peaceful resolution of disputes and dialogue are introduced in the curricula.

He noted as a very important measure the introduction of specific actions by each school separately, in the context of the improvement plan of the school unit, issues related to violence and delinquency.

In simple words, he explained, each school is invited to plan such actions, which will be evaluated.

The Minister of Education also mentioned that alternative learning programs are being planned for children with provocative delinquent behavior, so that there is an opportunity to support the specific children, but also that all the other children have the right to regular education.

As he said, the role of the responsible department as the nucleus of violence is strengthened, parents are utilized, the network of parents through their links mainly but also in other ways to help the school in its efforts, while new training programs for parents and teachers on issues are promoted prevention and treatment of violence.

At this point, the Minister of Education pointed out that the same research of the University of Cyprus, which is done in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, shows that where there are informed and sensitized teachers and actions are prevented and much lower rates of violence and delinquency are recorded.

Besides, Mrs. Michaelidou said that crisis management procedures in schools are being simplified, said Mrs. Michaelidou, adding that this means a lot for us, they will no longer be time-consuming and everyone will know roles and responsibilities and I am talking about the immediate intervention team, the which will now operate much more directly and through simplified procedures, and the educational psychology service.

Based on the decisions, the school mediation program is strengthened, while in addition to the training of teachers, parents and students, others such as the school guards, who will be better informed about their role, are included in the training, while the pilot programs with surveillance cameras are evaluated and expand over time.

"In general, what we are aiming for is to highlight the role of the school, but to have immediate results," he emphasized, noting that all our actions will be evaluated at the end of the year by the educational research and evaluation center and thus we will be able to monitor the course of this effort.

The Minister of Education said that it is the first time that we emphasize the school itself, we emphasize the roles within the school unit mainly at the level of prevention, recalling that by a decision of the Council of Ministers, violence and delinquency prevention programs were already introduced in kindergartens, which are being evaluated.

"It is a tangible and practical example of the coupling of research with action and policy decision," he continued.

Answering a question, Mrs. Michailidou explained that the school has a violence and delinquency prevention unit, which consists of an Assistant Director and two teachers.

"Supporting and empowering them means bringing them to training instead of just telling them to be in charge, explaining the crisis management process to them, so they can take action right away at school," he said.

But most of all, he continued, to give these people the opportunity to actually talk to the educational psychology service and the immediate intervention team or other specialists, so that they themselves feel empowered to recognize first and report second stage these incidents.

The Minister for Education acknowledged that the issue of avoiding reporting these incidents in the event of a bad reputation for the school had existed for many years. "Now we are supporting the school so that it can fearlessly report the incidents so that we can support them through all these ways that I have mentioned before," he stressed.

Finally, Mrs. Michailidou said that these measures apply to all levels, with the measures being immediately applicable from January 2024 with some being introduced from September where and where there are new programs.

Source: RES-EAP