OELMEK calls on the Ministry of Education and Science to implement its proposals on issues of violence, safety and health in schools
The aim of all actions should be both prevention and compensatory measures to solve the problem
The Pancyprian Conference of General Representatives of OELMEK (PSGA), considers the issues of "Delinquent Behaviors" and "Safety and Health" within the school premises as very serious and calls on the Ministry of Education to implement the recommendations of the Organization for a safe an environment that promotes mutual respect, solidarity, social and emotional skills.
In its announcement, OELMEK's PSGA mentions, for the umpteenth time, the need to take measures to prevent and deal with violence and delinquency in schools. It is noted that action is becoming more necessary than ever, as experts both in Cyprus and abroad point to the possibility of an increase in violence and delinquency in schools as a result of the effects of the pandemic on education, given the psychological pressure and stress caused by the pandemic leave a strong educational, psychological, and social imprint and have an impact on the physical and mental health of students.
OELMEK calls on the Ministry of the Interior to proceed immediately with the implementation of its suggestions / requirements for the prevention and treatment of violence and delinquency: As noted, the current situation and the data formed by the pandemic conditions must be thoroughly evaluated. OELMEK, it is imperative to utilize good and effective practices applied by other countries on the above issue.
The aim of all actions, he added, should be both prevention and compensatory measures to solve the problem by strengthening students, families, teachers and schools.
OELMEK highlights the need to implement a system of timely identification of critical cases of children from the first stages of their integration in Education and implementation of a targeted individual action plan for each case.
It is also mentioned, the the need to modernize existing legislation on key issues that hinder and nullify the efforts of the relevant Support Services to intervene and support children with serious psychological problems.
Another suggestion of the Organization, is the substantial and comprehensive implementation of the new legislation passed in 2020 by the Parliament for the prevention and treatment of domestic violence (185 (I) 2020), which has the potential to bring the issue of school crime management back to the forefront.
"Within this framework, the improvement of existing Programs is foreseen, such as the timely organization and start of all support programs, which provide solutions and support children and schools", is added.
In addition, it is noted that Staff teams, such as the Safe School Team (OAS) and the School Violence Observatory (PAVIS), need to be staffed with specialized staff (SES Teachers and Educational Psychologists), as precisely defined in the new legislation.
Other suggestions are Creation of Alternative Education Structures (inside and outside schools) to support students with extreme delinquent behavior and with the ultimate goal of smooth reintegration of the latter into schools, and the introduction of programs on a regular basis that enhance students' social, emotional and communication skills / three.
Also, review of the policy for illiterate children, as well as further improvement of the policy for children with Immigrant CVs, implementation of commitments for school security measures in all Secondary Schools, by placing security guards in the Gymnasiums from the school year 2021-2022, for the protection of students, teachers and other school staff from extracurricular activities, who enter the school premises illegally.