|WHO Information Series on School Health - Document 3 - Violence Prevention: An Important Element of a Health-promoting School (UNESCO - WHO, 1999, 61 p.)|
World Health Organization
WHO gratefully acknowledges the generous financial contributions to support the printing of this document from: the Division of Adolescent and School Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, USA; and the Johann Jacobs Foundation, Zurich, Switzerland.
This document is published jointly with Education International (Brussels, Belgium) and UNESCO, Department of Education for a Culture of Peace, which are working with WHO to promote health through schools worldwide.
A copy of this document may be downloaded from the WHO Internet Site at: http://www.who.ch/hpr
© World Health Organization, 1999
This document is not a formal publication of the World Health Organization (WHO), and all rights are reserved by the Organization. The document may, however, be freely reviewed, abstracted, reproduced and translated, in part or in whole, but not for sale or for use in conjunction with commercial purposes.
The views expressed in documents by named authors are solely the responsibility of those authors.
Violence Prevention: An Important Element of a Health-Promoting School was written for WHO by Isolde Birdthistle of Education Development Center, Inc., U.S.A. (EDC). Edward De Vos, Cynthia Lang, Daphne Northrop, Ron Slaby and Cheryl Vince-Whitman provided considerable guidance and expertise to the preparation of this document. Other EDC colleagues reviewed drafts and offered advice including Rebkha Atnafou, Larry Cohen, Joan Vas Serra Hoffman, Dieter Koch-Weser and Karen McLaughlin.
The development of this document is a joint effort of the Department of Health Promotion (HPR) and Violence and Injury Prevention (PVI) of the Social Change and Mental Health Cluster, in collaboration with Education Development Center, Inc. (WHO Collaborating Centre to Promote Health through Schools and Communities). This document has been prepared on behalf of the WHO Task Force on Violence and Health as part of the WHO Plan of Action on Violence and Health which was endorsed by the WHO World Health Assembly WHA49.25 (1996) and the WHO Global School Health Initiative.
WHO would like to thank the following individuals for the time, scrutiny and wisdom they contributed to the preparation of this document:
Maria Carolina Buitrago
Harvard University Graduate
School of Education
Harvard University Graduate
School of Education
Division of Adolescent and School Health
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Atlanta, Georgia USA
Division of Violence Prevention
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Atlanta, Georgia USA
Department of Education for a Culture of Peace
Department of Health Promotion
World Health Organization
Department of Health Promotion
World Health Organization
Jack T. Jones
Department of Health Promotion
World Health Organization
Transportation Research and Injury
New Delhi, India
Violence and Injury Prevention
World Health Organization
The University of Sydney
New South Wales, Australia
WHO would also like to thank the following individuals who provided comments and suggestions on this document during its discussion at the Fourth International Conference on Health Promotion in Jakarta, Indonesia, in July 1997:
Dr Mohammed Al Khateeb, WHO/EMRO, Egypt
Masamine Jimba, JICA School & Community Health Project, Nepal
Professor Dr Peter Paulus, Fachhochschuule Magdeburg, Germany
David Rivett, WHO/EURO, Denmark
Dr Louise Rowling, University of Sydney, Australia
Prapapen Suwan, PhD, Mahidol University, Thailand
Rachmi Untoro, Ministry of Health, Indonesia
Investments in schools are intended to yield benefits to communities, nations and individuals. Such benefits include improved social and economic development and enhanced quality of life. In many parts of the world, such investments are not achieving their full potential, despite increased enrolments and hard work by committed teachers and administrators. This document describes how educational investments can be enhanced by increasing the capacity of schools to promote health as they do learning.
The "rising waves" of conflict and violence described in this document take a tremendous toll on the health, and, subsequently the learning potential of people everywhere. Young people are often exposed to violence, as witnesses, victims and perpetrators, in all settings of their everyday life. Because children need to be healthy to take advantage of every opportunity to learn, reducing and preventing violence is necessary to help schools achieve their full potential. Schools must be places where children feel and are safe if they are to successfully increase the health and learning potential of students, staff and community members.
This document is part of a technical series on school health promotion prepared for WHO'S Global School Health Initiative, and is published jointly by WHO, UNESCO and Education International (Brussels, Belgium). WHO's Global School Health Initiative is a concerted effort by international organizations to help schools improve the health of students, staff, parents and community members. Education and health agencies are encouraged to use this document to strengthen violence prevention interventions as part of the Global School Health Initiative's goal: to help all schools become Health-Promoting Schools.
Although definitions will vary, depending on need and circumstance, a Health-Promoting School can be characterized as a school constantly strengthening its capacity as a healthy setting for living, learning and working (see box on following page).
The extent to which each nation's schools become Health-Promoting Schools will play a significant role in determining whether the next generation is educated, healthy and better equipped to promote a culture of peace and non-violence. Education and health support and enhance each other. Neither is possible alone.
Dr. Pamela Hartigan
Dr. Bjorn Thylefors
A Health-Promoting School:
· fosters health and learning with all the measures at its disposal
· engages health and education officials, teachers, teachers' unions, students, parents, health providers and community leaders in efforts to promote health
· strives to provide a healthy environment, school health education and school health services along with school/community projects and outreach, health promotion programmes for staff, nutrition and food safety programmes, opportunities for physical education and recreation, and programmes for counselling, social support and mental health promotion
· implements policies, practices and other measures that respect an individual's well-being and dignity, provide multiple opportunities for success and advance good efforts and intentions as well as personal achievements
· strives to improve the health of school personnel, families and community members as well as students; and works with community leaders to help them facilitate community contributions to health and education
This document aims to support individuals and governments in the realization of the following declarations:
"We, the Ministers of Education, strive resolutely... to pay special attention to improving curricula, the content of textbooks, and other education materials including new technologies with a view to educating caring and responsible citizens committed to peace, human rights, democracy and sustainable development, open to other cultures, able to appreciate the value of freedom, respectful of human dignity and differences, and able to prevent conflicts or resolve them by non-violent means."
Declaration and Integrated Framework of Action on Education for Peace, Human Rights and Democracy (Paris, 1995)
"Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace."
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, art. 26, para. 2 (1948)
"Member States should promote, at every stage of education, an active civic training which will enable every person to gain a knowledge of the method of operation and the work of public institutions, whether local, national or international; and to participate in the cultural life of the community and in public affairs. Wherever possible, this participation should increasingly link education and action to solve problems at the local, national and international levels. Student participation in the organization of studies and of the educational establishment they are attending should itself be considered a factor in civic education and an important element in international education."
Recommendation concerning Education for International Understanding, Co-operation and Peace and Education relating to Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (Paris, 1974)
This document introduces health promotion strategies to improve the health, education and development of children, families and community members through a Health-Promoting School. It is based on the recommendations of the Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion(1) and will help people to apply a new approach to public health, one that creates on-going conditions conducive to health, as well as reductions in prevailing health concerns.
The concepts and strategies introduced in this document apply to all countries, however, some of the examples provided may be more relevant to some countries than to others.
"Together, we must build and develop for the future a culture of peace based on non-violence, dialogue, and mutual respect and social justice. This is neither easy nor a quick task. Nevertheless, it is possible and at a time of rising waves of new forms of conflict and violence, it is absolutely necessary."
The Dalai Lama, January 1995.
Violence affects everyone. It undermines the health, learning potential and economic well-being of people everywhere. As Carlyle Guerra de Macedo, Director of the Pan American Health Organization, notes, "Terrorism, genocide, political assassination, bloody crimes, abuse, assault, torture, harassment, and other modes of force, in violation of the most basic human rights, have become part of our daily existence.(2)
It is time for us to go beyond treating and trying to manage the health consequences of violence; we must prevent it. It is time to change the social, behavioural and environmental factors that lead to violence. The World Health Organization (WHO) has prepared this document to help people understand the nature of a Health-Promoting School and how efforts to promote peace and prevent violence might be planned, implemented and evaluated as part of the development of a Health-Promoting School. It will focus on simple, concrete steps that schools can take without major investments of resources. It is designed as a starting point, to be modified and enriched as more knowledge and experience is gained in the prevention of violence through schools.
This document has been prepared to help those willing to advocate for and initiate violence prevention and health promotion efforts through schools. This may include:
· Members of the school community, including teachers and their representative organizations, students, staff, volunteers, parent groups, coaches, caretakers and school-based health workers.
· Community leaders, local residents, health care providers and members of organised groups (e.g., community groups interested in improving health, education and well-being in the school and community).
· Members of non-governmental agencies and institutions responsible for planning and implementing the interventions described in this document, including programme staff and consultants of international health, education and development agencies who are interested in working with schools to promote health.
· Governmental policy-makers and decision-makers, programme planners and coordinators at local, district (provincial) and national levels.
Violence takes many forms and is understood differently in different countries and among different cultures. While there is no universally accepted definition of violence, the following is a working definition of violence that encompasses the broad range of understanding:
"Violence is the intentional use of physical force or power, threatened or actual, against oneself, another person, or against a group or community, that either results in or has a high likelihood of resulting in injury, death, psychological harm, maldevelopment, or deprivation."(3)
Three main categories of violence can be identified: (4)
Self-inflicted violence refers to intentional and harmful behaviours directed at oneself, for which suicide represents the fatal outcome. Other types include attempts to commit suicide and behaviours where the intent is self destructive, but not lethal (e.g., self mutilation).
Interpersonal violence is violent behaviour between individuals and can best be classified by the victim-offender relationship. For example, interpersonal violence may occur among acquaintances or among persons who are not acquainted. Interpersonal violence may also be specified according to the age or sex of the victim. Violence against women is an important example and is occurring worldwide, often unrecognized. The United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women defines violence against women as, "any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or private life."(5) Such violence may occur in the family or within the general community, and may be perpetrated or condoned by the state.
Other types of interpersonal violence include child abuse, bullying, harassment and criminally-linked violence such as assault and homicide.
Organised violence is violent behaviour of social or political groups motivated by specific political, economic or social objectives. Armed conflict and war may be considered the most highly organised types of violence. Other examples include racial or religious conflicts occurring among groups and gang or mob violence.
The causes of violence are complicated and vary across and within different cultural and economic contexts. (6,7) Factors that are thought to contribute to the development of violent behaviour include individual characteristics such as:
· knowledge, attitudes, thoughts about violence and skill deficits, such as poorly developed communication skills
· drug and alcohol use
· having witnessed or been victimised by interpersonal violence
· access to firearms and other weapons
There are also many contributing forces at the family level, including:
· lack of parental affection and support
· exposure to violence in the home
· physical punishment and child abuse
· having parents or siblings involved in criminal behaviour
In addition, economic and societal factors such as the following can contribute to violence: (4)
· Unequal power relations between men and women, or between different ethnic groups
· Poverty, urbanisation and overcrowding
· rapid economic development with high levels of unemployment among young people
· media influences
· social norms supporting violent behaviour
· availability of weapons
Violence prevention efforts that address factors at all levels will be the most successful. Schools certainly cannot control many factors that contribute to violence military spending, arms sales, corrupt members of governments and police forces. However, the education sector can assist the network of institutions working to identify and stop the cycle of violence. Schools can address a broad range of behaviours, skills, communication patterns, attitudes and school policies and conditions that support and perpetuate violence. For example, educational programmes can challenge the cultural norms that support violent behaviour against women or ethnic/religious minorities, and teach alternative attitudes and skills which enhance the "non-violent solution of conflicts, respect for human rights, democracy, intercultural understanding, tolerance and solidarity."(8,9) They can also prevent violence from occurring on school grounds, thus providing a safe place in which students and staff can work and learn.
Specifically, this document suggests ways that schools can:
· Create public policy that promotes health. This document provides information and rationale that can be used to persuade others of the importance of violence prevention and to advocate for increased local, district and national support for violence prevention and health promotion through schools.
· Develop skills. This document identifies the skills that young people need to learn and practise in order to resolve conflict through peaceful, non-violent and socially constructive means, preferably before they face high-risk situations and before many drop out of school.
· Reorient health services. This document describes how schools can enhance access to screening, diagnostic, treatment and counselling services either within the school or through referrals to community services for those suffering physical or psychological trauma from violence.
· Develop supportive environments. This document describes simple, low-cost changes that schools can make to improve their physical and psychosocial environments and create an atmosphere that supports violence prevention.
· Mobilise community action. Recognising the interdependence of school and community, this document identifies ways the school can interact with community members, parents and local services to reinforce violence prevention initiatives, and to support and guide young people in all realms of their lives.
In implementing these suggestions, schools take essential steps toward becoming a Health-Promoting School.
The arguments in Section 2 can be used to advocate for violence prevention interventions in schools. Section 3 helps create a strong basis for local action and for planning interventions that are relevant to the needs and circumstances of the school and community. Section 4 details how to integrate violence prevention efforts into various components of a Health-Promoting School. Section 5 assists in evaluating efforts to make violence prevention an essential part of a Health-Promoting School. Section 6 provides recommendations for ensuring continuity and sustainability in the school and community.
For specific guidance on planning, implementing and evaluating, this document should be used in conjunction with the WHO document Local Action: Creating Health-Promoting Schools. Local Action: Creating Health Promoting Schools provides practical guidance, tools and tips from Health-Promoting Schools around the world and can help tailor efforts to the needs of specific communities.
This section provides information that can be used to convince others of the importance of reducing and preventing violence through schools. It presents reasons why communities and schools both need and will benefit from violence prevention and health promotion.
"You know, there are no children here. They've seen too much to be children."
LaJoe, United States.(10)
Children and adolescents are becoming as likely as adults to suffer rape, torture and brutal death in armed conflicts, as displaced persons and/or refugees and as soldiers. Even where armed conflict is not present, young people are exposed to violence on the streets, in their home, on television and in movies. In addition, children all over the world experience violence at school, through corporal punishment, fights, bullying or harassment from teachers and other students.
For every assault, there is a victim and countless witnesses who may experience physical injury, psychological effects, and social-emotional and behavioural problems. Consequences are serious, especially among children growing up in chronically violent homes or neighbourhoods. While many children show a high level of resilience to such trauma, others will suffer serious and lasting effects including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), distress and impairment of attachment, making it difficult for them to form strong relationships. Their self-esteem may suffer and they may fail to acquire competence in peer relations. Children exposed to violence may also adopt highly sexualised or highly aggressive behaviour, use psychoactive substances, incur dissociation, intentionally injure themselves, or show other dysfunctional ways of dealing with anxiety at higher rates.(11) Victims of intimate partner violence and rape have been found to be at risk for depression, thoughts of suicide and suicide attempts.(4)
The Trauma of War
Almost one out of every four children in Sarajevo was wounded in the conflict. In a survey of 1,505 Sarajevan children conducted by UNICEF in the summer of 1993, it was found that 97 percent had experienced shelling nearby, 29 percent felt 'unbearable sorrow' and 20 percent had terrifying dreams.
Following interviews with children, the UN Commission on Human Rights' Special Rapporteur on former Yugoslavia reported: "Memories of the event remain with them, causing...daily intrusive flashbacks of the traumatic events, fear, insecurity and bitterness."
Adolescents are also particularly vulnerable to the effects of war. Aid workers in Bosnia and Herzegovina have been encountering adolescents who have 'weeping crises', who attempt suicide, who are in a state of depression and who have increased levels of aggression and delinquency.
From "Children in War," in The State of the World's Children 1996, UNICEF.
Children need to be healthy to take full advantage of every opportunity to learn. The effects of violence, physical injury, psychological effects and behavioural problems reduce attendance at school, impair concentration and detrimentally affect cognitive development. In addition, fear of violence or abuse at school or en route to school, or displacement that results from violence and war, can all prevent or reduce attendance and diminish children's ability to learn.
"The old law of an eye for an eye leaves everybody blind... Violence is immoral because it thrives on hatred rather than love. It destroys community and makes brotherhood impossible."
- Martin Luther King, Jr.
Violence undermines the social and economic conditions of communities and nations. It endangers healthy and sustainable development by causing community decay, destabilising national labour and industry, discouraging investment and tourism, threatening the quality of life and contributing to the emigration of skilled citizens. (4) Governments spend a significant proportion of public funds responding to violence, often at the expense of other services, including criminal justice, police, education and health services. Violence also disrupts the provision of basic social services and the delivery of curative and preventative health care.(4)
Finally, as an expression of power, violence exacerbates gender and social inequity. An analysis in the World Bank's World Development Report 1993 concluded that between 5 and 16 percent of the healthy years of life lost to women of reproductive age can be linked to gender-based victimisation, rape and domestic violence. The Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women describes violence against women as "an obstacle to the achievement of equality, development and peace."
Thus, preventing youth violence is not only a sound investment for the future of individuals, but also a prerequisite for the development and maintenance of healthy societal development.(12)
Violence is a behaviour learned at an early age.(13,14) Often through early experiences with family members, schools, media, peers and communities, children learn that violence, rather than communication or negotiation, is an appropriate way to solve interpersonal problems. For example, witnessing violence in the home teaches strong messages to young children, such as: violence is a way to resolve conflict or manage anger; violence has a place within family interactions; and inequality of power, or sexism, is acceptable within the family. Numerous studies have shown that boys and girls who witness violence in their homes are at higher risks for emotional and behavioural problems, and for becoming involved in future violent relationships as teenagers or adults. (15)
Because it is learned at an early age, many researchers assert that it "may be unlearned - or conditions may be changed so that it is not learned in the first place." (16) True prevention should thus take place before violent behaviour becomes ingrained.
In all countries, the school system can be the most efficient and organised way to reach large portions of the population, including young people, school personnel, family members and local residents. More children than ever are attending school. In just the past five years, the number of children enrolled in primary school has jumped by some 50 million; the percentage of girls enrolled rose from 39 percent in 1960 to 72 percent in 1996.(17,18)
In many developing countries, the school is an ideal setting for health promotion activities. In the school, much of the structure, resources and staff that can contribute to health promotion efforts are already in place. Health services of some form or another are provided for students in almost every country and many countries have some elements of a school health programme that could become the starting point for a more integrated approach that includes violence prevention.(19) Schools also have the benefit of a staff equipped with tools of teaching and learning. Furthermore, among most students and communities, teachers and school staff are highly regarded, positive role models. The almost 43 million teachers at the primary and secondary school levels around the world can have a significant impact on the healthy behaviour of adolescents.(12)
Another advantage of school-based interventions is that they can reach children when they are young, in their early stages of developing attitudes, values and communication patterns, and before many drop out. When we reach children at this early point, it is possible to encourage the formation of healthy attitudes and practises instead of changing well-established unhealthy habits. Developmental research has shown that early aggression "will commonly escalate into later violence and broaden into other antisocial behaviour."(14) Early intervention can thus be less expensive and more effective than trying to change established patterns of violence among older children.
Though relatively few school-based violence prevention efforts have been rigorously evaluated, the results of published studies are encouraging, as the following examples demonstrate. The majority of published evaluations have been conducted in the United States and other developed countries, however, examples of efforts in different international contexts are included throughout the document.
· In a report of 12 case studies describing promising violence-prevention programmes across the United States, Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC) found positive effects (as indicated by preliminary programme evaluations) on student knowledge, attitudes and behaviour; teacher attitudes and competence in violence-prevention skills; school climate; school statistics in violence/behaviour; programme implementation; and general response to/support of programmes.(20)
· To assess the Norwegian Ministry of Education's national programme to reduce bullying in elementary schools, Olweus (21) followed four cohorts of 600-700 pupils each and found that frequency of bullying decreased by 50 percent or more during the two years following the campaign.(22) Researchers also noted reduced rates in antisocial behaviour such as theft, vandalism and truancy. Findings were consistent among boys and girls and across all grades. The effects of the intervention were more significant after two years than after one year.
· In a recent evaluation of Second Step: A Violence Prevention Curriculum, which is used in over 10,000 elementary schools in the United States and Canada (23), observations of 588 students in the classroom and playground/cafeteria settings indicated that the curriculum led to a moderate decrease in physically aggressive behaviour and an increase in pro-social behaviour in school.
· In a review of programmes designed to reduce adolescent violence, Tolan and Guerra (24) found that there is support for programmes that combine generic problem-solving skills with other specific cognitive skills and programmes that are based on real-life skills and situations. They also found clear evidence that family-targeted interventions focusing on improving parent behaviour, management skills, promoting emotional cohesion within the family and assisting family problem solving are effective in reducing adolescent violence. Regarding school-based interventions, the authors noted that parental access to teachers, parental support for school efforts and more opportunities for parents to have valued roles in schools seem beneficial. Also effective was to motivate high-risk youth to attend and perform in school and engage in pro-social community activities, and to provide youth with opportunities to have more pro-social roles in schools and communities.
· Upon the request of UNESCO, the International Centre for Cooperation and Conflict Resolution (ICCCR) conducted a study to identify school-based programmes attempting to overcome violence in urban communities through peaceful conflict resolution and mediation. Over 200 knowledgeable individuals and organisations around the world were surveyed and a subsequent report provides case studies of eight programmes (from Australia, Japan, USA, Northern Ireland, South Africa, Israel, Norway and France), in addition to data drawn from 22 other programmes. The report provides information concerning the staffing, funding, size and scope, training, student involvement and teaching methods used in the different programmes. Regarding programme effectiveness, the report concludes:
"There is considerable evidence from questionnaires and interviews that these programmes are well-regarded by teachers, students, parents and administrators. There are also many anecdotal reports that they reduce violence in schools. In addition, there is a small body of systematic research indicating that students in the programmes develop better social skills, more self-esteem, a greater sense of personal control over their lives and higher academic achievement."(25)
ICCCR encourages further research to determine the conditions for the success of programmes and what kinds of programmes are most effective.
· In a review of evidence of school effectiveness, Clive Harber of the University of Natal concluded that democratically organized schools are effective in "fostering the democratic values which are conducive to the non-violent resolution of conflict." For example, Harber noted that classroom management which encourages student participation, development of civic attitudes, and a learner-centred curriculum employing democratic and cooperative teaching methods have been shown to reduce inter-ethnic conflict and to promote cross-cultural understanding. In addition, such schools show evidence of effectiveness in the "more conventional and traditional sense of being better organized and achieving better results," including better examination results, better behaviour and attendance and less delinquency. (26)
Once the importance and feasibility of providing violence prevention interventions through schools become understood by citizens, school officials and policy-makers and decision-makers, the next step is to plan the interventions. This can be done by determining which strategies will have the most significant influence on health, education and development and how such interventions can be integrated with other health promotion efforts. Violence prevention can be an entry point for increasing a school's capacity to plan and implement health promotion strategies and interventions that contribute to health and education by enabling students, parents, teachers and community members to make healthy decisions, practise healthy behaviours and create conditions conducive to health and non-violence.
This section describes the steps to consider in planning violence prevention as an element of a Health-Promoting School. Also, included at the end of this document is the UNESCO Declaration and Integrated Framework of Action on Education for Peace, Human Rights and Democracy (Annex 1), which may be helpful in the planning of local, national and regional programmes. The Declaration, formulated at the 1994 International Conference on Education, was endorsed by Ministers of Education in Paris 1995. The Integrated Framework of Action presents objectives, action strategies and policies to integrate education for peace, human rights and democracy.
Health-Promoting Schools involve members of the school and community in planning interventions that respond to their needs and that can be maintained with available resources and commitments. An important group that should be involved in the process of planning health interventions is a School Health Team that includes community advisors.
A Health-Promoting School should have a designated team to coordinate and monitor health promotion policies and activities. If your school is a Health-Promoting School and a School Health Team already exists, violence prevention can be one of the health areas to prioritise. You might consider establishing a Violence Prevention Task Force to focus on integrating violence prevention efforts into the overall health programme.
If your school does not have a team, committee or group organised to address health promotion, the violence prevention effort could provide the opportunity to form one. A School Health Team can lead and oversee health promotion efforts in the school, including violence prevention.
A Violence Prevention Task Force within that team can be responsible for designing, planning and evaluating violence prevention interventions; clearly defining roles and responsibilities; and facilitating communication about plans, progress and problems.
Aim to find a balance of both men and women/boys and girls who are committed to the idea of nonviolence, believe that violence prevention can work, can work well in a team, and, ideally, can make a commitment over several years.
Potential members of the School Health Team:
It is important to include the participation of groups and individuals outside of the school who have an impact on students' knowledge, attitudes and skills related to violence. Some Health-Promoting Schools are closely linked with community advisors for this purpose. Through representation on the School Health Team, community members can help to determine local needs and resources, disseminate information about the violence prevention efforts, build support across the community, encourage community involvement, help to obtain resources and funding for the programme and reinforce messages and skills built in school.
Look for men and women who are influential, interested in violence prevention, able to mobilise support, can contribute a diversity of skills and connections (e.g., writing, interviewing, organising groups, speaking in public) and represent the community's geographic areas, and economic, social, ethnic and religious makeup.
In some settings, it may be useful to collaborate with an existing community group, e.g., councils, youth groups, women's groups.
Tools 1.1 and 1.2 of Local Action: Creating Health Promoting Schools can help guide the process of establishing a School Health Team and assembling community advisors.
Potential partners from outside the school include:
· Community residents
Once a School Health Team is established, its members can start the planning process by conducting a situation analysis.
Conducting a situation analysis will help individuals to better understand the school community's strengths, problems, perceptions and needs that are relevant to planning violence prevention interventions.
A situation analysis consists of three steps: needs and resource assessments and data collection.
This step will help you gain an understanding of the nature of violence and its causes in your community. Start by using the definition and types of violence described in the introduction as a guide.
Engage members of the School Health Team and Violence Prevention Task Force in discussions and activities that help identify the different types of violence that occur within your school and surrounding community.
By participating in brainstorming and word-association exercises, people will be able to identify behaviours that are harmful to individual or groups of children, including many that may be tolerated socially (e.g., corporal punishment by teachers and principals, verbal abuse, gender discrimination).
Another key step is to assess the school and community's capacity to provide violence prevention services. Determine what the school is currently doing that is conducive to violence prevention. Also determine which specific resources and services are available, either through the school or community, that will help as you implement violence prevention interventions. Knowing this will allow you to draw on available personnel and financial resources.
The amount of resources will affect the scope and amount of services provided, the availability of trained staff, and the capacity to plan and evaluate efforts.
In this step, information about the extent of local violence and its consequences is gathered. Accurate and up-to-date data and information can help ensure that efforts focus on the real health needs of the target population, rather than problems that are perceived by others. (27)
Policy-makers and decision-makers will be more likely to support activities that are based on documented problems. Information gained through the needs assessment can also serve as a useful baseline to which changes can be compared later.
Tool 2.2 of Local Action: Creating Health Promoting Schools can help guide the process of collecting data about needs and resources.
An adequate situation analysis on the national, district and/or local level(s) is helpful for several reasons: (28)
· Policy-makers and decision-makers will need a strong basis for their support, especially when their policies and decisions involve the allocation of resources.
· Accurate and up-to-date information provides a basis for discussion, for justification, for setting priorities for action and for identifying groups in special need of interventions.
· Data obtained through the situation analysis are essential for planning and evaluating interventions. Data can help ensure that efforts focus on the health needs, experience, motivation and strengths of the target population so that interventions increase physical, social and mental well-being of students, staff, families and community members.
Exploring the local situation*
Answering questions such as these can help you determine local needs and strengths:
· How safe is the school?
How prevalent is violence among students? What types of violence occur in the school? Where and at what time of day does it typically happen? Are weapons involved? If so, what kind? Who is involved in violent events? What seems to put some students at risk for engaging in violence? What seems to protect other students from engaging in violence? Do students feel safe at school? What is the school currently doing to reduce violence? What more can be done? How is violence affecting students' well-being and learning potential? Can outside individuals easily enter the school and threaten staff and students?
· What perceptions of school safety are held by the teachers, administrators and students?
· What is the nature of the school environment?
Are children treated with respect and dignity? Is there respect and understanding for different cultures and religions represented in the school? Is there equal respect for boys and girls? What are some common positive, pro-social behaviours seen at school that can be enhanced and rewarded? Are firm, fair and consistently applied conduct standards enforced? Does the school have a protocol for dealing with traumatic events or emergencies? Are faculty, school staff and parents treated with respect?
· How safe are students when they are not at school?
What types of violence occur to students outside of school (i.e., in the home or the community)? Where else are students witnessing or engaging in violence? Who is involved in it? What do parents seem to be doing to reduce, prevent or perpetuate violence? What is being done in the community to reduce or prevent violence?
· How safe is the route to school?
Do students and staff feel safe coming to and from school? Are parents or other caring adults visible along the major routes between homes and school?
· What resources are available to provide violence prevention interventions in your school?
What resources exist to foster healthy youth development and resiliency (human and material resources, curricula, training, health services and connections with community members and agencies)? Has any money been allocated to provide teacher training in violence prevention? Are teachers required to study health topics in order to obtain or maintain their certification? Have any universities or teacher training colleges developed courses in violence prevention? What already exists in the school that addresses violence prevention and life skills development? Can parents potentially volunteer to help violence prevention and safety efforts? What resources exist at schools or centres for younger children before they enter your school?
· Are there any current health promotion efforts in your school that can be the foundation for new efforts? For example, what efforts are helping students and staff:
· Care for themselves and others?
Examples of indicators that can help describe a local situation:
· Number of fights occurring during a typical month
Sources of the previous information include:
· School records documenting student achievement dropouts, absenteeism, discipline problems, and suspensions and expulsions, especially those related to fights
· Local clinic or hospital records
* Adapted from Peacing it Together: A Violence Prevention Resource for Illinois Schools. Illinois Council for the Prevention of Violence, 1996.
The success of efforts to create a Health-Promoting School relies on the extent to which people in the community are aware of and willing to support health promotion efforts. Efforts to prevent violence are most successful when a core group of people support and become involved in their development and implementation.
It is important in the early stages to garner the acceptance and support of politicians, educators, parents, community leaders, the community in general, public health professionals, religious groups, business leaders and students.
National policies, guidelines and support from ministries of education and health can be of immense help to local schools. The will, commitment, attention, support and action of these authorities can help acquire time, money and public support. Collaborative relationships with other sectors, such as ministries of justice (for legal commitment/measures to combat conditions favouring violence), social welfare, transportation, trade and development, as well as local government and community-based organisations, will also prove very valuable.
Political commitment is evidenced in many ways:
· Favourable policies
· Designation of someone with responsibility and authority
· Provision of financial support
· Provision of technical equipment, services and materials
· Public acknowledgement by ministries of the importance of the problem and efforts to reduce violence
Schools need to receive input from families and community members regarding the design, delivery and assessment of the interventions, so as to respond to their concerns and gain their commitment.(30) They should play an integral part in discussions and sensitisation about these topics. Parent-teacher associations, adult-education activities, formal presentations, open-houses, civic clubs, religious centres and community-group meetings are appropriate forums for the School Health Team and community advisors to communicate with families and community members. (31)
Not everyone will immediately understand or support violence prevention efforts. WHO/UNESCO (32) suggest the following strategies for embracing differences and improving acceptance:
· Identifying and addressing the concerns of people or groups that may have difficulty in accepting the interventions
· Creating opportunities for extensive communication about violence and its consequences
· Creating a process for welcoming feedback
Teachers and school staff play a key role in carrying out health promotion and violence prevention efforts. To respect what they know and what they can do, it is important to involve them early in the planning stages. A staff meeting is one useful forum for developing teachers' interest.
Important ideas to discuss include:
· How violence prevention programmes can help teachers achieve teaching/learning objectives
· Information and data that support the need for violence prevention
· The roles teachers play (whether or not they are trained in violence prevention) as role models, facilitators and partners of parents
· How the involvement of staff and administrators is crucial for success
· Plans for teacher training
· How teachers and staff members will be affected by violence prevention efforts
Teacher interest and participation can be stimulated and attendance may be facilitated by paying for release time, conducting a needs assessment to determine teachers' concerns and needs, offering continuing education units or recertification credit, or offering incentives such as free materials, free manuals or reimbursement.(33)
It is also important to engage the energy and creativity of young people in the planning and design stages. When young people are involved from the very beginning of a new initiative, they can help develop and plan interventions that respond to their specific needs and concerns, in a culturally appropriate manner. Their participation can also build their sense of ownership, which will enhance sustainability. Numerous ways in which young people can be involved in the implementation of violence prevention activities are discussed later in this report.
Use the information regarding the nature and extent of local problems and strengths that you have gathered in the situation analysis to develop a vision for change and an action plan. Tools 3.1, 3.2 and 3.3 of Local Action: Creating Health Promoting Schools can help you decide what your goals are and what strategies you will use to reach your goals.
The goals should describe in broad terms what you hope to achieve with violence prevention efforts. Organise brainstorming activities for the School Health Team to decide on overall goals for your violence prevention efforts.
To help form your goals, try first to envision your school and community as violence-free.(34)
Examples of overall goals may be:
· To provide a safe learning environment for students and a safe workplace for staff
· To minimise violence and bullying within the school
· To build violence prevention skills for the future
· To involve and empower youth to become leaders in violence prevention
Objectives are the necessary steps for reaching overall goals. Break goals down into specific short-term and long-term objectives or steps so that everyone understands clearly what needs to be done and when. Describe outcomes that will help you determine how successfully you are reaching your goal. Those responsible for designing policies and programmes, instructional activities, services, changes in the school environment and evaluation should be able to refer to the objectives for clear guidance. The clearer and more specific the objectives, the easier it will be to select appropriate activities to achieve them.
List objectives you plan to accomplish within specific timeframes. They should be specific, measurable and achievable. They should tell what measurable change is expected, who is going to do what, when, where, and how it will be measured. They follow from statements such as "To increase," "To decrease," "To reduce," "To change," etc.(35) Examples of objectives include:
· To reduce the amount of school absenteeism due to fear of going to and from schools by (x percent) by (date)
· To change school policies and procedures to ensure non-violent forms of discipline by (date).
Develop a strategy or, preferably, a combination of strategies that is most feasible for your school to begin. All activities and curriculum content that are part of this strategy should reflect the objectives. Actions that will be taken follow from statements such as "To provide," "To establish," "To create," etc. Sample actions that could be taken include:
· To provide a violence prevention curriculum to students in grades 4-6
· To invite police officers, former victims or former perpetrators of violence to speak to students about safety, crime, negative consequences of violence and preventive measures
· To establish disciplinary procedures for violence on school grounds
The next section describes numerous actions that schools can take to prevent violence. Many schools do not have the resources to initiate a large, comprehensive investment in violence prevention, however, this need not discourage any school from addressing the issue; even small steps can make a difference. You may need to choose one or two activities that are the most important and most feasible for your school, such as a staff training, introducing peer mediation or offering parent education.
Do not be discouraged if your efforts do not immediately reduce the level of violence in your school or community. Remember that violence cannot be changed easily or quickly.
Evaluation a review of what you have been doing and how well it has worked is important for many reasons and should be considered from the outset. An evaluation plan and mechanisms for monitoring will help you track your school's progress in accomplishing your goals and objectives. The groundwork for evaluation is laid at the very beginning of the implementation process when needs are assessed, objectives set and activities planned.(34) Specific recommendations for process and outcome evaluation are discussed in Section 5.
A Health-Promoting School strives not only to improve health education, but also to improve health services, make changes in the school environment and school policies and practises, and mobilise community action. Violence prevention efforts can be undertaken in each of these areas, tapping into the full organisational potential of the school. As the participants of the 1996 International Forum on Education for Non-violence agreed, "The principals and practices of peace and non-violence should be integrated into every aspect of the educational institution.(8)
"To educate the child of today is to prevent the criminal or the violent abuser of tomorrow."
- Carlyle Guerra de Macedo(36)
This section describes ways in which students can receive accurate information about violence and its consequences, explore their own values and attitudes and acquire personal skills needed to avoid conflict through peaceful and non-violent ways. It is usually not enough to deal with violence as a single, isolated subject. Violence prevention education should be integrated into other core areas of the school's curriculum, such as social studies, language arts, history or science. Messages about violence prevention become stronger and more relevant when they are repeated in a variety of contexts.
Children and adolescents need access to accurate information in order to make informed choices. For this, students need to understand violence and its serious consequences. Teachers can help children recognise the following:
· Different types of violence (e.g., self-inflicted, domestic/intrafamilial violence, sexual assault and abuse, neglect, gang violence, organised and/or political violence, or hate crimes against people of a particular ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, mental or physical ability)
· The different contexts in which violence takes place (e.g., the home, the school, the immediate community, between friends)
· The consequences of violence
· That violence is preventable
· What puts some young people at risk for violent behaviour (e.g., exposure to violence, socioeconomic conditions, the role of alcohol and other psychoactive substances, access to weapons, ethnicity, sexism)
· The role of media messages and societal norms in promoting violence (e.g., sex role socialisation and violence portrayed through television, movies, music, comic books, and video games)
· What protects some young people from violence (e.g., the ability and motivation to use alternative solutions to problems, the ability to predict consequences of various approaches to problems, the ability to practice life skills and negotiation skills, exposure to non-violent adult role models)
· The meaning of human rights, gender equity and active citizenship
Learning cognitive skills can help to prevent violence. While studying language, social studies, math and science, children develop cognitive skills that can help them reason their way through challenging and potentially dangerous situations.(37) For example, those with superior language skills and analytic abilities are less likely to use force to persuade and more likely to use creative and intellectual exercises to imagine and respect different points of view. They are also able to more clearly envision the consequences of certain actions and possess a greater repertoire of alternatives to violent behaviours.(6)
One way to reduce violence is to alter the patterns of thought that support an individual's involvement with violence, whether in the role of the aggressor, victim or bystander. There are "habits of thought" that cause some children to act aggressively, cause others to put themselves at risk for involvement with violence, or cause others still to support violence through passive acceptance, instigation or active encouragement.(37)
It is not enough, however, for students to be aware of violence and its consequences and to adopt healthy attitudes and "habits of thought." They also need opportunities to acquire and practise a wide range of life skills. Although not developed specifically as an approach to violence prevention, life skills training can be an important part of successful conflict resolution.(38) Life skills education can help students acquire practical skills to prevent violence, such as peacefully resolving conflict, evading dangerous situations, relieving stress, dealing with death, reducing prejudice, critically evaluating violence depicted in the media, and resisting pressure from peers and adults.(39) Annex 2 provides descriptions of some specific interventions designed to promote skills that can prevent violence.
Which curricula you should use depends on local concerns and specific objectives agreed upon in the planning stage. It is possible to select from existing curricula and make adaptations with caution to meet local needs. Sri Lanka's "Education for Conflict Resolution" programme, described below, is a good example of this.
To be most effective, principles of violence prevention should be taught to students before they are likely to encounter violent situations, not after. Also, violence prevention should be taught to each student in a series of developmentally appropriate building blocks of specific skills and knowledge integrated in curricula from pre-school through the final year of secondary education. Annex 3 provides examples of grade-specific objectives for skills of violence prevention as developed by the West Virginia Department of Education Office of Healthy Schools in the United States.
Though it may not be possible to create an educational series for each grade-level, a module taught in one year is unlikely to be enough to provide long-term change in youth attitudes and behaviour. Even in your first efforts, try to include a sequential plan that will expose students to violence prevention education more than once in their school careers. Also, try to choose teaching methods that are developmentally appropriate for your students. For example, debates, discussions and peer mediation may be too complex for younger students, but essential for older ones.
A lecture can be an effective way to increase students' knowledge, but there are other methods that are more effective in influencing beliefs and building skills. Active, informal, personalised and participatory learning methods that are culturally appropriate are the most effective in changing health-related behaviour. Try to use teaching methods that are activities-based and encourage students to participate more actively. Methods which actively engage students in their own learning are more likely to change what they know and what they do.
· Role-plays and rehearsal of life skills including refusal skills, negotiation and conflict resolution
· Small and large group discussions about violence in the school or community, what causes it and what could prevent it
· Discussions based on 'cases' or stories with a problem of violence that encourage students to find a solution
· Journals/story writing
· Activities oriented by peer leaders or community speakers
· Interactive radio
· Community involvement activities
· Analysis of broadcast and print media to identify positive and negative messages about violence, conflict resolution and gender roles
· Suggestion boxes to collect questions and opinions of adolescents
· Radio programmes with brief, upbeat messages on prevention
· Word murals, posters, flyers, bulletin boards and pamphlets to share your work
Educating for Peace in Sri Lanka
The effects of years of civil war have permeated all aspects of life in Sri Lanka, including the education system: most schools are now segregated along language lines. The Government, with assistance from UNICEF, launched a school-based programme called Education for Conflict Resolution (ECR) to help children learn non-violent ways of resolving disputes. A core group of resource persons, initially trained at the National Institute of Education in different forms of conflict resolution, soon adapted these and developed their own methods appropriate to Sri Lanka. They produced 10 different training manuals aimed at principals, teacher trainers, teachers and pupils.
The ideas of conflict resolution were consistent with many aspects of Sri Lankan culture. For example, just as conflict resolution promotes assertiveness over aggression and passivity, Buddhism, one of the major religions in Sri Lanka, emphasises the importance of taking the middle path. Just as conflict resolution is based on cooperative behaviour, Sri Lankan village life has traditionally operated on cooperative principles. In addition, Buddhism and Hinduism emphasise harmony with the natural environment and make extensive use of meditation. ECR incorporates meditation to calm and concentrate the mind to create a sense of inner peace. A typical ECR lesson for primary schoolchildren starts with meditation, and then covers issues such as decision-making and conflict resolution. Role-playing is an important part of the approach and children are encouraged to express emotions through stories, songs and poetry.
ECR is not limited to particular lessons on 'conflict resolution'; rather, it is integrated into the entire curriculum. At the Nilwala College of Education, student teachers learn to integrate ideas and methods of conflict resolution into all subjects areas. For example, a social studies lesson might focus on how different groups need to work together for a community to function. Within that lesson, students would be encouraged to act out a traditional story with a theme of peace and cooperation. Teachers learn to discuss the messages of stories with their students and help them to draw parallels between them and their own lives.
Between 1992 and 1994, ECR trained 3,500 principals, 400 master teachers, 3,000 teachers, and 7,500 student leaders, who, as of 1996, had reached approximately 420,000 of Sri Lanka's 4.5 million schoolchildren. ECR has also begun a media campaign to extend these ideas to parents and to the community as a whole.
Adapted from "How Sri Lanka educates children for peace," in The State of the World's Children 1996, UNICEF.
Visual and performing art projects can also instil principles of non-violence. Artistic activities that allow students to explore alternatives to violence and spread messages of peace include: music and songs emphasising tolerance of differences; and drawing, painting, collages, puppetry and theatre that explore violence-related issues.
Emphasise collaboration encourage students to achieve academic success by working together in teams and being accountable to one another. For example, assign teams of students to study, work on projects and learn together. Students in some cultures will be accustomed to cooperating in most aspects of life. For other students, however, competition may be more the norm than cooperation. Collaborative learning will help such students experience the benefits of cooperation in their lives. Collaboration and team projects can also be good methods to use when training teachers and staff, and adults and community members outside of the school.
Finally, it is important to utilise teaching methods and curricula that are culturally sensitive and free from gender bias. Specifically, be sensitive to gender and cultural differences in your examples and assumptions. Ask: can students from different cultural and ethnic backgrounds learn from the curriculum? Similarly, can both boys and girls learn from it? Do materials and lessons avoid the use or promotion of gender-based stereotypes and biased language?
The role of parents in promoting non-violence
A Health-Promoting School can provide caregivers with information, resources and skills to enhance and extend efforts to the students' own homes. Parent education or training can inform caregivers of some important ways to prevent violence among their own children and other children in the community (37):
· Setting firm, consistent limits on aggressive and coercive behaviour
· Providing opportunities for children to practise life skills
Students themselves can be major actors in school-based efforts to prevent violence. For example, they can act as peer educators and peer counsellors. They can act as agents of change in their families and communities if your school focuses on youth participation, youth leadership and peer mediation. In some places, student health educators have conducted special school programmes, such as peace days and violence-prevention weeks and months during which they have written and produced plays and videos with violence-prevention themes.
It is important to value the contribution of peer educators. Some schools have done this through public recognition, a certificate and by providing incentives such as programme T-shirts, food and money stipends or scholarships.
Parents and other caregivers play an important role in violence prevention, including roles as nurturer, teacher, disciplinarian, role model and supervisor. Far too often, however, parents and other caregivers do not have the resources, skills or community support to carry out these roles as effectively as possible.(40) As a result, the messages students receive in the classroom may be irrelevant once they go home.
If possible, offer parent education courses at the primary/elementary school level, and provide transportation and child care to allow more parents to attend. During the sessions, encourage parents to become more involved in Health-Promoting School activities. Allow parents an opportunity to meet and talk with other parents who may share their particular concerns. These meetings offer a good opportunity to encourage parent communication.
A valuable means of preparing teachers for violence prevention education is through programmes in teacher education/training institutes and universities. This way, teachers can receive time-intensive and specialised training in violence prevention methods. Some efforts are being made in developing countries to provide academic courses or programmes in schools of higher education.
In order to learn about, teach, support and reinforce violence prevention methods, the School Health Team and teachers need to receive training.(34) Team training helps to ensure consistent application of violence prevention efforts in different classrooms and throughout the school. Many teachers have a limited background in teaching not only facts about violence, but also skills to help students reduce risks. In addition, teachers need to examine their own attitudes about customs and practises which prevent or encourage violence. School staff need to model the skills of peaceful coexistence in the classroom and in the community.
To be effective, in-service training should be of sufficient duration, periodically reinforced and should provide time for coaching and sharing of strategies. It should also consider the support that teachers need as they begin using a new curriculum. A staff developer can provide demonstration lessons, help the teacher prepare, observe classes, give feedback and sustain the teacher's motivation.
Follow-up training sessions should allow teachers to share their experiences, discuss concerns and plan school-wide events.
Training and learning materials may be available through government and non-governmental agencies, international organisations, universities or teachers' unions in your country.
Annex 4 lists WHO and UNESCO resources that you can contact for help and information.
Education Development Center, Inc., and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are WHO Collaborating Centres and serve as sources of technical assistance and information. Supplemental training materials can also be generated by teachers and students themselves - a strategy which has proven successful in some countries.
Staff training/development should:
· Instil an understanding of the nature and type of local violence
· Develop staff skills in conflict resolution, intergroup relations skills and classroom management
· Demonstrate the teaching methods to be learned and provide a chance to practise these methods and receive feedback/coaching
· Provide the knowledge and skills to respond to student disclosure of all types of violence, whether as victims, offenders or bystanders of violence
· Encourage and empower teachers to shape the instructional processes within their own schools and classrooms, and provide adequate opportunities for teachers to share in decision-making
· Demonstrate strategies for integrating these concepts and skills into social studies, language arts and other core academic subjects
· Train teachers how to recognise symptoms associated with abuse and trauma (e.g., symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder)
· Link school teachers and staff to external resources that can assist children who are or have been victims of violence, who witness violence at home, or who are behaving violently.
Children who are or have been victims of violence or who are showing aggressive or disruptive behaviour at school have a particular need for support and intervention. It is important to identify these children in order to provide them with services, evaluate their progress and conduct follow-up. Schools have a role to play in this process, even where resources are scarce. In a Health-Promoting School, health services work in partnership with and are provided for students, school personnel, families and community members.(41) They should be coordinated with other services and activities at school and in the community to utilise the potential of specialist resources to provide advice and support for health promotion and violence prevention.(42)
Schools and communities need to consider what preventive and treatment services are best provided at school sites and avoid duplicating services available in the community that would easily be accessible for students and school personnel.
Children who show behavioural and learning problems, or who you believe are at high risk for involvement in violence, should be screened for victimisation and exposure to violence. Where children have been caught in war or other strife and hardship, it is recommended that school health providers routinely take the family's history of violence when providing medical services to children.
"Creating a safe environment for children to express themselves with a trusted adult is the most important intervention to alleviate the long-term psychosocial effects of war-related violence on children."
Dr. Leila Gupta, Afghanistan(43)
In some communities, children identified with needs related to exposure to violence can be referred to specialists for treatment. In most communities, however, specialists are scarce. In such cases, school staff can be trained by health professionals to recognise physical and emotional symptoms of trauma and to deal with child trauma victims, at least in a preliminary way.(44) With the support and guidance of an empathetic and informed adult, a child, or groups of children, can be helped to express suffering and to confront bad memories. Talking or writing about, or even acting out, traumatic events is a way for a child to begin healing. Children who have witnessed, perpetrated, or been victimised by violence or neglect can benefit from art and re-enactment "play" therapy. Art and expressive therapies can elucidate the child's problems and help the caregiver and child start to explore new, healthier symbols of expression which can replace previously conditioned responses and beliefs.
Counselling may provide children and adolescents with their first opportunity to discuss the violence in their lives as well as ways to prevent, stop or avoid it.(40) Through individual and group counselling or peer support groups, children can talk about life, death, grief, safety, their fears and feelings in a supportive environment. In addition, volunteer "special friends" can act as companions and confidants to troubled children.
All schools should have a plan for dealing with emergencies and crises. Do not wait for a major emergency or act of violence to occur. Try to designate a crisis coordinator and ensure that at least some staff members are certified in First Aid and Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation. Regularly rehearse the plan so that if there is an emergency, your school can respond rapidly.
Reintegrating traumatised children to their schools after a violent event can be coordinated between mental health professionals, parents and the school. Mental health professionals can assess when a child is ready to go back to school and advise teachers and parents on how to monitor the child's progress.
The Health-Promoting School does not exist in a vacuum. To be most effective, it must collaborate with formal and informal, public and private individuals, organisations and disciplines. In the area of violence, health service providers play an especially important role. Professional training and continuing education for health professionals should include a focus on how to address different kinds of violence affecting children and adolescents. Health care professionals need skills in the diagnosis and management of child and adolescent behaviour disorders. They need to know how to recognise symptoms associated with abuse and trauma.
Rather than only learning to treat the consequences of violence, however, health professionals need to know how to prevent or at least reduce its frequency and severity. They can benefit from training in many of the violence prevention skills. They should also be trained to work in partnership with teachers, communities, parents, young people and volunteers. For example, health care professionals can provide prevention education to students and counselling to those who have witnessed or are victims of violence. They can also help inform parents by advising them about appropriate disciplining, effective parent-child communication, dangers, availability and safe storage of firearms, and role modelling of appropriate behaviour. These lessons can be built into children's early and on-going routine visits.
Institutes of higher education that train professionals and paraprofessionals in public health, nursing, medicine, social work and education may provide training on violence prevention and interventions. In war-torn countries, mental health workers from non-governmental organisations, mental health institutes and the ministry of public health may be trained in ways to help children deal with their trauma and grief. Continuing education should be offered to practising professionals so that practitioners can acquire the skills they need to intervene early.
Many schools around the world have very few, if any, resources for directly providing treatment services. It is necessary for these schools to explore ways to establish or strengthen linkages with sources of health services in the community. An array of services may be available to students through formal referral systems for diagnostic and treatment services. These may include community health clinics, private doctors, professional counsellors, social workers, and mental health, social service and legal service providers in the community. Schools should also follow-up on all referrals made to ensure that students and families are connecting and benefiting from health services. This is also a way for the school to support the efforts of outside providers.
Your initial assessment of school resources, which included a simple summary of existing programmes and services, provides information that can be used to formulate ideas for possible linkages with existing community agencies.
One of the ten recommendations of WHO's Expert Committee on Comprehensive School Health Education and Promotion (September 1995) is that "Every school must provide a safe learning environment for students and a safe workplace for staff." Too often the school environment itself can threaten physical and emotional health. The school environment must protect from discrimination, harassment, abuse and violence. In a Health-Promoting School, both the physical and psychosocial environment should be consistent with and reinforce other health promotion efforts.(19)
Students' quality of education is affected by the psychosocial environment of the school and the surrounding community. Discrimination, harassment, double standards, or violence and abuse between students and between staff and students are barriers to school participation, even to school attendance. One reason some parents refuse to send their daughters to school is their concern about the risks their daughters will face at school; girls are sexually harassed, sometimes raped, by their fellow students, their teachers and sometimes by strangers as they walk to school.(45) Surveys of high school students in the United States also reveal high numbers of boys who report sexual harassment or abuse by other boys. The following section outlines policies and practises that can be implemented to create a caring school community that is characterised by cooperation, effective communication, appreciation of differences and shared decision-making.(46)
School policies and practises should promote a clear set of school norms regarding violence, beginning with mutual respect between administrators and teachers and among teachers. A Health-Promoting School can create student and staff conduct and discipline codes regarding violence and aggression. Teachers, for example, should know how to respond effectively when facing routine incidents of conflict and aggression, as well as with those children who show repeated and severe problems with aggressive behaviour. School policies and practises should advance relations between students that are respectful, nondiscriminatory and nonabusive. They should also enhance teacher-student respect and communication. Instances of discrimination or abuse among students, between staff, and between staff and students should be condemned openly to promote appropriate social norms.(19)
Discipline does not only derive from rules, punishment and external control. It is also learned from reinforcement, and by consequences which are fair, firm and clearly communicated. Disciplinary measures, such as suspending or expelling students, do not provide students with the opportunity to improve their behaviour. These strategies have not been shown to prevent violent or disruptive behaviour in school. In-school or after-school suspensions, on the other hand, allow schools to remove disruptive students from the classroom and provide them with counselling and individual or small-group academic tutoring.(40)
In general, try not to view discipline in terms of punishment, but rather as a means of upholding expectations for a code of decent conduct. Provide recognition, rewards and reinforcement for newly learned skills and behaviour.(35) Hold appropriate expectations for all students, beginning in early childhood, and help provide students with the opportunity, support and encouragement to meet those expectations.
School Policies and Practices Promote Peace in New South Wales, Australia
The state education system in New South Wales, consisting of about 750,000 students and 60,000 employees in 2,200 schools, has mandated that all government schools have a policy to handle critical incidents (natural disasters, traumatic incidents and deaths/injuries to students or staff); that teachers must report instances of suspected child abuse; and that schools develop student welfare policies, programmes and structures. The New South Wales Department of School Education employs psychologists who are based in secondary or primary schools. Pastoral care is also provided through peer support programmes.
In the Kair High School in Sydney, relationships among students, between teachers and students, among teachers, and between teachers and parents have been enhanced through the school's "critical incident management plan." Teachers act as advocates for students, spending time with students, sharing information and personal experiences, and intervening early through perceptive problem solving.(19)
Adapted from WHO, The Status of School Health. Geneva, 1996.
A Health-Promoting School does not limit its efforts to preventing violence among students; it also emphasises violence prevention for employees, teachers, administrators and support staff. Teachers and staff can be victims, survivors and perpetuators of violence in their intimate relationships. Staff assistance programmes can offer appropriate counselling and referral to specialised programmes where they are available. For example, administrators and counsellors need to be aware of any community resources such as women's shelters, legal advice services sensitive to the issues of abused women, police protection and programmes for abusers.
Buddies Try to Counter Violence in South Africa
The urban environment of South Africa, like other urban areas around the world, is often marked by large scale violence that has been called a "low-intensity war." The "Psycho-Social Enrichment of Children" project is run by the University of Witwatersrand's Department of Psychology to foster the development of both young primary school children and of unemployed youths in Eldorado Park, near Johannesburg. The project helps youths become positive role models for younger children. As 'Big Buddies', male and female adolescents who have up to now failed to find a role in their communities become dependable and supportive friends and role models for groups of young children. As a result, the project gives the Big Buddies the opportunity to become a respected community resource; this increases their sense of their own worth while also teaching them parenting skills which will assist them in their roles in later life. Big Buddies are also able to channel their energies into positive activities for and with young children. They are trained in problem solving, leadership skills, managing anger and frustration, and mediation skills, and are encouraged to use games, drama, and creative toys to work with themes that boost the confidence and self-esteem of the children.
At the same time, the project provides the little Buddies' with a safe development environment in which they have many opportunities for growth. Parents have reported happier children who enjoy better relationships with others, have a growing ability to share and a diminishing need to fight, who show increased self-confidence and self-awareness, and have developed an enhanced ability to discern between right and wrong.
Adapted from South Africa: Countering violence through psycho-social enrichment. In Bernard van Leer Foundation Newsletter 84, October 1996.
The school's physical environment plays a crucial role in either facilitating or discouraging violence. Some strategies to ensure that the school's appearance, layout and facilities are working to discourage rather than increase violence include the following:
· School clean-ups and "painting parties"
· Lighting policies to reduce crime (i.e., total darkness discouraging youth from congregating in the area or increased lighting to discourage violent activity from happening in a highly visible area)
· Making emergency exits visible
· Murals and posters with non-violent messages
· Public announcements supporting non-violence
Some measures that schools have taken to provide a climate of safety among students and staff include:
· School safety plans, with parent and community input
· Providing safe passages for students on their way to and from school
· Providing student identification cards to restrict outsiders from entering school grounds
· Structuring lunch and recess time with group activities supervised by adults
· Classroom telephones
· Weapon detection systems
To avoid involvement in violence, students need more opportunities for healthy, productive activities and less opportunities for engaging in negative behaviour. Some examples are:
Positive adults acting as teachers, role models and mentors can instil in students a higher value on staying in school and avoiding violence. Mentors and role models can be local business owners, community residents, university students, senior citizens, secondary school students, student athletes and teachers.(40) Mentoring interventions include activities such as tutoring, counselling, cultural enrichment, social skills development, life experience sharing, summer jobs and sporting events.
· Service learning
Service learning, or using service to the community as a "hands-on" approach to learning, can be linked to anti-violence courses to promote youth leadership, help young people care for others, and to heighten awareness of how poverty, substance abuse and other social ills cause violence. Students can serve their community in numerous ways, such as cleaning up neighbourhood streets, building a playground, tutoring young and old members of the community, assisting sick, elderly or handicapped community members with housecleaning and chores, providing childcare, or volunteering their time and talents, such as singing or dancing in hospital settings.
Service learning projects can also aim to counter violence more directly. For example, the principal of an elementary school located in a high-crime area of the United States instituted the "Peaceful Playground" project to reduce violence. As "playground monitors," students selected and trained in peer mediation and conflict resolution became well-versed in "Rules of Peace," and not only stopped physical altercations, but instituted ground rules for peaceful conversation as well.
In serving their school as role models and problem-solvers, the students became increasingly more aware of alternatives to the violence around them.(47)
· Art programmes
Art programmes can nurture resiliency and social skills and provide a safe place where young people can practise respect for differences, listening skills and cooperative learning.(48) They can also provide youth with excitement, challenge and relief from boredom, as well as the opportunity to develop characteristics, like discipline and creative problem-solving, that help to prevent violence. Art programmes can also create positive changes in the environment, helping to revitalise communities that have been affected by crime and poverty. Examples of art activities include drama, dance, painting, photography, music, sculpture, film, video, computer graphics, puppetry, writing, oral history, storytelling, architecture, design and toymaking. The larger community's cultural resources can be used: museums, theatres, music groups, singing groups, local artists and performers, dance and literary organisations and community centres.
· After-school activities
Try to organise recreational, physical and sports activities for students after school. One example is to form clubs that meet the interests of students. As a means of counteracting student involvement in gang violence, one school in New York City formed over 50 clubs, including Yoga, Floral Design, Sports, International Pen Pal, Ceramics, Science, Movies, Drama, Reading, Math Counts, We Make a Difference (visiting senior citizens homes), Singing, Poetry and Walking.(49)
· Career exploration
Counselling in career opportunities, training in job skills, and work experience placements or apprenticeships can provide students with technical, entrepreneurial and vocational skills and help improve the economic futures of young people, combat poverty and joblessness and contribute to violence prevention efforts. (50)
Schools cannot take on the problems of violence alone. Violence prevention activities should be a responsibility of the whole community. Key community leaders and groups need to be included in violence prevention training so that the messages young people receive regarding violence prevention are consistent, whether they hear the messages from teachers, peers, parents or community members. Involving the community can also help to affect those young people who have dropped out, are chronically truant and who are at high risk for becoming perpetrators or victims of violence.
Schools around the world have found creative ways to include the wider community, as described in Youth Development Activities above. Peer education projects can be organised where trained students act as peer leaders in church or other community organisations. Word and picture murals, posters, flyers, bulletin boards and pamphlets can also be used to create awareness within the community. These efforts can be coordinated by the School Health Team with help from the community advisors.
Schools can benefit greatly from partnerships with local business and representatives from agencies and organisations, such as health departments, juvenile courts, probation departments, youth-serving agencies, and parks and recreation. Together, partners can discuss common problems, develop joint interventions and integrate services. Specific opportunities for collaboration include the following:
· Family and other community members can serve as volunteers to help ensure peace both in school and during after-school activities. They can provide additional security in school and around school grounds.
· Volunteers can tutor students, act as mentors or simply share their time.
· Caregivers can transport or accompany students to school to ensure safety and improve attendance.
· Through donations, businesses can provide the funding for teacher training, sponsor events, contribute funds for increased street and schoolground lights and pay for school uniforms.
· Local businesses can collaborate with schools in the following ways:
- Help ensure safe passage to school. For example, in a large urban area in the United States, businesses posted identification stickers on their windows indicating to students that they are free to enter the business any time if they feel they are in danger.
- Provide work experience to students, particularly during summer and/or school break periods.
· Local and mass media can help publicise the activities of schools so that they are supported by the entire community and can serve as positive models.(8)
Police in New Zealand Play an Important Role in Violence Prevention
The Youth Education Service (YES) of the New Zealand Police works successfully with young people, teachers and school communities to promote individual safety and safer communities. One hundred and thirty Police Education Officers of YES have been selected and trained to help deliver health curricula to students in primary and secondary schools through social studies or health curricula. In addition to curricula focusing on drug abuse resistance, road safety and social responsibility development, YES promotes non-violence through age-appropriate resources and the following violence prevention interventions: Keeping Ourselves Safe - a series of units for the primary, intermediate and secondary schools teaching skills to take responsibility for keeping oneself and others safe in a range of situations appropriate to the age of the student - and Kia Kaha, social skills development for bullies and victims of bullies.
The Police Education Officers come from a range of backgrounds and represent all types of policing duties. Though YES forms a relatively small section within the police, it delivers the major component of community contact and liaison through its relationship with school communities. Police Education Officers have become valuable resources for teachers, sometimes assisting teachers in the planning, preparation, delivery and evaluation of the educational programmes. A growing body of research and overwhelming demand from schools and teachers for YES programmes are indicative of their positive impact on the behaviour of children and the safety of schools.
In a Health-Promoting School, the School Health Team will want to find ways to coordinate all these different education, health services, environmental and community components, so that all aspects work together to promote health and prevent violence. Success is most likely to occur when schools deliver education and services in an environment where there is respect, tolerance and gender equity, and where social norms favour non-violence. Educational approaches to violence prevention need to be complemented by policy and consistent enforcement of rules. Personnel providing education, health services or counselling related to violence need to collaborate and increasingly work toward integrated activity. In addition, health promotion efforts are strengthened when schools forge trusting and ongoing relationships with parents and community organisations.(19) Messages to young people need to be consistent, reinforced and acceptable within the community and family cultures.
Coordination will require commitment of the School Health Team to coordinate a multidimensional effort. Leaders will need to identify points of intersection among the components that are related to violence prevention. One suggestion is for the leadership team to identify key people involved in promoting violence prevention through different aspects of the school.
Evaluation is a powerful tool that can be used to inform and strengthen Health-Promoting School activities at both local and global levels. Data collected through carefully designed evaluations provide essential information to national, state and local programmes as they set goals and objectives for current and future efforts. Unfortunately, the vast majority of violence prevention interventions have not been evaluated. Strengthening evaluation efforts has the potential to provide solid evidence of effectiveness and inform individual programmes and planners with information on which interventions work best, which do not, and how to advance efforts in the future.
Evaluation is necessary to answer such questions as:
· Are our interventions reaching the right individuals at the right time in their lives - children and adolescents, their parents, teachers, counsellors, community members, etc.?
· Are classroom materials, media presentations, parent outreach, community meetings and other activities being implemented the way we had intended?
· Are they accomplishing what we expected?
· Which specific interventions or components of our efforts work best? With whom? Under what circumstances?
· What components did not work? What went wrong?
· Where should we place more of our efforts in the future?(19)
· What can be improved?
Formative evaluation has the primary purpose of helping to design and modify a new programme. It refers to the process of gathering information to advise the planning and design stages and decisions about implementation.(50) Formative evaluation relies extensively on qualitative methods such as observation, individual and group interviews, and focus groups, to gather feedback from students, teachers, or professionals that can improve the violence prevention interventions during planning and initial implementation.
Process evaluation documents what has been done and with whom. There should be ongoing process evaluation activities so that you will know what services have actually been delivered, to whom and when. This will help assess progress toward meeting violence prevention goals and objectives and making mid-course corrections. Documentation of the planning, development and implementation stages can also help others who want to replicate your successes and avoid any problems you may have faced. Documentation of services and activities can be provided through written teacher or student diaries, school records and interviews with teachers, school administrators, parents or community leaders about how the interventions are being implemented.
Outcome evaluation documents whether what has been done has made a difference. It is conducted to determine any changes that have occurred over the time period from before an intervention is implemented (data collected during the needs assessment) to after implementation and to demonstrate that the changes identified are the result of the intervention itself, not some other factors. Such evaluation allows you to showcase your efforts and bring positive attention to your community. It is also a good way to convince others to get involved.
Measure outcomes that are directly tied to your objectives. You may want to concentrate on outcomes for which records already exist. Data items that have already been collected in the needs assessment should be relatively easy to collect again.
Because resources for evaluation, including time, personnel and budget, might be scarce, it may be sufficient and more feasible to conduct a process rather than an outcome evaluation. Too often, programmes rush to study their impact on youth without fully understanding whether or how well implementation of the interventions occurred. In the field of violence prevention and the promotion of peace, there is a strong need to develop an inventory and disseminate examples and case studies of promising practices to contribute effectively to a global movement for non-violence and a culture of peace.(8)
Although you do not need to be a trained researcher or social scientist to conduct an evaluation of your efforts, it is necessary to have a good understanding of your interventions, including your goals and objectives; a commitment to learning more about the strengths and weaknesses of your efforts and to improving their delivery; and at least one person who is willing to be responsible for the evaluation.(51) It is also a good idea to consult someone from the health department or a local college or university who has experience in programme evaluation.
Sample outcomes to measure
· Change in attitudes, knowledge and behaviours of administrators, teachers and parents
· daily attendance
· arrests for crime on school grounds
· number and type of people involved in community violence prevention activities
Some recommendations for making school policies and structures sustainable:
· Collaborate with national, regional and international agencies.
· Improve the flow of information to reach the persons who can and need to use it. Encourage and facilitate the use of new information technologies to increase channels for disseminating information (e.g., through the local, provincial, national or regional network for the development of Health-Promoting Schools).(49)
· Groom future leaders in violence prevention.
· Increase coverage of human resources training.
· Develop supportive school policies and practises related to violence prevention interventions.
· Infuse violence prevention principles into core subjects.
· Share positive outcomes with other schools so that they can start similar violence prevention efforts and collaborate with your school.
· Communicate to community and nongovernmental organisations, district-level government, ministries of health and education, local and mass media what you have done and still need to do via written reports, meetings and discussions
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
Declaration of the 44th Session of the International Conference on Education (Geneva, October 1994) endorsed by the General Conference of UNESCO at its 28th Session, Paris, November 1995.
1. We, the Ministers of Education meeting at the 44th session of the International Conference on Education,
Deeply concerned by the manifestations of violence, racism, xenophobia, aggressive nationalism and violations of human rights, by religious intolerance, by the upsurge of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and by the growing gap separating wealthy countries from poor countries, phenomena which threaten the consolidation of peace and democracy both nationally and internationally and which are all obstacles to development,
Mindful of our responsibility for the education of citizens committed to the promotion of peace, human rights and democracy in accordance with the letter and spirit of the Charter of the United Nations, the Constitution of UNESCO, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other relevant instruments such as the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the conventions on the rights of women, and in accordance with the Recommendation concerning Education for International Understanding, Co-operation and Peace and Education relating to Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms,
Convinced that education policies have to contribute to the development of understanding, solidarity and tolerance among individuals and among ethnic, social, cultural and religious groups and sovereign nations,
Convinced that education should promote knowledge, values, attitudes and skills conducive to respect for human rights and to an active commitment to the defence of such rights and to the building of a culture of peace and democracy,
· of the great responsibility incumbent not only on parents, but on society as a whole, to work together with all those involved in the education system, and with non-governmental organizations, so as to achieve full implementation of the objectives of education for peace, human rights and democracy and to contribute in this way to sustainable development and to a culture of peace;
· of the need to seek synergies between the formal education system and the various sectors of non-formal education, which are helping to make a reality of education that is in conformity with the aims of the World Declaration on Education for All, adopted in Jomtien;
· of the decisive role that also falls to non-formal educational organizations in the process of forming the personalities of young people.
2. Strive resolutely:
· to base education on principles and methods that contribute to the development of the personality of pupils, students and adults who are respectful of their fellow human beings and determined to promote peace, human rights and democracy;
· to take suitable steps to establish in educational institutions an atmosphere contributing to the success of education for international understanding, so that they become ideal places for the exercise of tolerance, respect for human rights, the practice of democracy and learning about the diversity and wealth of cultural identities;
· to take action to eliminate all direct and indirect discrimination against girls and women in education systems and to take specific measures to ensure that they achieve their full potential;
· to pay special attention to improving curricula, the content of textbooks, and other educational materials including new technologies, with a view to educating caring and responsible citizens, open to other cultures, able to appreciate the value of freedom, respectful of human dignity and differences, and able to prevent conflicts or resolve them by non-violent means;
· to adopt measures to enhance the role and status of educators in formal and non-formal education and to give priority to pre-service and in-service training as well as the retraining of educational personnel, including planners and managers, oriented notably towards professional ethics, civic and moral education, cultural diversity, national codes and internationally recognized standards of human rights and fundamental freedoms;
· to encourage the development of innovative strategies adapted to the new challenges of educating responsible citizens committed to peace, human rights, democracy and sustainable development, and to apply appropriate measures of evaluation and assessment of these strategies;
· to prepare, as quickly as possible and taking into account the constitutional structures of each State, programmes of action for the implementation of this Declaration.
3. We are determined to increase our efforts to:
· give a major priority in education to children and young people, who are particularly vulnerable to incitements to intolerance, racism and xenophobia;
· seek the co-operation of all possible partners who would be able to help teachers to link the education process more closely to real social life and transform it into the practice of tolerance and solidarity, respect for human rights, democracy and peace;
· develop further, at the national and international levels, exchanges of educational experiences and research, direct contacts between students, teachers and researchers, school twinning arrangements and visits, with special attention to experimental schools such as UNESCO Associated Schools, to UNESCO Chairs, educational innovation networks and UNESCO Clubs and Associations;
· implement the Declaration and Programme of Action of the World Conference on Human Rights (Vienna, June 1993) and the World Plan of Action on Education for Human Rights and Democracy adopted at the International Congress on Education for Human Rights and Democracy (Montreal, March 1993), and make the internationally recognized instruments in the field of human rights available to all educational establishments;
· contribute, through specific activities, to the celebration of the United Nations Year for Tolerance (1995), and particularly to the inauguration, on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the United Nations and UNESCO, of the celebration of the International Day for Tolerance.
Consequently, we, the Ministers of Education meeting at the 44th session of the International Conference on Education, adopt this Declaration and invite the Director-General to present to the General Conference a Framework of Action that allows Member States and UNESCO to integrate, within a coherent policy, education for peace human rights and democracy in the perspective of sustainable development.
Integrated Framework of Action on Education for Peace, Human Rights and Democracy approved by the General Conference of UNESCO at its twenty-eight session
Paris, November 1995
This Integrated Framework of Action was prepared in accordance with resolution 5.7 adopted by the General Conference at its 27th session, which invites the Director-General "to finalize the integrated action plan on education for peace, human rights and democracy, taking into account all existing action plans in the field of international education... and to submit the integrated action plan for consideration by the International Conference on Education in 1994 and for approval by the General Conference at its twenty-eighth session, taking due account of any comments and recommendations made by the 1994 International Conference on Education."
The Framework offers a contemporary view of the problems relating to education for peace, human rights and democracy. It sets out objectives for such education, action strategies and policies and lines of action at the institutional, national and international levels.
This Integrated Framework of Action on Education for Peace, Human Rights and Democracy is intended to give effect to the Declaration adopted at the 44th session of the International Conference on Education. It suggests basic guidelines which could be translated into strategies, policies and plans of action at the institutional and national levels according to the conditions of different communities.
In a period of transition and accelerated change marked by the expression of intolerance, manifestations of racial and ethnic hatred, the upsurge of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, discrimination, war and violence towards those regarded as "other" and the growing disparities between rich and poor, at international and national levels alike, action strategies must aim both at ensuring fundamental freedoms, peace, human rights, and democracy and at promoting sustainable and equitable economic and social development all of which have an essential part to play in building a culture of peace. This calls for a transformation of the traditional styles of educational action.
The international community has recently expressed its firm resolve to provide itself with instruments adapted to the current challenges in the world in order to act in a concerted and effective way. The Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action for Human Rights adopted by the World Conference on Human Rights (Vienna, June 1993), the World Plan of Action on Education for Human Rights and Democracy adopted by the International Congress on Education for Human Rights and Democracy (Montreal, March 1993), and the Associated Schools Project Strategy and Plan of Action 1994-2000 are, in this respect, attempts to respond to the challenge of promoting peace, human rights, democracy and development.
Taking inspiration from the Recommendation on Education for International Understanding, Co-operation and Peace and Education relating to Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, this Framework of Action seeks to suggest to Member States and international governmental and non-governmental organizations an up-to-date and integrated view of problems and strategies concerning education for peace, human rights and democracy. It was drawn up at the request of the General Conference at its twenty-seventh session, taking into account existing action plans, and its purpose is to enhance their practical relevance and effectiveness. The idea then is to draw on accumulated experience in order to chart new directions for the education of citizens in every country. The Framework of Action accordingly identifies principles and objectives of action and formulates proposals for the consideration of policy-makers within each State and for co-operation between countries on the basis of the commitments contained in the Declaration, to which it is closely linked. It also attempts to bring together into a coherent whole the various measures aimed at defining study topics, realigning education at all levels, rethinking methods and reviewing teaching materials in use, stimulating research, developing teacher training and helping to make the education system more open to society by means of active partnership.
All human rights are universal, indivisible, interdependent and interrelated. The strategies of action for their implementation must take specific historic, religious and cultural considerations into account.
II. Aims of education for peace, human rights and democracy
The ultimate goal of education for peace, human rights and democracy is the development in every individual of a sense of universal values and types of behaviour on which a culture of peace is predicated. It is possible to identify even in different socio-cultural contexts values that are likely to be universally recognized.
Education must develop the ability to value freedom and the skills to meet its challenges. This means preparing citizens to cope with difficult and uncertain situations and fitting them for personal autonomy and responsibility. Awareness of personal responsibility must be linked to recognition of the value of civic commitment, of joining together with others to solve problems and to work for a just, peaceful and democratic community.
Education must develop the ability to recognize and accept the values which exist in the diversity of individuals, genders, peoples and cultures and develop the ability to communicate, share and co-operate with others. The citizens of a pluralist society and multicultural world should be able to accept that their interpretation of situations and problems is rooted in their personal lives, in the history of their society and in their cultural traditions; that, consequently, no individual or group holds the only answer to problems; and that for each problem there may be more than one solution. Therefore, people should understand and respect each other and negotiate on an equal footing, with a view to seeking common ground. Thus education must reinforce personal identity and should encourage the convergence of ideas and solutions which strengthen peace, friendship and solidarity between individuals and people.
Education must develop the ability of non-violent conflict-resolution. It should therefore promote also the development of inner peace in the minds of students so that they can establish more firmly the qualities of tolerance, compassion, sharing and caring.
Education must cultivate in citizens the ability to make informed choices, basing their judgements and actions not only on the analysis of present situations but also on the vision of a preferred future.
Education must teach citizens to respect the cultural heritage, protect the environment, and adopt methods of production and patterns of consumption which lead to sustainable development. Harmony between individual and collective values and between immediate basic needs and long-term interests is also necessary.
Education should cultivate feelings of solidarity and equity at the national and international levels in the perspective of a balanced and long-term development.
In order to achieve these aims, the strategies and forms of action of education systems will clearly need to be modified, as necessary, in respect both of teaching and of administration. Furthermore, providing basic education for all, and promoting the rights of women as an integral and indivisible part of universal human rights, are fundamental in education for peace, human rights and democracy.
Strategies relating to education for peace, human rights and democracy must:
a. be comprehensive and holistic, which means addressing a very broad range of factors some of which are described in more detail below;
b. be applicable to all types, levels and forms of education;
c. involve all educational partners and various agents of socialization, including NGOs and community organizations;
d. be implemented locally, nationally, regionally and worldwide;
e. entail modes of management and administration, co-ordination and assessment that give greater autonomy to educational establishments so that they can work out specific forms of action and linkage with the local community, encourage the development of innovations and foster active and democratic participation by all those concerned in the life of the establishment;
f. be suited to the age and psychology of the target group and taken account of the evolution of the learning capacity of each individual;
g. be applied on a continuous and consistent basis. Results and obstacles have to be assessed, in order to ensure that strategies can be continuously adapted to changing circumstances;
h. include proper resources for the above aims, for education as a whole and especially for marginalized and disadvantaged groups.
The degree of change required, priorities for action and the sequence of actions should be determined at all decision-making levels taking into account different historical backgrounds, cultural traditions and development levels of regions and countries, and even within countries.
IV. Policies and Lines of Action
The incorporation into curricula at all levels of education, formal and non-formal, of lessons on peace, human rights and democracy is of crucial importance.
Content of education
· To strengthen the formation of values and abilities such as solidarity, creativity, civic responsibility, the ability to resolve conflicts by non-violent means, and critical acumen, it is necessary to introduce into curricula, at all levels, true education for citizenship which includes an international dimension. Teaching should particularly concern the conditions for the construction of peace; the various forms of conflict, their causes and effects; the ethical, religious and philosophical bases of human rights, their historical sources, the way they have developed and how they have been translated into national and international standards, such as in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and the Convention on the Rights of the Child; the bases of democracy and its various institutional models; the problem of racism and the history of the fight against sexism and all the other forms of discrimination and exclusion. Particular attention should be devoted to culture, the problem of development and the history of every people, as well as to the role of the United Nations and international institutions. There must be education for peace, human rights and democracy. It cannot, however, be restricted to specialized subjects and knowledge. The whole of education must transmit this message and the atmosphere of the institution must be in harmony with the application of democratic standards. Likewise, curriculum reform should emphasize knowledge, understanding and respect for the culture of others at the national and global level and should link the global interdependence of problems to local action. In view of religious and cultural differences, every country may decide which approach to ethical education best suits its cultural context.
Teaching materials and resources
· All people engaged in educational action must have adequate teaching materials and resources at their disposal. In this connection, it is necessary to make the necessary revisions to textbooks to get rid of negative stereotypes and distorted views of "the other". International co-operation in producing textbooks could be encouraged. Whenever new teaching materials, textbooks and the like are to be produced, they should be designed with due consideration of new situations. The textbooks should offer different perspectives on a given subject and make transparent the national or cultural background against which they are written. Their content should be based on scientific findings. It would be desirable for the documents of UNESCO and other United Nations institutions to be widely distributed and used in educational establishments, especially in countries where the production of teaching materials is proving slow owing to economic difficulties. Distance education technologies and all modern communication tools must be placed at the service of education for peace, human rights and democracy.
Programmes for reading, expression and the promotion of foreign languages
· It is essential for the development of education for peace, human rights and democracy that reading, and verbal and written expression programmes, should be considerably strengthened. A comprehensive grasp of reading, writing and the spoken word enables citizens to gain access to information, to understand clearly the situation in which they are living, to express their needs, and to take part in activities in the social environment. In the same way, learning foreign languages offers a means of gaining a deeper understanding of other cultures, which can serve as a basis for building better understanding between communities and between nations. UNESCO's LINGUAPAX project could serve as an example in that respect.
· Proposals for educational change find their natural place in schools and classrooms. Teaching and learning methods, forms of action and institutional policy lines have to make peace, human rights and democracy both a matter of daily practice and something that is learned. With regard to methods, the use of active methods, group work, the discussion of moral issues and personalized teaching should be encouraged. As for institutional policy lines, efficient forms of management and participation must promote the implementation of democratic school management, involving teachers, pupils, parents and the local community as a whole.
· Direct contacts and regular exchanges should be promoted between pupils, students, teachers and other educators in different countries or cultural environments, and visits should be organized to establishments where successful experiments and innovations have been carried out, particularly between neighbouring countries. Joint projects should be implemented between establishments and institutions from different countries, with a view to solving common problems. International networks of pupils, students and researchers working towards the same objectives should also be set up. Such networks should, as a matter of priority, ensure that schools in particularly difficult situations due to extreme poverty or insecurity should take part in them. With this in mind, it is essential to strengthen and develop the UNESCO Associated Schools System. All these activities, within the limits of available resources, should be introduced as an integral component of teaching programmes.
· The reduction of failure must be a priority. Therefore, education should be adapted to the individual student's potential. The development of self-esteem, as well as strengthening the will to succeed in learning, are also basic necessities for achieving a higher degree of social integration. Greater autonomy for schools implies greater responsibility on the part of teachers and the community for the results of education. However, the different development levels of education systems should determine the degree of autonomy in order to avoid a possible weakening of educational content.
· The training of personnel at all levels of the education system - teachers, planners, managers, teacher educators - has to include education for peace, human rights and democracy. This pre-service and in-service training and retraining should introduce and apply in situ methodologies, observing experiments and evaluating their results. In order to perform their tasks successfully, schools, institutions of teacher education and those in charge of non-formal education programmes should seek the assistance of people with experience in the fields of peace, human rights and democracy (politicians, jurists, sociologists and psychologists) and of the NGOs specialized in human rights. Similarly, pedagogy and the actual practice of exchanges should form part of the training courses of all educators.
· Teacher education activities must fit into an overall policy to upgrade the teaching profession. International experts, professional bodies and teachers' unions should be associated with the preparation and implementation of action strategies because they have an important role to play in the promotion of a culture of peace among teachers themselves.
Action on behalf of vulnerable groups
· Specific strategies for the education of vulnerable groups and those recently exposed to conflict or in a situation of open conflict are required as a matter of urgency, giving particular attention to children at risk and to girls and women subjected to sexual abuse and other forms of violence. Possible practical measures could include, for example, the organization outside the conflict zone of specialized forums and workshops for educators, family members and mass media professionals belonging to the conflicting groups and an intensive training activity for educators in post-conflict situations. Such measures should be undertaken in co-operation with governments whenever possible.
· The organization of education programmes for abandoned children, street children, refugee and displaced children and economically and sexually exploited children are a matter of urgency.
· It is equally urgent to organize special youth programmes, laying emphasis on participation by children and young people in solidarity actions and environmental protection.
· In addition, efforts should be made to address the special needs of people with learning difficulties by providing them with relevant education in a non-exclusionary and integrated educational setting.
· Furthermore, in order to create understanding between different groups in society, there must be respect for the educational rights of persons belonging to national or ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities, as well as indigenous people, and this must also have implications in the curricula and methods as well as in the way education is organized.
Research and development
· New problems require new solutions. It is essential to work out strategies for making better use of research findings, to develop new teaching methods and approaches and to improve co-ordination in choosing research themes between research institutes in the social sciences and education in order to address in a more relevant and effective way the complex nature of education for peace, human rights and democracy. The effectiveness of educational management should be enhanced by research on decision-making by all those involved in the educational process (government, teachers, parents, etc.). Research should also be focused on finding new ways of changing public attitudes towards human rights, in particular towards women, and environmental issues. The impact of educational programmes may be better assessed by developing a system of indicators of results, setting up data banks on innovative experiments, and strengthening systems for disseminating and sharing information and research findings, nationally and internationally.
· Higher education institutions can contribute in many ways to education for peace, human rights and democracy. In this connection, the introduction into the curricula of knowledge, values and skills relating to peace, human rights, justice, the practice of democracy, professional ethics, civic commitment and social responsibility should be envisaged. Educational institutions at this level should also ensure that students appreciate the interdependence of States in an increasingly global society.
Co-ordination between the education sector and other agents of socialization
· The education of citizens cannot be the exclusive responsibility of the education sector. If it is to be able to do its job effectively in this field, the education sector should closely co-operate, in particular, with the family, the media, including traditional channels of communication, the world of work and NGOs.
· Concerning co-ordination between school and family, measures should be taken to encourage the participation of parents in school activities. Furthermore, education programmes for adults and the community in general in order to strengthen the school's work are essential.
· The influence of the media in the socialization of children and young people is increasingly being acknowledged. It is, there fore, essential to train teachers and prepare students for the critical analysis and use of the media, and to develop their competence to profit from the media by a selective choice of programmes. On the other hand, the media should be urged to promote the values of peace, respect for human rights, democracy and tolerance, in particular by avoiding programmes and other products that incite hatred, violence, cruelty and disrespect for human dignity.
Non-formal education of young people and adults
· Young people who spend a lot of time outside school and who often do not have access to the formal education system, or to vocational training or a job, as well as young people doing their military service, are a very important target group of education programmes for peace, human rights and democracy. While seeking improved access to formal education and vocational training it is therefore essential for them to be able to receive non-formal education adapted to their needs, which would prepare them to assume their role as citizens in a responsible and effective way. In addition, education for peace, human rights and respect for the law has to be provided for young people in prisons, reformatories or treatment centres.
· Adult education programmes - in which NGOs have an important role to play - should make everyone aware of the link between local living conditions and world problems. Basic education programmes should attach particular importance to subject-matter relating to peace, human rights and democracy. All culturally suitable media such as folklore, popular theatre, community discussion groups and radio should be used in mass education.
Regional and international co-operation
· The promotion of peace and democracy will require regional co-operation, international solidarity and the strengthening of co-operation between international and governmental bodies, non-governmental organizations, the scientific community, business circles, industry and the media. This solidarity and co-operation must help the developing countries to cater for their needs for promoting education for peace, human rights and democracy.
· UNESCO should place its institutional capability, and in particular its regional and international innovation networks, at the service of the efforts to give effect to this Framework of Action. The Associated Schools Project, the UNESCO Clubs and Associations, the UNESCO Chairs, the major education projects for Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean, the Arab States and Europe, the follow-up bodies of the Jomtien World Conference, and in particular the regional and international conferences of ministers of education should make specific contributions. In these efforts, especially at national level, the active participation of National Commissions for UNESCO should be a strategic asset in enhancing the effectiveness of the actions proposed.
· UNESCO should introduce questions relating to the application of this Framework of Action at meetings to be held at the highest level regionally and internationally, develop programmes for the training of educational personnel, strengthen or develop networks of institutions, and carry out comparative research on teaching programmes, methods and materials. In accordance with the commitments set forth in the Declaration on Education for Peace, Human Rights and Democracy, the programmes should be evaluated on a regular basis.
· In this context, UNESCO, in line with the United Nations actions such as "Agenda for Peace", "Agenda for Development", "Agenda 21", "Social Summit" and "the Fourth World Conference on Women", should launch initiatives to implement this operation with other institutions in the United Nations system and other regional and international organizations, so as to establish a global plan of activities and set priorities for joint, co-ordinated action. This could include a UNESCO-managed fund for international co-operation in education for peace, human rights and democracy.
· National and international non-governmental organizations should be encouraged to participate actively in the implementation of this Framework of Action.
Life Skills Education seeks to teach a range of social competencies that adolescents need to successfully accomplish many of the developmental challenges they may face. These skills include: communication skills; decision-making; problem solving; critical thinking; assertiveness; pressure resistance; self-assessment; coping with emotions; stress management; social adjustment; and self-awareness. Key components of Life Skills Education include;
1. Facilitating the learning of life skills for psychosocial competence
2. Practising life skills in relation to everyday life and the key prevention issues to which they are relevant
3. Facilitating the acquisition of skills using interactive, student-centred methods, such as role play and guided practise
4. Encouraging parental involvement and reinforcement of the skills learned
5. Offering opportunities for application of life skills in community projects
Conflict Resolution seeks to help young people understand conflict and develop a range of skills including critical thinking, communication, empathy, anger management, problem solving, impulse control and withstanding peer pressure. Role playing of conflict situations and analysis of responses to conflict are usually components. Conflict resolution curricula help students to define problems and generate solutions, anticipate consequences of behaviour choices, learn self-control and form and retain friendships. They are most often taught in social studies and health, usually through one teaching unit that lasts two to four weeks.
Mediation Interventions involve the participation of a third party (a trained student or teacher) who assists the people in the disagreement to resolve their conflicts. In addition to many of the areas of training in conflict resolution, mediators are taught to be good listeners and skilled in calming the disputants and assisting them in reaching win-win solutions. Mediators can empower students to help one another resolve their conflicts without adult involvement, and provide student mediators with the skills to resolve their own conflicts more effectively. Generally, student mediators work in pairs to mediate conflicts after completing a 15-20 hour training that includes both students and teacher-advisors. The conflicts they mediate involve such issues as bullying and fighting. Student mediators are sometimes selected by the students; in other cases, they volunteer or are chosen by the school staff. Peer mediation can be used in conjunction with conflict resolution programmes.
Crime Prevention and Law-Related Education offers students ways to reduce their chances of becoming victims of crime by increasing their knowledge of the types of crime committed in the school and community and developing appropriate safety measures. It encourages them to take action to prevent crime in general in their community and also increases their awareness of the legal system, the justice system and the juvenile justice system in particular.
Communication Skill Education teaches students to express thoughts and feelings in clear, acceptable, non-threatening and creative ways. It includes basic communication skills (i.e., speaking clearly, active listening, responding when spoken to, expressing feelings), anger management skills, conflict management and resolution skills, inclusion skills and empathy for others.
Decision-making Skills help students to cope with challenges such as dealing with peer pressure, refusal skills, problem-solving skills, critical thinking, making friends, healing after loss or rejection, crisis/stress management, handling emotions, rejecting stereotypes, developing positive attitudes, setting and achieving goals.
Aggression Reduction/Anger Management Education conveys the message that anger is a normal human emotion. It explores healthy and unhealthy ways to express anger and may focus on violence as a consequence. Skills that teach ways that anger can be channelled appropriately and violence avoided can also be included in these curricula.
Peace Education takes a very broad approach, looking at violence prevention not only in an interpersonal context but at many different levels, from the individual to social groups, and within and among societies as a whole. They may be explicitly pacifist in approach and explore issues of fundamental justice in many different settings. In the context of peace education, skills are taught that are similar to those taught in Life Skills Education; including assertiveness, communication skills, critical thinking, and problem solving. A list of peace education programmes can be obtained from the WHO, Division of Mental Health.
Prejudice Reduction/Cultural Awareness curricula attempt to overcome the stereotypes and prejudices that can foster violence. They use a variety of approaches from exploring historical events to looking at the strengths and contributions of different ethnic and social groups.
Adapted from EDC (1995) Taking Action to Prevent Adolescent Violence: Educational Resources for Schools and Community Organizations (an annotated bibliography of over 90 curricula and descriptions of over 200 videos). (52)
Discuss how to say no to situations threatening one's health or well-being (e.g., "no to breaking family or school rules" and "no to strangers").
Discuss the importance of resolving conflict with peers in a positive manner.
Identify situations where refusal skills are necessary (e.g., say no to suggestion of stealing).
Identify how positive behaviour can resolve conflict and where/when to go for help when a conflict arises.
Recall situations where refusal skills are important and practise using them.
Recognise conflict as a normal part of interpersonal relationships; recognise the importance of good communication and fact-finding; and recognise compromise as a way to negotiate a conflict.
Demonstrate attentive listening skills and effective interpersonal communication skills which show care, consideration and respect.
Discuss and practise the steps of the peer mediation process (e.g., ground rules, brainstorming).
Assess personal use of positive communication skills.
Discuss and practise the peer mediation process.
Analyse the consequences of violent versus non-violent means to resolve conflict (e.g., reputation/labelling; isolation; physical injury; self-confidence; attention).
Propose guidelines for healthy communication (e.g., respect, listening); role-play healthy communication and refusal skills.
Use the peer mediation process to resolve conflict.
Identify skills and responsibilities that support healthy family relationships; practise communication skills which promote good family relationships.
Identify important decisions made during adolescence; analyse the cause and effect relationship between decision-making and long- and short-term consequences (e.g., injury).
Describe the benefits of team decision-making; identify strategies to become a good team member; practise team decision-making.
Demonstrate strategies to manage conflict and stressful situations.
Describe causes of conflict among youth in schools and communities.
Analyse environmental factors contributing to violence; discuss barriers to violence prevention. Identify community resources and services for violence prevention.
Demonstrate the ability to communicate ideas and work together to achieve a common goal (e.g., cooperative learning group).
Identify reasons individuals become depressed and/or consider suicide; describe the referral procedures for these health issues.
Identify factors in the home, school and community that decrease violence; identify the behavioural characteristics of perpetrators and victims of violence.
Examine ways conflicts can be resolved; identify barriers to communication and potential triggers for violent behaviour.
Demonstrate the ability to work cooperatively and resolve conflict peacefully.
Differentiate between emergency situations that are life-threatening and those that are not and list action steps for each situation; demonstrate first aid skills and simulate responses to emergencies.
Evaluate violent situations and determine how best to avoid and/or resolve these situations.
Adapted from Instructional Goals and Objectives for Health
Mr L. Sanwogou
World Health Organization
Regional Office for Africa
Medical School, C Ward
Mazoe St, P.O. Box BE 773
Dr Maria Teresa Cerquiera
World Health Organization
Regional Office for the Americas
Pan American Sanitary Bureau
525, 23rd Street, N.W.
Washington D.C. 20037
Dr E. Ziglio
World Health Organization
Regional Office for Europe
DK-2100 Kobenhauvn 0
Dr Mohammad Al Khateeb
World Health Organization
Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean
P.O. Box 1517
Mrs Martha Osei
World Health Organization
Regional Office for South-East Asia
World Health House
Mahatma Gandhi Road
New Delhi 110002
Dr Hisashi Ogawa
World Health Organization
Regional Office for the Western Pacific
P.O. Box 2932
Dr Desmond O'Byrne
Department of Health Promotion
Social Change and Mental Health Cluster
World Health Organization
CH-1211 Gen 27
Mr Jack T. Jones
School Health Team Leader
Department of Health Promotion
Social Change and Mental Health Cluster
World Health Organization
CH-1211 Gen 27
Dr Rex Billington
Mental Health Promotion
Division of Mental Health
Social Change and Mental Health Cluster
World Health Organization
CH-1211 Gen 27
Ms Kaisa Savolainen
Department of Education for a Culture of Peace
7, place de Fontenoy
75352 Paris 07 SP
Mr Paolo Fontani
Department of Education for a Culture of Peace
7, place de Fontenoy
75352 Paris 07 SP
Ms Mirta Louren/B>
Culture of Peace Programme
7, place de Fontenoy
75352 Paris 07 SP
(From "A selected list of UNESCO practical and reference materials related to civics education," Department of Education for a Culture of Peace, UNESCO, Paris 1997)
Declaration and Integrated Framework of Action on Education for Peace, Human Rights and Democracy
UNESCO, 1996, colour brochure, 14 pages.
Free distribution. Available on request from Sections ED/HCI or
Declaration of Principles on Tolerance
UNESCO, 1995, 15 pages.
Free distribution. Available on request from Section SHS/TOL
Recommendation concerning education for international understanding, co-operation and peace and education relating to human rights and fundamental freedoms
UNESCO, 1974, 11 pages.
Free distribution. Available on request from Section ED/HCI
All human beings... Manual for human rights education
UNESCO, 1998, 165 pages.
Sales item. Approximately 50 French Francs at UNESCO bookstore or through national distributors of UNESCO publications.
Tolerance: the threshold of peace
Betty A. Reardon, UNESCO, 1997, 3 volumes, approx 120 pages
Sales item. 150 French francs (60 FF. per volume) at UNESCO
bookstore or through national distributors of UNESCO publications.
Key words for participating in the UNESCO Associated Schools Project - Practical manual
UNESCO, 1997, 82 pages.
Free distribution. Available on request from ED/HCI
Culture of democracy: a challenge for schools
P. Meyer-Bisch, UNESCO, 1995, 143 pages.
Sales item. 30 French francs at UNESCO bookstore or through
national distributors of UNESCO publications
Living together with our differences
NGO/UNESCO Standing Committee, 1995.
Free distribution. Available on request from NGO Standing
Committee, UNESCO, Paris
UNESCO, 1995. Audio-cassettes and booklets.
Available on request from the UNESCO San Jose, Costa Rica
Handbook Resource and Teaching Material in Conflict Resolution, Education for Human Rights, Peace and Democracy
UNESCO/IPRA, 1994, 184 pages.
Free distribution. Available on request from ED/HCI. English out
Seeds for Peace - The Role of Pre-school Education in International Understanding and Education for Peace
UNESCO, 1985, 123 pages.
Free distribution. Available on request from ED/HCI
Education for international co-operation and peace at the primary-school level
UNESCO, 1983, 138 pages.
Free distribution. Available on request from ED/HCI.
Curricula and textbook guidelines
Guidelines for Curriculum and Textbook Development in International Education
UNESCO, 1995, 22 pages.
Free distribution. Available on request from Section
International practical guide on the implementation of the Recommendation concerning education for international understanding, co-operation and peace and education relating to human rights and fundamental freedoms
UNESCO, 1994, 73 pages.
Free distribution. Available on request from ED/HCI
Teacher Training and Multiculturalism: National Studies
Edited by Raoul Gagliardi, IBE, 1995, 227 pages.
Sales item. 200 French francs at UNESCO bookstore or through
national distributors of UNESCO publications.
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