When will prevention of gender-based violence be integral part education?

NEWS 28.08.202314:21 0 komentara

Violence, especially gender-based violence, is increasingly a topic in Bosnia’s public sphere due to its frequency. But what is the role of schools in education regarding violence prevention? It is a devastating fact that many do not even know how to recognize violence because it is not only physical. Additionally, many do not know how to report it or whom to turn to. There is no formal education of youth in schools, instead, that role has been taken over by non-governmental organizations.

In some schools in Sarajevo Canton, such as the Dental High School, male and female students undergo training on family and gender-based violence. The fact that a recent study conducted by the Faculty of Political Sciences in Sarajevo with the Federation (FBiH) entity Gender Center showed that up to 65% of people are not sure or cannot recognize violence speaks volumes of the importance of educating young people about it.

The Principal of the Dental High School in Sarajevo pointed out a positive example of cooperation with the non-governmental sector:

“First of all, I would like to mention our collaboration with the Institute for Population and Development, where we recognized the importance of such a violence prevention program and healthy lifestyles. That program is different because it was really methodologically conceived, this means that our students in the first grade undergo testing, and their basic knowledge, attitudes, and opinions on certain topics are examined, among which are the issue of violence, healthy lifestyles, styles of gender equality and then workshops are realized with the agreement teachers and school management”, Elvira Jasarbasic, the school Principal said.

The “Cure” Foundation also conducted youth education in secondary schools with the approval of the Ministry of Education. Education is most often done at the invitation of schools themselves, especially schools where there are problems with certain types of violence. The Foundation pointed out that education is extremely important, but that work must also be done on changes to the system itself and textbooks because by analyzing seven high school textbooks, they determined a violation of the Law on Discrimination and Gender Equality.

“We are doing this precisely because we realized that during formal education, that particular segment is missing and so we wanted to supplement it,” Medina Mujic, the “Cure” Foundation spokesperson told N1.

Students state that they find the education very useful. A member of the local team of the Association of High School Students in Bosnia and Herzegovina stated that their association is also trying to raise awareness about violence.

“We are trying to raise awareness about violence against children and youth, especially against marginalized groups, i.e. people with disabilities and special needs. We believe that marginalized groups are very often neglected, so we certainly dedicate, internally in the Association, every month some activities at the local level or similar – to the prevention of violence. Our local teams and membership are really aware of what the topic of gender-based violence means and what consequences it can have,” said Lamija Lapo from the Association of High School Students in BiH.

Unfortunately, we have been witnessing gender-based violence consequences for a long time, but education can be one of the ways of prevent it. This type of education is also needed in formal education because children should be taught to take care of themselves, recognize manipulations, and understand that jealousy does not mean love and that any form of violence is unacceptable.

The author of this piece is Sarah Beslija, a student at the Faculty of Political Sciences, of Sarajevo University. This material was created as part of the Free Voices 2023 mentoring program implemented by the Sarajevo Media Center. Free Voices is an educational program on digital and media production and responsible reporting on gender-based violence.

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