69 percent of children in schools experience violence and bullying!

Tirana, February 26, 2019 - Coalition for Education in Albania (ACE) in cooperation with the National Child Help Line ALO 116, under the motto "Safe to Learn", organized an open forum focused on protecting children and adolescents from violence and bullying in pre-university education in Albania. The protection of children in school, their concerns and their solution were the main issues where the forum was addressed with representatives of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, IZHA, State Agency for Protection of Children, Psychologist Order etc.

Violence in schools in all its forms is a violation of children's rights. None country can achieve a comprehensive and equitable quality education for all if students experience violence and bullying at school. The forum presented the final report of ACE and ALO 116 "Protecting Children from Violence and Bullying in Public Pre-University Education in Albania."

The report shows that psychological violence is confirmed by 69% of children involved in the study, compared to 59% of physical violence and 11% of sexual violence. The Council of Europe study shows that 19.4% of students are involved in the bullying phenomenon 2-3 times a month or more. About 73% of the victim students prefer to report bullying when it occurs. 86.6% of teachers consider it necessary to have a policy against violence and bullying in schools as essential for a better environment for all students. While the COMBI program shows that 41% or (1 in 3 pupils) reported experiencing the form of psychological violence as a form of violence at different frequencies, and 1 in 5 pupils reported being threatened by the teacher.

As for the psychologist role in schools, it turned out that 20% of the students stated that they have no information on the role of the psychologist and the function he has. In 20% of the visited schools, the students did not know about the psychologist at all. 40% of psychologists met are not clear about describing their work. In 55% of cases, school psychologists do not know the procedures and steps of case management. In 70% of the visited schools it is evidenced the fact that there is no adequate logistics to provide proper service even in some cases as a psychologist office was used the teacher room.

The progress of the EU integration Report in 2018 showed that Albania, despite improvements made in drafting the law on child protection: "In the coming year, it is necessary to improve the institutional mechanisms for child protection, protection of victims of domestic violence and guarantee gender equality ".

Faced with this situation and the figures of the report, ACE requires the building of an exchange platform and cooperation between the Government and CSOs, teachers and child protection professionals to promote the design of child protection policies in the pre-university education system in Albania. Also, the preparation of a National Action Plan against violence and bullying at schools. Recognizing the strengths and weaknesses of the system of protection, reporting and referral of violence in schools and the education system, ACE and ALO proposed effective and sustainable interventions to protect the welfare and rights of children in the pre- university education system.