ENP invited to a Council of Europe round-table conference about violence in education.
21-22 March, 2019, Venice
The round-table conference on violence in the education sector was organized by the SOGIESC (Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression and Sexual Characteristics) Unit of the CoE.
Olena Hloba from Ukraine and Louisa Grech from Malta were invited to bring their practices from their NGOs’ perspective to public authorities coming from 5 different countries, namely Italy, United Kingdom, Finland, Czech Republic and Lithuania.
After presenting ENP and sharing their practices, they were able to participate in a more pro-active part of the event in which future initiatives for cooperation amongst countries and Public/Civil Society entities were discussed.
Olena Globa, ENP – Ukraine, said, in her presentation, that her country is very homophobic and there is no legislation in favour of LGBTI+. Schools are told to ignore any complaints about homophonic bullying while families do not really accept their LGBTI+ children and tend to send them away from home. During professional training for teachers, it has become evident that there is an urgent and necessary need to conduct training in dealing with diversity issues. The international experience and positive peer pressure are important especially when meeting people who have gone through similar experiences.
Louisa Grech, ENP – Malta, spoke about the laws in Malta with regards to LGBTI+. She also spoke about the relationship with the Church. In Education, there are specific documents targeting bullying and LGBTI+ issues. ·Schools have personal and social development sessions with all school children from the age of 6, tackling issues like diversity and inclusion.· She pointed out that schools still face many challenges but there is evidence of much goodwill and commitment on the part of teachers. ·She presented some of the working tools that are being used in schools.
This was a brain-storming session to understand how the CoE could help other countries with resources and support to raise awareness and to deal with issues related to LGBTI+ in schools. This project is intended to continue to expand and gain momentum over the coming years.