On March 30, 2015 Minister of Education and Science prof. Todor Tanev has initiated and participated in a press conference on the topic “Violence in school.”
“We’ll talk about violence and the situation at the moment and why we need to pay greater attention to this topic than in the past,” said Minister Tanev at the beginning of the press conference. He pointed out that the Ministry of Education and Science had discussed possible solutions to ensure the support of teachers to counter the exercise of violence on/against them.
According to a survey of the Syndicate of Bulgarian teachers in the last year 45% of the teachers were subject to attacks, including verbal, which is quite a large number. But even if it is less than that figure, Minister Tanev believes that the problem exists and this requires rapid action in this direction. He highlighted the activities carried out at the moment to achieve the goal: the proposal of Confederation of Labour “Podkrepa” to change the Implementing Regulations of the Public Education Act (PEA) is being discussed. According to it in case of violence against workers and teachers in kindergartens and schools, director of the school must notify the relevant authorities. Therefore MES is in constant communication with the Department of Justice. Another initiative in this direction is the preparation of a package of measures such as regulations of the existing strategic documents from 2013. One of the actions that have been undertaken so far, was the increase of the number of psychologists in school.
The Ministry reported that currently there are 430 psychologists and 755 educational counsellors. Minister Tanev shared that this number should be significantly increased. He already has an appointment with Rumyana Bachvarova, Minister of internal affairs to update the agreement between the two ministries – a topic discussed and confirmed in December 2014.
A national program for protection from domestic violence is to be prepared as well as realization of the project “Improving child protection and the prevention of juvenile delinquency” of DG “Criminal Police” of the Ministry of internal affairs, part of the Bulgarian-Swiss Cooperation Programme. A training was conducted with the help of Southwestern University in Blagoevgrad has conducted by school psychologists as part of the project “Coordinated response to abuse and neglect of children through minimal database” or what psychologists should do, when the data submitted by law enforcement are inadequate. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Education and Science has appointed thematic inspections on the implementation of mechanisms to limit school violence in three areas of the country – Sofia, Razgrad and Targovishte. A training of school psychologists on the same mechanism has been planned.
Over 11,000 teachers have been trained on the methodology for working in risky situations and prevention of aggression as part of the project “Qualification of pedagogical specialists”, implemented by the Ministry in the frame of OP “Human Resources Development”. In process of preparation is a regulation aimed to limit the access to drugs.
Minister Tanev showed how violence looks in figures indicating actual data collected by the regional education inspectorates on the cases of violence in Bulgarian schools since the beginning of the school year: Physical aggression among students – 1662 cases; verbal aggression – 1603 cases, unaddressed aggression (vandalism) – 256 cases; psychological harassment – 497 cases; virtual harassment – 51 cases. In total aggression among students reached 4117 cases. Besides these there are also cases of aggression from students and parents against teachers – 310 cases and aggression from teachers or parents against children – 92 cases.
“This data was reported by Regional Inspectorate of Eduaction (RIE), but there is other that we do not know about,” said Minister Tanev. “That is why we have to work actively in this direction and to make scientific-practical conference on the topic to discuss solutions and adopt new adequate measures to reverse this negative trend. “In this regard we will organize discussions, which will be attended by teachers, principals and representatives from RIE, psychologists and educators who will summarize the experience and share best practices. He expressed confidence that the working group, which includes Minister Bachvarova and advisers from other non-European countries in the next few days will make a full analysis of the data and produce a picture of the causes that led to these cases of aggression, and by the end of the month will prepare a strategic document – a package of measures to overcome the negative trend.
Translator: Dimitrina Parashkevova, volounteer
Source and photo: mon.bg