11.06.2019 - UNESCO Office in New Delhi

UNESCO committed to making schools safe places for learning

Chennai, 11 June 2019: UNESCO New Delhi launched its new publication titled  “Be A Buddy, Not A Bully: Experiences of sexual and gender minority youth in Tamil Nadu schools”,  jointly with the Department of School Education, Government of Tamil Nadu at the Anna Centenary Library in Chennai.

The Minister for School Education, Shri K. A. Sengottaiyan said, “Education is a fundamental right of an individual and a top priority for my department. I am pleased with the pioneering research done by UNESCO New Delhi and committed to promotion of safe and supportive learning environments for every student, so that they may achieve great success.”

Mr Pradeep Yadav, I.A.S Principal Secretary to the Government of Tamil Nadu said “Safe and inclusive schools are a necessary first-step for the academic and personal welfare of students. In the spirit of ensuring ‘quality education for all’, the Government of Tamil Nadu looks forward to work with UNESCO and incorporate recommendations into department’s policies and programmes. We will develop a framework and guidelines, in line with the recently released draft National Education Policy, to ensure school safety and security, and protect the rights to education of children and adolescents."

Mr Eric Falt, Director and UNESCO Representative to Bhutan, India, Maldives and Sri Lanka, talked about UNESCO’s commitment to the cause of equitable and inclusive education for all as part of SDG 4. He said, “this report serves as a very important advocacy tool to bring tangible change, beginning with a change in the mindsets of students, teacher, and administrators”. He also appreciated the draft National Education Policy and its focus on preventing and responding to school-related gender-based violence." Mr. Falt outlined key recommendations presented by the report and concluded by thanking partners for their collaboration.

Mr Mame Omar Diop, UNESCO New Delhi Programme Specialist in Education, said “With the kind collaboration and support of the Govt. of Tamil Nadu, Sahodaran, and all other partners, we have been able to conduct this path breaking research, the first of its kind in India and presented recommendations to ensure safe and supportive school environments for all students. We look forward to working with State Education Department, Govt. of Tamil Nadu and other partners towards realizing these goals.”

A partnership document was signed between the Department of School Education, Government of Tamil Nadu and UNESCO New Delhi Office for advancing the health and wellbeing of adolescent’s agenda in Upper Primary, Secondary and Senior Secondary schools in Tamil Nadu. 

The report presents recommendations such as:

  • Develop appropriate educational curriculum and delivery mechanisms on sexual health and gender diversity for students as well as pre-service and in-service teacher training
  • Establish a strong anti-bullying policy and efficient redressal mechanisms
  • Provide gender sensitization training for teachers and school management

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