The establishment of a safe school environment is the main priority of the Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia. That is why, a special conference was dedicated to this topic. The conference was opened by the Minister of Education and Science – Mikheil Chkhenkeli. The Minister talked about the projects that are necessary to ensure the safe and positive environments in schools, so that students can fully identify their potential, become active citizens and participate in the development of the country.
The new interactive web portal "Be a Friend" was presented during the conference, which will help the students, parents, teachers, and the community to get answers about the issues they are interested in. Moreover, a detailed plan of activities, designed by the Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia was also presented during the conference. During the meeting, it was once again emphasized, that all the decisions made by the school and its administration, will solely be tailored to the students’ interests.
As for the novelties, the cycle of meetings with the students – “Listen to the students” has been launched, where adolescents are talking about their problems related to school life and ways to solve them with the minister, other representatives of the ministry and psychologists. Similar meetings are held with parents and teachers as well. It is noteworthy that the participation of the community – parents, has been significantly increased. Specific recommendations have been developed in order to raise the awareness of violence and bullying and help prevent their formation for the parents and teachers.
Particular role is given to specialists, primarily psychologists to intervene in the early stages of conflict prevention, as well as during the conflicts. Therefore, the psychological services will be available to all students. The psychological center will try to manage the conflict and prevent its aggravation.
One of the new initiatives, which is being implemented now is the "crisis intervention group" project. The project envisages the examination of the critical situations by the psychologists and social workers, in conjunction with providing appropriate consultations to the school and to all necessary parties.
The draft amendments to the Law of Georgia on "General Education" was prepared by the Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia for the purpose of creating safe and secure environment in schools.
The goal of the project is to strengthen the Resource Offices and promote co-ordinated cooperation with law enforcement bodies, protecting each child in the school area as well as outside its boarders.
According to the amendments to the law:
- Special rules for security and public order protection be developed at schools
- The recruitment of the Resource Officer will be altered. The appointment and dismissal of the Officer will be decided by the Resource Office.
- The video surveillance system will be strengthened both within the school perimeter and outside.
- Requirements will be changed regarding qualification and the age of resource officers. Higher education will be compulsory
- Resource officer’s preparatory course will be extended and strengthened. Along with the addition of the theoretical knowledge, the components of physical training and practice will be added to the course.
- Collaborative schemes will be clear between resource officers, school administrators, and the police.
- The new security mechanism "separation" will be introduced in the law for the purpose of de-escalating conflict situations. The resource officer now has the power to separate the student from the situation prior to the family member’s arrival. During this period, the students will be involved in various school activities, supervised by the school representative.
Finally, the most effective leverage to reduce the violence in schools is the physical development of adolescents and the establishment of a healthy lifestyle. Therefore, strengthening of physical education, promotion of sports and creative activities of youth and perfection of relevant infrastructure is one of the main priorities of the Ministry of Education and Science. For this exact purpose, the budget was doubled in order to support sporting events.
The Ministry will conduct a school sports Olympiad at the national level. All interested individuals are welcome to participate in the event.