Coordinator of the Centre for Civic Education Youth Group of Centre for Civic Education (CCE YG) Miloš Knežević was the guest of Student parliament of High School “25 May” in Tuzi where he held a workshop for students and teachers of this school on the role of student parliaments and volunteer clubs in the prevention of peer violence. The workshop was dedicated to the improvement the knowledge of students on concept of this form of violence, how does it occur, how does it manifest, what are the consequences, how to recognise it and take an active stand in the fight against such form of violence through peer education, acting through student parliaments and volunteer clubs, mechanisms of protection and reporting of specific cases to teachers and school services.
Unfortunately, violence in school is the integral part of one’s education. Key factor in the prevention of violence lies in the awareness of students on such occurrence and their direct involvement in preventive activities on the level of school, but also outside of it, both in real-time and virtual environment. Peers are the key agent of socialisation of children, hence, their role is vital for the prevention of violence since they shape the environment which tolerates violence. Nowadays, the school faces a difficult challenge in overcoming the negative influence of media and widespread manner of peer violence in broader social context while educating young people.
During the workshop, special attention was dedicated to research of modalities related to confrontation of potential implied by a multinational and multi-confession environment when it comes to peer violence. Precisely the role of school, in terms of the fostering the tenets of tolerance and culture of acceptance and understanding of diversity, is paramount in the prevention of peer violence in mixed communities.
One segment of workshop was dedicated to “cyber bullying”, its negative effects and widespread of this occurrence which endangers more and more young people due to the misuse of ever-available social networks, internet and cell phones. Participants agreed that more often modern technology is related to the increase of peer violence amongst young people, while its causes are being neglected, such as the lack of adequate content which could fill the free time of young people, negligence of young people by their parents and school, but also by social environment which tolerates violence as a form of communication and relationship between people.
School could play the crucial role in the education of young people about the culture of non-violence, primarily by providing the possibility for an active participation of young people in curricula, school ambient, decision-making process and creation of adequate content for leisure, support and motivation of students to involve in the activities of student bodies. Activism and volunteerism enrich free time, provide a sense of accomplishment and fulfilment among young people, thus reducing the level of frustration and readiness for conflicts and violence.
The effects of existing programmes on peer violence in formal education system are still unsatisfying. Hence, it is necessary to have a more active engagement from every factor of education system, the improvement of cooperation with parents and higher level of school’s involvement in social activities of school. Teachers and professional services require constant training on peer violence, especially through the raising of awareness on challenges which certain groups of children face, such as young people of different sexual orientation, persons with disabilities, as well as everybody else who, due to some personal characteristic, can be a victim of discrimination. Empowering student parliaments and volunteer clubs must be the top priority, and peer education on the prevention of violence should serve as a mean to terminate peer violence once and for all.
Workshop gathered 30 pupils and their professors, and it is the second event of that kind, organised on the initiative of Damir Suljević, representative of Student parliament of High School “25 May”, and former participant of Human Rights School organised by the CCE, with the support of administration of High School from Tuzi.
CCE deals with problems of peer violence through its education programmes with the aim to encourage young people to contemplate on this matter and take an active stand in the protection of their rights, as well as the rights of those who are not able to do so themselves.
Petar Đukanović, Programme coordinator