Education: Integrating child protection

Education-1

During times of crisis and emergency, education can help restore a sense of normality, dignity and hope by offering the chance to participate in structured activities in a safe environment.

Standard: Child protection concerns are reflected in the assessment, design, monitoring and evaluation of education programmes. Boys and girls of all ages can access safe, high-quality, child-friendly, flexible, relevant and protective learning opportunities in a protective environment. (CPMS, 2012)

Download a printable risk assessment summarising the guidelines below

Integrate

  • Share child protection messages as part of education programmes, for example around prevention of separation and trafficking, or mine-risk education
  • Establish shared referral mechanisms with child protection actors
  • Work with child protection actors to facilitate child-friendly spaces and early childhood education interventions
  • Work with child protection actors to consider how education programmes can reduce tensions and increase community cohesion

Keep children safe and avoid causing harm

Understand the context

  • Which child protection issues are affecting children in the community?
  • Which groups of children are not accessing formal education and what are the barriers to access?

Reduce risks of harm within projects

  • Ensure that the learning environment is physically safe, with:
    • first aid kits on site and teachers trained in first aid
    • well-known emergency evacuation procedures
    • equipment and facilities in good condition
    • separate toilets for boys, girls and staff
  • Ensure that there is adequate space for children to play and exercise
  • Promote non-violent classroom management skills and positive discipline
  • Ensure that informal education does not discourage access to formal education opportunities
  • Support teachers through providing training and psychosocial support if needed, and by limiting class sizes
  • Ensure that education staff have signed up to and been trained in a code of conduct or other policy which covers child safeguarding

Reduce risk of exacerbating existing protection risks 

  • Locate education projects close to where children live and ensure there are safe routes to and from school
  • Consider extending education services to the local community where inequitable access to education is causing tension or conflict

Ensure children’s access to assistance 

Make sure the most at-risk children are accessing services

  • Make special efforts to target and involve the most marginalised learners, such as:
    • young mothers
    • pregnant girls
    • children with disabilities
    • children who have been associated with armed groups
    • children who are working
    • child-headed households
  • Teachers should be trained in strategies for including and facilitating learning for children with disabilities, and the building should be adapted to be physically accessible
  • If possible, offer psychosocial support to children in school

Adapt programming to remove barriers to access

  • There should be flexibility to include children whose identity documents or certificates are missing or where families have financial difficulties
  • Include children who struggle to access education through flexible approaches such as:
    • Catch-up classes or accelerated learning for children who have missed a period of schooling
    • Adjusting schedules or providing self-study options to accommodate children who are working or have caring responsibilities
  • Proactively encourage equal registration of boys and girls
  • Ensure that as far as possible staff represent the cultural, linguistic, ethnic and religious diversity of the community, as well as a balance of male and female staff
  • Ensure that the content of the curriculum does not discriminate against any group

Include feedback and participation

  • Engage children (both boys and girls) in student associations and parents (both men and women) in parent-teacher associations
  • The code of conduct and child protection policy should be available to students and parents
  • Involve the community in establishing systems and policies to ensure that learners are safe, and talk to children about the barriers they face accessing education
  • Set up accessible, well understood mechanisms for suggestions and complaints

Respond effectively and appropriately to incidents of abuse

  • All staff should be trained in recognising and responding to different forms of abuse
  • Ensure that there is an accessible and effective reporting procedure for responding to incidents of abuse, including a named child protection officer

Strengthen systems and help children to claim their rights

  • Report protection concerns such as cases of separated and unaccompanied children to the appropriate agency or government department
  • Use education activities to share practical knowledge, awareness and life skills that can help children care for and protect themselves and their peers

Monitor and evaluate

Include the safety of the affected population as a sub-objective of each education intervention

Sample objectives and indicators:

  • % of educators who have been trained in child protection and have signed a code of conduct
  • % of children who say that they feel safe at school
  • % of children and parents who are able to name a reporting procedure for concerns

Key references, standards and guidelines

These guidelines are based on:

And additional guidelines and resources listed here


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