Queen Rania tackles issue of school violence, chairing the National Alliance Group meeting

November 17, 2009

(Office of Her Majesty, Press Department - Amman) More than half of Jordan’s children experience physical violence in school settings, according to a recent national survey conducted by the United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF. The newly formed National Alliance Group presided over by Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah, however, is determined to reverse these staggering figures and reduce the incidence of violence in schools by 90% over the next three years. In her capacity as Honorary President of the National Alliance Group, Her Majesty Queen Rania, on Monday, was joined by the Minister of Education, HE Waleed Maani, the Minister of Social Development, HE Hala Lattouf, and members of the Group to tackle the issue of violence in schools. In the first of a series of quarterly meetings held by the Group, members briefed Queen Rania on the objectives of the Ma’an Campaign, expected to be launched on Wednesday by UNICEF in collaboration with the Ministry of Education. Also at the meeting, members addressed the findings of a recently completed national study on violence conducted in 2007 by UNICEF. According to the study, more than two thirds of children in Jordan are subjected to verbal abuse by their parents and about 57% are subject to physical abuse by school teachers and administrators. Members also discussed the findings of an additional study conducted in 2009 by the Ministry of Education in collaboration with UNICEF, focusing specifically on the issue of violence in schools. This latest study indicates that the proportion of Grade 4-7 students, who experienced violence from their teachers over a period of one month, ranged from 14-45%, depending on the type of violence inflicted, the most common form being verbal abuse. Results also showed that more than 40% of students had been hit in school and a further 40% reported that they had been threatened to be hit by their teacher. In light of these findings, the National Alliance Group will seek to build positive disciplinary practices in schools and better coordinate efforts between partners working in the field of child protection and development. The Alliance will also galvanize decision makers, educators and Early Childhood Development practitioners to demand an end to school violence and champion change within school environments. Aiming to decrease violence in schools by 40% after the first year and 90% after the third, the National Alliance Group will leverage support from the Government, donor community, and the Private Sector. The Alliance will also review quarterly reports on the level of violence in schools and measure progress against targets set by the Ma’an campaign. The campaign will bolster the fight against school violence in all public and UNRWA schools in Jordan by adopting a three track strategy: school-based activities prompting teachers to take up new methods for instilling positive discipline in classrooms; community based meetings advocating zero tolerance of violence in schools; and media-based coverage raising awareness on the results achieved by the campaign. In an effort to expedite results, the National Alliance Group also intends to establish a set of criteria against which schools can measure their progress towards eliminating all forms of violence against children.