The main goal of this project is to enhance the safety of the students in schools, to decrease the level of violent and antisocial behaviour of the youth through raising awareness for decreasing violence and involvement in building safety for all students, their parents and the school staff.
The Kumanovo Local Prevention Council agreed to design safety prevention guidelines, which would serve as a platform for each school in establishing Student Bodies - titled School Safety Teams - and promote the model to become an integral part of schools’ educational agendas.
A Working Group established for this project developed strategic guidelines during the summer break, which provided instructions and assistance to school directors in the design of school prevention plans and establishment of School Safety Teams. As the document was approved by the Kumanovo Municipal Council, it became mandatory for all 5 secondary school in Kumanovo to implement and incorporate it into their annual educational agenda.
First, School Safety Teams were established in all 5 schools (7 locations). The OSCE Mission to Skopje was committed to providing further support to preventing violence among youth in Kumanovo in the form of confidence/capacity building for those students who were to be involved in the established School Safety Teams. Therefore, the Police Development Department (PDD), in mutual co-operation with Education Reform Unit (ERU), designed a one day visit to the OSCE Mission to Skopje for these students, where besides being introduced to the work of the Mission, a half a day workshop was also facilitated for them, in order to help strengthen the position and capacities of the students. The visit to the OSCE HQ was also considered as a significant promotional opportunity to increase the visibility of the OSCE and its efforts in assisting the host country in dealing with the concerning phenomenon of violence in schools.
Second, two TV debate shows were broadcast on Kumanovo’s local TV Nova. Participants in the shows were members of the Working Group, including police representatives as well as students from different ethnicities and schools. They had a chance to express their opinions about the importance of the project.
Third, a LipDub video supported by the PDD was filmed at Kumanovo square by Kumanovo’s secondary school students, intended to bring schoolchildren together in a shared activity and thereby promote non-violent behaviour in schools. Approximately 300 students from all secondary school and several representatives of various institutions gathered for the event, which was considered a great success. This activity was perceived positively by the entire community and by the municipality in particular, which supported the activity by supplying a large banner with the slogan of the project (“Together for a Safer Future”), developed jointly by the School Safety Teams at the occasion of their visit to the OSCE HQ on 4 November.
The OSCE Mission's PDD in close cooperation with the ERU also organised and delivered a training on the ‘Practical application of the Law on Donations and Sponsorships’ on 9 December at the Kumanovo municipal building. The training participants were representatives of the Safe School Working Group accompanied by one student from the School Safety Teams. The main aim of the workshop was to introduce the participants of the Safe School project with possibilities for self-sustainable solutions and funding of their projects in the future.
On 13 December, the PDD Police Adviser collocated to Kumanovo, together with the Chief of the ERU, attended a meeting at the Ministry of Education and Science (MoES) with the Advisor to the Minister, Mr. George Nikolov, in order to discuss the upcoming National Strategy on Prevention of School Violence. For that purpose all the Kumanovo School Violence project documents were compiled and handed over to the Ministry. The implementation phases of the Kumanovo project were presented in detail and possible areas of the OSCE’s contribution to the Strategy were discussed. The Adviser explained that the Strategy was being drafted mainly with support of UNICEF, however, he believed that the Kumanovo experience might be a good practical example through which to extract field experience to be incorporate this into the Strategy. In this regard he agreed that LPCs were considered to be an important body that could enforce and support the implementation of the Strategy and therefore he suggested considering including them. The Adviser also explained that the Strategy was currently still in its drafting stage and it was not believed to be released before March 2012. At the next meeting of the Working Group, it will be suggested that the OSCE should be included as a partner in advising/designing and further assisting the implementation of the strategy. Following a request by the PDD’s Police Adviser, a draft version of the Strategy was shared by the Ministry for review and possible comments.
The PDD is continuing with this project and hoping to expand it nationwide in 2012.