UNESCO and G7 countries raise the alarm about bullying and join forces against violence in education

During their ministerial meeting in Sèvres (France), under the French presidency of the G7 and with the participation of the Director-General of UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay, education ministers of the G7 countries adopted a declaration to “unite against bullying in all of its forms, proclaim respect as a fundamental principle for all, and help ensure that our schools are safe and welcoming for all students.”

“Bullying is unacceptable and is getting even worse online. UNESCO is committed to combat this educational scourge, which costs lives, ruins childhoods, and jeopardizes the future. We have strong data and practical guidelines in place, we now must intensify efforts with all Member States, including G7 countries, to end this plague,” said the Director-General of UNESCO during the ministerial Meeting.

As the United Nations’ lead agency for education, UNESCO works to measure and assess the prevalence and many forms of bullying and its impact. UNESCO built a global indicator to compare situation among countries and is committed to helping strengthen legislations, train and support teachers in the fight against school violence and bullying.

UNESCO welcomes the G7 declaration and calls on all countries to intensify efforts against bullying and violence in schools. Bullying takes place in all countries and affects many children and young people. According to the recent UNESCO report,Behind the Numbers : ending school violence and bullying, almost one in three student worldwide (32%) has been bullied by their peers at school at least once in the last month. With the growing presence of online social networking platforms, cyber-bullying has extended the scope of bullying. Bullying, whether psychological, physical or sexual, including online, is a serious issue and a global threat to quality education and self-confidence.

According to UNESCO, a number of factors contribute to effective national responses, including political leadership, collaboration between the education sector and other sectors, evidence-based approach, and training for teachers. UNESCO joins the French proposal to organize an international conference in Paris in 2020 on this issue. UNESCO will also propose to its Member States the adoption of an international anti-bullying day.

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