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Countering Social Exclusion in Schools: New Evidence and Advice

Wednesday, 24 May 14.20 – 15.10

side Event along with CCPCJ May 2017 (Commission of Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice)

Vienna International Centre Conference Room M3

Organizers: Academic Council on the United Nations System (ACUNS)

Women’s Federation for World Peace International (WFWPI)

The meeting, which drew an audience of approximately one hundred people, was opened by

Dr.  Slawomir Redo, Senior Adviser, Academic Council of the UN System, (Vienna, Austria) Dr. hab. (Law/Criminology);

Mrs Renate Amesbauer followed with a moving tribute to the life and work of the late Ms. Elizabeth Jane Riedl, who worked selflessly to promote peace in Britain, US, Africa, Germany and Austria. She was particularly active with WFWPI from the year 2000 when she moved to Salzburg from Germany.

Dr Michael Platzer, Liaison Officer of Academic Council on the United Nations System to the Vienna based int. organizations rand Co-chair of the Alliance of NGOs for Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, walked us through the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN, particularly focusing on Goals 4 and 16 which deal with education, crime prevention and social justice.

His brief presentation was followed by a talk by Mr. Martin Kienl, Deputy Head of the Department of ‘Integration Coordination’ at the Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs, who has been active in the field of integration since 2011. He stated that while integration is one of three pillars, besides the acquisition of the local language and education, it does not happen automatically. A framework must be defined particularly now as it has become a pressing issue since the recent influx of refugees and migrants. He gave an overview of the government’s strategy to support successful co-existence. This includes mandatory language courses before entering regular schools – followed by classroom learning and early linguistic development in kindergartens. Teachers receive support from psychologists and counsellors. In addition, the programme ‘Together Austria’, which has 300 ambassadors who visit schools to talk to migrants and refugees, has spoken to 45,000 to date. He concluded that the greater the integration, the greater involvement in the labour market and the lower the crime rate. The quality of the measures taken depends on the quantity. Integration pace is a marathon – not a sprint. Migrants are also taught to respect European and Austrian values.

This was followed by unique presentation by Ms Zita Kiedler, a teacher of English and music in the European Middle School. The school has pupils from diverse backgrounds and focuses on integration and the promotion of cultural education through various activities. Ms Kiedler stated that much needs to be done to overcome the prejudice local pupils receive from the home. Furthermore, many migrants cannot express themselves well in German, which can lead to misunderstanding and confrontation sometimes. She conducted a questionnaire in the school where both local and immigrant pupils were asked how they view those who come from another culture or nation. The pupils read a summary of the responses, which was particularly insightful.

This was followed by a presentation by Dr Katharzina Kubacka, a Research Officer at the Global Education Monitoring Report, which is published by UNESCO. She explained that education is a powerful tool for justice, inclusion and peace, but it is complex and there are many inequalities based on ethnicity, social class and religion. In conflict zones 36% of children are out of school. Furthermore, a high percentage of refugee children do not attend school, the majority of whom are in the developing world. Other barriers to inclusion include bullying, which leads to depression and in some cases suicide. Bullied pupils, in general, are weaker at maths. Language is a further tangible barrier. Pupils need at least 6 years basic education in the mother tongue. She also stated that textbooks frequently tend to be biased – eg they show Islam and Arab areas as conflict zones. Teachers need training to practise inclusion and to teach the practice of peace.

The following speaker was Giovanna Campello, Officer-in-Charge of the Prevention, Treatment and Rehabilitation Section in the UNODC.- She claimed that the traditional drug prevention programs do not work and that it is better to invest in healthy and safe development, beginning with babies. This should be followed by early childhood education in kindergartens to support families, particularly those marginalised. The promotion of good mental health leads to good long-term completers.

Certain games and stories, such as the dinosaur story or good behaviour game during maths lesson, support the development of personal and social skills, for example, anger control. Usually, disruptive children are vulnerable, but hey should not be stigmatized as they benefit most from the programme. Violence prevention in school is gaining greater success.

The last speaker Dr. Candice Welsch, Chief, implementation Support Section Corruption and Economic Crime Branch, UNODC, presented the program: “ Education for Justice as a tool to preventing crime and shaping the values of future generations” by Promoting a culture of lawfulness and the rule of law through education.

Through UNCAC, article 13 States parties are strongly encouraged to implement public education programmes at all levels of schools, but also universities.

States receive assistance in this regard through two initiatives of UNODC: ACAD and E4J.

The Doha Declaration, adopted by the 13th UN Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, April 2015, underlines the fundamental importance of education.

E4J (Education for justice)promotes education programmes in all UNODC mandate areas and at all education levels, through developing materials such as class modules, teachers’ guides and innovative teaching tools.

A  Q+A session followed, and showed the interest of the audience!

The pupils of EMS had the chance to see a few interesting sights within UN building before they left , having gained some impression about UN.

 Report written by Mary Hinterleitner

Anex concerning the participation of pupils from EMS:

  1. Amesbauer visited the school some days later and also met the Director Ms. Reindl:

They are very grateful that through this event some of their pupils could have an experience at the UN; Dir. Reindl said how impressed she was to see her teachers and pupils to dress up really elegant for this event! She is proud of Ms. Kiedler who worked hard to make all the preparations within such a short time! All teachers supported very much as the children were drawn from various classes.

She expressed her readiness to support any similar excursion of her pupils in the future again!

Renate Amesbauer

Artikel auch in Deutsch: „Das Problem der sozialen Ausgrenzung an den Schulen: Status und Lösungsansätze“

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