Gender equality for a safe school environment

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Lia Micheladze, a 24-year-old resource officer. Photo: Office of Resource Officers of Educational Institutions
Lia Micheladze, a 24-year-old resource officer. Photo: Office of Resource Officers of Educational Institutions
Lia Micheladze, a 24-year-old resource officer. Photo: Office of Resource Officers of Educational Institutions

“Every day, I carefully observe each student, their actions and their habits. It is very important not to miss any injuries or behaviours that may indicate domestic violence,” says Lia Micheladze, a 24-year-old resource officer who is in charge of safety at one of the public schools in Tbilisi.

Lia is one of the resource officers who attended a Training of Trainers course supported by UN Women last year and completed the special module “Gender Mainstreaming in Education: Gender-Based Violence and Domestic Violence”. Now she carries out her activities more effectively and shares her knowledge with other colleagues.

“By altering the existing prejudices, we resource officers can play an important role in detecting and responding to domestic violence,” Lia notes. “This training is tailored to our profession. At the same time, it provides detailed and exhaustive information on gender equality and domestic violence. It helps us recognize the first signs of violence or stereotypes, as well as promote gender equality in the school environment.”

The training module for school resource officers is part of a memorandum signed on 4 April 2022 between UN Women and the Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia. According to the module, Lia and the 14 resource officers who were trained alongside her are now in charge of conducting their colleagues’ training themselves. In total, 150 resource officers have attended the training so far, and the process will continue into the future.

Zurab Kvinikadze, a 33-year-old resource officer. Photo: Office of Resource Officers of Educational Institutions
Zurab Kvinikadze, a 33-year-old resource officer. Photo: Office of Resource Officers of Educational Institutions
Zurab Kvinikadze, a 33-year-old resource officer. Photo: Office of Resource Officers of Educational Institutions

Zurab Kvinikadze, a 33-year-old resource officer, is a trainer too and is assigned to one of the public schools in Gori. He says that since completing the module, he can now observe the details that would most likely have gone unnoticed by him before.

“Unfortunately, sometimes students and maybe even teachers are stereotyped, and therefore they misjudge the situation,” Zurab explains. “For example, they say that ‘girls will not be able to do it’ or ‘it is always the boys who do wrong things at school’. Now that I have a deeper insight into gender equality issues, I can assess their attitudes better, understand the situation and provide appropriate support.” Broadly assessing the role of resource officers, he adds: “We can inform not only students but also teachers and parents. This will help them change their misconceptions, and eventually this will greatly contribute to the creation of a safe and healthy environment for children.”

It should be noted that the “Gender Mainstreaming in Education” training module is also intended for school principals and teachers. Along with resource officers, teachers were also trained to conduct trainings for their colleagues. In addition, the memorandum envisages the creation of a gender mainstreaming platform for resource centres and general education institutions res, which will support them in fulfilling their obligations effectively with regard to child protection referrals.

The cooperation between UN Women and the Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia is part of the EU-supported project “Ending Violence against Women and Girls in Georgia”, implemented by UN Women and UNFPA.