Today, on March 7, 2017, as every year, the teacher’s day is celebrated, the day devote to the educating personnel of schools and personalities. While part of this personnel enjoys integrity and works with dedication, professionalism and does quality work, the Albanian Helsinki Committee (AHC) notes with regret that the pre-university education system still includes teachers who do not share these characteristics, who use physical and psychological violence toward children during the teaching process. Violence in the pre-university education system represents a disturbing and very tangible problem, which infringes upon the personal wellbeing of children and the Albanian society as a whole.
We are spurred in this public reaction by the latest case made public on the investigative show “Fiks Fare” on March 6, 2017, but also by cases presented in some investigative shows such as “STOP” and “BOOM”, which clearly highlight that during the teaching process, there are teachers who use violence on children in the pre-university school system, mainly the elementary one.
This situation is an indicator of the fact that measures to date have not been effective in preventing and striking this phenomenon. Cases made public highlight that even after frequent complaints by parents, some school principals or officials in higher education structures, do not take immediate measures necessary for the prevention of violence against children in any form it may present itself.
The activity of pre-university education system institutions is guided by the principle of the highest interest of the student, which is primary in this process. As is known, it seeks to educate generations with the values and principles of a democratic state, which respects, protects and promotes human rights and freedoms in general and the rights of children in particular. The law “On the pre-university education system in the Republic of Albania” envisages that “Students and employees in the pre-university education system are provided protection against any form of action or inaction that may cause discrimination, violence, maltreatment or moral harm” … “The education institution has the duty to create an environment that is friendly for students and of opportunities that every student may demonstrate and develop individuality and realize his/her potential in accordance with this law.”
Also, article 124/b of the Criminal Code sanctions as a criminal offense “Physical or psychological maltreatment of the minor by parents, the sister, brother, grandfather, grandmother, legal custodian or any person obliged to care for him” that is punishable by imprisonment of three months up to two years.” In the spirit of special protection of criminal legislation for special groups, children among them, AHC underscores the fact that law enforcement bodies and those in the justice system should pay special attention to these cases.
AHC suggests to public institutions of the education system to reflect and react in a timely manner and to analyze carefully this situation, identifying all current and potential cases of potential use of violence against children by teachers in the education system. This situation also requires the undertaking of efficacious measures, according to legislation in force, to respond in a timely manner to and to tackle the case in question, even if it is an isolated one, or even potential cases in the future.