Teachers urged to prioritize child protection

December 3, 2023 7:32 am

In the midst of a concerning increase in child neglect and abuse cases, teachers have been reminded of their role in protecting children.

During the marking of the 16 Days of Activism in Suva yesterday, Assistant Minister for Women, Children and Social Protection Sashi Kiran emphasized the importance of teacher-child interaction in understanding children’s behavior.

Kiran pointed out that while such situations often lead to a decline in students’ overall performance, teachers should focus on providing support rather than being overly strict with students.

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She notes that last year, there were close to 2000 recorded cases of child neglect, and this year has seen a shocking report of 119 victims of child rape.

“When our children come to school, it’s the teachers who are able to look at their faces and be able to say, there’s something not right here, and refer them to counseling or support them emotionally to be and I know teachers are overloaded. They have a lot of work, but they are so important to us in child protection.”

Kiran highlighted the significance of teachers forming networks to navigate challenging phases.

“I also ask the teacher’s networks to think about how they can support each other within the teacher community, because they also go through emotional and mental violence and when we are seeing the promotions and when we’re talking to teachers so there may be more teachers, but there are more men as heads of schools.”

Teachers are being strongly encouraged to actively contribute to the fight against violence, drugs, and pornography affecting children.