Educational institutions: rules and guidelines
To assess progress towards safe and enabling environments established in schools and other educational institutions.
It is important that schools and other educational institutions should be safe and secure places that aim to reduce all forms of stigma and discrimination, including HIV-related discrimination, and ensure that there is zero tolerance towards any form of sexual abuse or harassment. Gender influences the vulnerability of women, girls, men and boys to HIV and its effects. Sexual abuse has a direct impact on HIV vulnerability. Stigma and discrimination is one of the biggest barriers to effective HIV prevention and support programming.
This indicator provides a measure of the development, adoption and dissemination of legal frameworks (rules) and guidelines by schools and other educational institutions to reduce sexual harassment, stigma and discrimination, especially towards those students who live with HIV and those at higher risk of exposure to HIV. It is important for the ministry of education and other stakeholders to monitor whether schools and other educational institutions are safe and enabling environments by tracking how many of them have rules and guidelines, in the form of a code of conduct or policy in some cases, covering the critical areas of safety, stigma and discrimination, and sexual abuse and harassment.
All educational institutions should report on this indicator, from schools through to colleges, universities and other higher/tertiary learning institutions. However, in countries where EMIS collects data only from primary and secondary schools, educational institutions in tertiary education will not be requested to report unless a specific survey is conducted in those institutions.
While it would be ideal to measure the number of cases in breach of the rules and guidelines, hence the number of cases of discrimination and sexual abuse/harassment, it is acknowledged that this would create a number of challenges and the reliability of the figures reported would be questionable. Therefore, it is considered more appropriate to focus on the adoption and communication of a statutory framework, as educational institutions need a point of reference should they encounter cases of this nature. They need to have guidance on what steps should be taken when cases are reported and also a clear document that outlines which behaviours will not be accepted at schools and other educational institutions.
Principals/heads of educational institutions (to include both private and public schools, and colleges and universities where EMIS collects the data for tertiary education) are briefed on what constitutes rules and guidelines and what it means to adopt and communicate the rules and guidelines.
Rules and guidelines as standards for processes and activities give the legal framework for school staff and students to reduce sexual harassment, stigma and discrimination, especially towards those who live with HIV. They can be:
a) developed by the school but not recognized by the ministry of education; b) developed by the school and recognized by the ministry of education; c) developed by an external source (other than the school) and adopted by the school but not recognized by the ministry of education; d) developed by an external source, adopted by the school and recognized by the ministry of education; e) received from or adapted from the ministry of education.
They should cover the following areas:
Table 5.3: What should be covered
Definitions and regulations regarding
Physical safety in school
Stigma and discrimination towards staff and students living with HIV or affected by HIV
Stigma and discrimination towards staff and students based on sex, race or ethnicity, religion or any other grounds
Sexual harassment and abuse
Enforcement of rules and guidelines
Grievance/disciplinary procedures in case of breach of the regulation described in the rules and guidelines
Education systems or institutions should have in place, or should adopt, rules and guidelines that set the terms for the relationship between administrators, teachers and other staff and students. This should include what is considered to be inappropriate behaviour, and define the parameters of a safe and healthy learning/working environment, free of discrimination, stigma, sexual and other forms of bullying and harassment, moral or physical, and all forms of violence,18 whether verbal or physical.
Rules and guidelines should be developed and adopted by means of social dialogue,19 engaging the representatives of staff employed in the system or institution in accordance with national law and practice and education service provisions. They should be communicated to all staff and students by the most appropriate means and a copy should be kept on display in the institution for reading and reproduction.
Rules and guidelines should be applied by means of administrative regulation or collective bargaining provisions as appropriate. Application may involve the appointment and training of a coordinator or committee to help promote and monitor the application of rules and guidelines. Application and revision should also involve representatives of students and parents.
Violations of agreed rules and guidelines should be subject to the relevant disciplinary procedures under national legislation, institutional regulations and negotiated/collective bargaining agreements, based on due process principles and rights of appeal.
In order for the rules and guidelines to be effective, they need to be adopted by the school/college, and ideally, they should also be recognised by the ministry of education. This adoption implies that the documents should meet national minimum standards, as well as following a formal process of adoption and recognition and clearly spelling out the consequences should parts of the rules and guidelines be breached. Ideally, these consequences should be endorsed by the ministry of education and necessary processes should be in place to ensure that all those in breach of the rules and guidelines are suitably punished, reprimanded or penalized. Once adopted, in order to be effective, the rules and guidelines need to be communicated to all stakeholders. This implies that a specific communication strategy has been put in place to make the content of the rules and guidelines widely known and to ensure that all students and educational personnel have access to the rules and guidelines. This could include sharing the documents at individual and groups meetings or when students register with the institution, ensuring all new employees are provided with a copy during the induction or orientation training, making copies available on school/college bulletin boards, having workshops on the content of the rules and guidelines, etc.
Calculated as a percentage:
Number of educational institutions who (1) responded yes to the question about having the rules and guidelines, and (2) indicated that the rules and guidelines have been communicated to all categories of stakeholders (students, teaching staff, non-teaching staff, parents/guardians, school boards/school governing bodies/board of trustees) within the school.
Number of educational institutions surveyed.
EMIS Annual School/College/institution Census questionnaire
Collected annually through the EMIS school/college annual census.
The indicator should be presented as a separate percentage for:
■ Private/independent and public/state schools and other educational institutions
■ Level of education: pre-primary, primary, secondary and tertiary
■ Geographical location: urban, rural and peri-urban.
It is important that schools and other educational institutions are considered to be safe places and also offer an enabling environment for those who work there and those who attend the educational institution. All educational institutions are required to adopt rules and guidelines that protect all people who study and work there. The rules and guidelines should cover the critical areas of safety at school and other educational institutions: there should be zero tolerance of any form of stigma and discrimination, especially towards those students living with HIV, or those at higher risk of exposure to HIV, particularly those perceived as not conforming to prevailing sexual and gender norms; and there should be no acceptance of any form of sexual harassment or abuse. The rules and guidelines should provide guidance and points of referrals if there is any form of transgression. The schools and other educational institutions need the backing of education authorities and general legislature to ensure that the rules and guidelines can be enforced.
This indicator provides useful information on trends in the coverage of the rules and guidelines and also captures whether these rules and guidelines are developed by the educational institution and recognized or not by the ministry of education, and whether they are adopted formally and communicated to all stakeholders. The indicator is a measure of coverage. Ultimately, the desirable target should be 100 per cent. All educational institutions are required to adopt rules and guidelines that protect their students. However, the country may have set a realistic target that is lower than 100 per cent for a given period. If the percentage is found to be lower than 100 per cent of the given target, the education stakeholders should look into the data to identify what exactly disqualified the educational institutions from the numerator. This could include any one or more of the following reasons: 1) there may not be a relevant national policy for the educational institution to refer to; 2) the educational institution has not developed rules or guidelines; 3) the rules and guidelines may not be comprehensive enough to cover all the essential issues; and 4) the rules and guidelines may not have been communicated to all relevant stakeholders.
If data are available for the previous years, the trend in general or in relation to each of the above-mentioned subquestions should be examined by way of comparison. The results of this analysis will lead education stakeholders to a better understanding of the progress and key impediments and bottlenecks in the work measured by this indicator.
Complementary strategies that measure cases of stigma and discrimination towards students living with HIV should be considered, particularly in countries with a generalized HIV epidemic.
■ The method of calculation of the indicator is simple.
■ The indicator allows for easy comparison over time.
■ The indicator will raise awareness of the need for legislative frameworks to support educational institutions.
■ The responses provided are self-reported – and ideally should be checked with students, members of staff, the school board and others.
■ The exact details, or areas covered by the rules and guidelines are not detailed.
■ The originator of the rules and guidelines are not captured or considered.
■ The indicator does not consider the incidence of transgression against the rules and guidelines.
Example of rules and guidelines: