School-related gender-based violence (SRGBV) is a major obstacle to achieving gender equality. The education system provides opportunities for innovative, effective, and sustainable interventions to prevent violence against and between children, and for changes of attitudes and beliefs towards gender roles.

Ample evidence shows that teacher professional development is an effective instrument to improve teacher quality and increase student performance. However, hardly any evidence exists on the effectiveness of teacher professional development in the field of SRGBV.

Research conducted by Research Institute for Work and Society at University of Leuven, Royal University of Phnom Penh and VVOB (or education for development) have shown that effective teacher professional development on gender-responsive teaching has positive effects on the occurrence of violence experienced by students in schools (reports forthcoming in 2021). After 480 teachers from primary and lower secondary schools in Battambang province had undergone professional development with VVOB and its partners, the students have reported a decrease in emotional, physical and sexual abuse experienced at or on the way to school.

Programmes such as the “Teaching for Improved Gender Equality and Responsiveness” (TIGER) project aim to transform schools into centres of excellence for gender-responsiveness. The TIGER project ensures primary and lower secondary school children are protected from school-related gender-based violence, enabling their equitable participation in all spheres of life at school and at home.

Learning from our experience leading the TIGER project, here are some key insights on how schools can prevent SRGBV and promote gender equality.

  • Putting gender at the front and center of education
  • Leveraging hands-on tools for gender-responsive teaching
  • Tackling gender bias amongst teachers and school leaders

Read the full article about gender-based violence by Anna Murru at AVPN.