ConDev, a member of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Higher Education Solutions Network (HESN), partnered with USAID Bureau for Africa, Office of Sustainable Development, Education Division (AFR/SD/ED) to offer policy and programmatic recommendations for USAID for the improvement of school safety and discriminatory treatment of African schoolchildren. Two separate research studies were conducted and are detailed below. For more information about either of these studies, please contact Dr. Shahriar Kibriya.
Sexual harassment and abuse may be the most well-known forms of school-related gender-based violence (SRGBV), but it can also take many different forms. SRGBV includes violence or abuse that is based on gender stereotypes or that target students on the basis of their gender, sexuality, or gender identity. It includes rape, unwanted sexual touching, unwanted sexual comments, corporal punishment, bullying, and verbal harassment. Both boys and girls can be victims, as well as perpetrators; however, boys and girls experience different levels and types of violence.
SRGBV negatively impacted academic performance in all three of the countries studied: Botswana, Ghana, and South Africa. While other factors also affected educational outcomes, SRGBV was found to be more influential than any other variables.
A safe learning environment is a place where structured learning is free from environmental, internal, and external threats to learners and educators’ well- being; where both the infrastructure of the organization and the people within that environment are deemed safe. Safe learning environments can be threatened by internal threats, such as bullying, corporal punishment, and gang recruitment; external threats, such as attacks on schools; and environmental threats, like natural disasters. The research objective of this study was to identify the causal direction and magnitudes of student and teacher perception of safety on learning outcomes in Rwanda, Tanzania, and Zambia through a quasi-experimental analysis.
The effect of perceived school safety on learning is detrimental in unsafe schools. Students that feel unsafe were found to preform worse on standardized tests than their peers in both mathematics and English reading. These results were similar in all three of the countries studied: Rwanda, Tanzania, and Zambia.