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The intersection of violence and SEL competencies: Implications for equity

Mon, March 26, 11:30am to 1:00pm, Hilton Reforma, Floor: 2nd Floor, Don Diego 1 Section C


Findings from research in the past decade highlight the gendered nature of violence in education settings and the wide range of impacts that violence has on social and emotional wellbeing and learning. (UNGEI, 2014;Kibriya, S., et al., 2016; Psaki, 2017). Inequality related to poverty, ethnic or racial minority, disability, orphan status and gender place some children at higher risk of being a target of violence than others. Thus, increased victimization associated with inequality serves to exacerbate inequities in student wellbeing and learning. Knowledge about the nature of violence and its impact and different exposure rates based on certain inequalities, though important, is limited in its usefulness for preventing violence and mitigating its impact, especially for the most vulnerable. A deeper understanding of these risk factors and the way violence is conditioned, manifested, and experienced in different social-political and economic contexts is needed. (Parkes, J. 2016). At the same time research is needed to understand more about the way that social structures of exclusion and oppression associated with vulnerability shape the beliefs, aspirations and agency of young people and how, in turn, differential perceptions of young people mediate violence itself.

This presentation explores the role that students’ perceptions about school life, social and emotional skills, and agency play in mediating violence in education settings. We posit that these individual factors are important entry points for reducing the increased risk of violence associated with poverty, ethnicity or gender.

We address the following questions in this presentation:
1. What were the challenges of adapting instruments to the developing country context and how were these addressed?
2. What are the relationships between social and emotional competencies and violence?
3. How can programming related to enhance social and emotional competencies and agency reduce the increased risk of violence associated with poverty, ethnicity, racial and gender vulnerabilities?
This presentation draws from data from USAID/Uganda Literacy Achievement and Retention Activity that highlights certain student perceptions about the unequal treatment of vulnerable children (e.g., children living in poverty, orphans and children with disabilities) in schools, drawing from baseline data from 216 schools and 4835 Grade 3 and Grade 5 learners. We also discuss the relationship between social and emotional skills and the experience of violence, based on data from 200 schools and 3000 learners just finishing Grade 2. Finally, data on student agency related to violence - that is, their ability to navigate their world to avoid, challenge and seek assistance when facing violence - will be reviewed, with an aim to inform future programming to reduce the risk of violence, especially for the most vulnerable learners.

With the exception of the survey administered to assess social and emotional learning competencies, the survey instruments in this study were adapted from the Conceptual Framework for Measuring School-Related Gender-Based Violence (RTI, 2016). The compilation of items which constituted the survey of social and emotional competencies were drawn from and s variety of scales developed in the United States, and adapted to the context and intended measurement goals. There were challenges in adapting these instruments to the Ugandan context. These challenges and how they were addressed will be discussed in this presentation.

Kibriya, S., et al. (2016). The effects of school-related gender-based violence on academic performace: Evidence from Botswana, Ghana, and South Africa. ISBN978-1-4951-7144-4. Independent Publisher.
Parkes, J. Ed. (2016) Gender Violence in Poverty Contexts: An educational challenge. Routledge, London and New York, p. 37.
Psaki, S. (2017). Associations between Violence in School and at Home and Education Outcomes in Rural Malawi: A Longitudinal Analysis. Comparative Education Review, vol. 61, no. 2.
UNGEI (2015) School-related gender-based violence is preventing the achievement of quality education for all. Policy Paper 17, March 2015.


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