- During the latest edition of this course, you decided to create two different groups: one for formal education providers and the other for non-formal education. What is your assessment of this arrangement?
In the past, formal and non-formal education workers were mixed in the same groups. The experience was very enriching. People working in different fields contributed a variety of situations and concerns. This gave the course a more holistic view of youth-related work. Even so, one of the main goals of the course was to provide professionals with practical resources. And although we shared various resources, we learned from the feedback that participants felt that we were not able to go into sufficient detail regarding those resources. Therefore, last year we decided to divide the group based on the field of work. This will allow us to delve more deeply into the needs of each professional.
The overall assessment was extremely positive. Framing the work within a given context allows us to adapt the lines of work, methodologies, and materials to specific needs. However, this division between fields of work does not mean that there was no diversity in these groups. Last year, the formal education group included teachers, guidance counsellors, secondary school co-education officers, but also professionals from vocational training and support services. These students were able to understand the diverse reality that also exists within formal education and were able to share a range of different strategies and materials.
The non-formal education groups were also mixed. The participants were mainly educators from youth centres, but also people who work in the prevention of gender-based violence in various associations and educators from supervised flats. A variety of resources were also offered and shared in these groups, but there was a need to delve deeper and train this group of professionals in specific methodologies. Therefore, this year we have introduced an additional session for non-formal education groups. In other words, a total of 3 sessions. By doing so, we will be able to explain the theoretical framework, discuss a variety of resources, and teach some methodologies.
- Both formal education teachers and non-formal education educators believe that “we have been working for years on the prevention of gender-based violence, but we don't see any changes, the situation is not improving”. What do you think?
Admittedly, the work of both educators and teachers can be frustrating at times. But I think that in order to assess the effectiveness of the work being done, we must take into account several elements:
Firstly, we need to bear in mind that sexist violence is structural. It pervades all aspects of life and manifests itself in various forms and intensities. It is related to gender socialisation. What I mean by this is that despite working in the field of education, young people continue to receive sexist messages, attitudes, and norms in other areas of their lives. Therefore, it is essential for education to work as part of a network with other agents such as families, neighbourhood and village associations, the equality department of the local council, etc.
Likewise, coeducation and the prevention of gender-based violence are widely addressed in both non-formal and formal education. The problem is that we often work without clear criteria. In other words, if we want our work to be effective, we cannot do just anything. We need to have an approach to the process, teachers and educators need training, we need to coordinate with various agents, we need to use content and methodologies that are adapted to the needs of young people, and so on. Effective prevention goes far beyond one or several specific activities.
- Why would you encourage people to take this course?
There are not many forums where people in the same field of work can express their concerns, doubts, and realities. This course offers such a forum. On the one hand, it offers training on the subject, but there will also be an opportunity to share experiences with other people. In addition, the pandemic has led to an increase in the number of online training courses on offer. We are aware that there are many benefits to online courses, but face-to-face forums are also a great opportunity to share, network and get to know a variety of experiences and situations.