British Embassy Bangkok Hosts Child Protection Conference for Thai Schools
Today, the British Embassy in Bangkok, together with UNICEF and the International Schools Association of Thailand (ISAT), hosted the Safeguarding Children in Schools Conference (Thailand) 2022. The event was highlighted the importance of child protection in schools in Thailand and presented best practices which schools can effectively adopt to prevent child abuse.
According to the One Stop Crisis Center of Thailand’s Ministry of Social Development and Human Security, more than 10,000 Thai children are hospitalized each year due to abuse. A national investigation conducted by the National Statistics Office (ONS) and UNICEF on the situation of children and women in Thailand in 2019 showed that 58% of children aged 1 to 14 said they had experienced violent discipline (any punishment physical).
The consular team at the British Embassy in Bangkok provides support for an average of 60-70 child protection cases each year. Despite travel restrictions and fewer inbound visitors, there were 35 child protection cases in 2021.
Globally and regionally, there is growing evidence that children’s well-being and learning are interdependent. Violence has short- and long-term negative effects on children’s health and well-being, including injury, risky behavior, lack of trust in others, self-injury, health, among others. Coping with violence can also lead to lower school attendance and dropouts, leading to lower learning levels and completion rates.
The conference brought together experts and practitioners to share best practices on how schools can implement strong safeguarding practices. He opened a discussion on the role of schools and teachers in child protection, with a view to helping all schools in Thailand adopt a child protection policy as part of a holistic approach to school safety and student well-being. He further advocated for the training of all teachers in recognizing signs of abuse and how best to support children who disclose abuse.
The event featured keynote speakers from UNICEF, ECPAT, the British Embassy, Childline Thailand and child protection experts. Due to Covid-19 restrictions on gatherings, the event was broadcast online via Zoom to nearly 200 participants, concluding with a panel discussion involving actors from the Ministry of Education, civil society and representatives of young people and parents.
Mark Gooding, British Ambassador to Thailand, said:
Schools have a unique insight into how children develop and interact. Teachers can spot behavioral changes, injuries or trauma in children, and play a vital role in spotting signs of abuse. I am therefore delighted that we have come together today to share our knowledge and understanding of what more we can do to protect children in the future.
Suphat Champatong, Permanent Secretary of Thailand’s Ministry of Education, said:
The Ministry of Education attaches the utmost importance to the issue of child protection in the Thai education system. We see this conference as a very valuable place to share best practices and highlight the importance of child protection in schools in Thailand.
The Ministry would like to express its gratitude to the host of this event, including the British Embassy, UNICEF and the Association of International Schools of Thailand (ISAT) and we look forward to continuing this dynamic relationship by working together to better protect all children in schools in Thailand.
Kyungsun Kim, UNICEF Representative for Thailand said:
There is growing evidence of the interdependence between well-being and childhood learning. I strongly believe that the Ministry of Education’s commitment to school safety as a key ministry policy priority is a potential driver of change to better protect children from violence in Thailand and improve the quality of their school experience. Making schools a safer place for all children, in Thailand and elsewhere, is a priority for UNICEF as a co-founding member of the global Safe To Learn initiative, alongside the UK government and other partners.
In March 2021, the British Embassy, in partnership with the International Schools Association of Thailand (ISAT), hosted a child protection webinar for international schools in Thailand, highlighting how the Embassy and other agencies can work together to provide support for child protection.
The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (UK FCDO) and UNICEF are co-founding members of the global Safe To Learn initiative, dedicated to ending violence in and across schools so that children are free to learn , to thrive and pursue their dreams. Safe to learn presents an opportunity to unlock the multiple wins of eliminating violence in schools, improving learning outcomes, better mobilizing investments in education, raising awareness and changing attitudes towards violence. violence against children.