What does a safe learning space mean to you?
“For me, it is an environment where a person is free to dream – to dream beyond the life they have led, to dream to break the cycle of poverty and discrimination. I was five when the civil war broke out in Sierra Leone, and even when no place truly felt safe, school was the safest place to be.
A safe learning environment should provide a student with a sense of belonging and self-belief. A safe learning environment is about a safe school premises, and so much more, like the right curriculum and pedagogy, safety from violence in and around school, and equity and inclusivity. Where I come from, the only way to rebuild a society destroyed by war and poverty is to continue providing children with quality education, and that cannot happen without creating safe learning environments.”
“A safe learning space is one where students are able to learn without fear of discrimination and embarrassment. Growing up and going to school in The Gambia, school was not a safe learning space for girls, especially during menstruation. There are often no spaces for girls to change their sanitary pads because sometimes girls and boys use the same toilets. And where there are separate toilets, they are often unhygienic and without running water and soap. This causes great embarrassment and inconvenience for girls and some of them do not go to school during their menstrual cycle.”
“For persons with disabilities, a safe learning environment is one in which we can learn without worrying about access, for example, a place that has wheelchairs and ramps, sign language interpretation and braille, and special educators for persons with intellectual disabilities. This helps children with disabilities be part of the mainstream education system, and a part of society.
Children with disabilities also often face bullying and discrimination, which leads to many drop outs. In fact, the discrimination is so bad that we ourselves feel it’s ok to be bullied. This needs to stop – we must create learning spaces where persons with disabilities do not feel threatened.”