Violence in schools loses $11 trn lifetime earnings

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Violence in and around schools severely impacts educational outcomes, and society pays a heavy price as a result, with an estimated $11 trillion in lost lifetime earnings, according to a new report by the World Bank

Preventing violence in and through school is therefore a prerequisite for girls and boys getting the education they need and deserve, and acquiring the skills, knowledge and values that provide the foundations for strong and inclusive societies.

While there is no doubt that education is transformative, simply going to school is not enough. Real learning, the process of receiving and distilling information, of thinking and creating and producing and socializing, is less likely to happen if a child is scared or traumatized.

This report demonstrates that violence in and around schools negatively impacts educational outcomes, and society pays a heavy price as a result (with an estimate of $11 trillion in lost lifetime earnings)..

Ending violence in and around school (VIAS) is essential to reap the benefits from education and ensure children’s well-being. Receiving an education of good quality is the right of every child, as enshrined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Education plays a unique role in promoting respect for human rights, and contributing to safe and inclusive societies that do not condone the use of violence, but rather provide children with the skills they will need as adults to find peaceful solutions to conflicts.

VIAS is a threat to both schooling and learning, as well as to children’s well-being, health, and future earnings as adults. The World Health Organization (WHO) has defined violence as “the intentional use of physical force or power, threatened or actual, against a person or group that results in or has a high likelihood of resulting in injury, death, psychological harm, maldevelopment, or deprivation.” Violence is the result of an abusive use of force.

The harm can be actual or threatened. It can lead to injury or death, but also to trauma or other mental health symptoms. Violence is often multidimensional, as individuals are often subjected to multiple forms of violence and in multiple locations.

VIAS includes but is not limited to child victimization, physical and psychological exploitation, cyber victimization, bullying, fights, and sexual violence. It also includes violence by teachers such as corporal punishment, with potential negative impacts.

Overall, VIAS has major effects on children’s well-being and health, and through reduced attainment and achievement, it reduces earnings and productivity in adulthood.

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