Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1946/23663
Markmiðið með rannsókninni sem hér er greint frá er að kanna starfsemi nemendaverndarráða í grunnskólum og hlutdeild nemenda í ákvörðunartöku í eigin málum í ráðunum. Tilgangurinn er að veita innsýn í störf ráðanna og draga lærdóm af niðurstöðum en einnig að vekja lesendur til umhugsunar um réttindastöðu grunnskólanemenda. Vaxandi skilningur er á mikilvægi þess að rödd barna fái hljómgrunn, að á þau sé hlustað og að þess sjáist merki við ákvörðunartöku í málum þar sem aðstæður þeirra og vandi eru til meðferðar. Nemendaverndarráð eru þverfagleg teymi sem eiga að starfa í grunnskólum landsins og þeim er ætlað að stuðla að velferð nemenda. Starfsemi þeirra hefur lítt verið rannsökuð og ekki hafa legið fyrir upplýsingar um þátttöku barna í meðferð mála sem tekin eru fyrir þar.
Rafrænn spurningalisti var sendur til skólastjóra allra grunnskóla á Íslandi skólaárið 2013–2014. Alls bárust svör frá 84 skólum og var svarhlutfall 50% á landsvísu. Niðurstöður benda til þess að nemendaverndarráð starfi í flestum grunnskólum og töldu þátttakendur þau almennt starfa með hagsmuni nemenda að leiðarljósi. Mál sem rata inn á borð nemendaverndarráða eiga það flest sameiginlegt að fjalla um málefni einstakra nemenda en hlutdeild nemenda í afgreiðslu mála sem þá snerta er takmörkuð. Þátttakendur töldu aldur og þroska nemenda og eðli mála helstu ástæður lítillar aðkomu nemendanna sjálfra. Meirihluta foreldra (86%) er tilkynnt að um mál barns þeirra sé fjallað í ráðunum en hlutfallslega fáum börnum er gert viðvart um það (17%). Niðurstöður benda til að tryggja þurfi betur hlutdeild nemenda í ákvörðunum um eigin málefni í nemendaverndarráðunum.
The aim of the study reported here was to examine the practice of pupils’ welfare councils in compulsory schools, and participation of children in decision-making in their own educational affairs, which are seen holistically and include health and safety issues. The purpose was to provide insight into the practices of pupils’ welfare councils and to learn from the results as well as to increase awareness of rights of children. There is an increasing understanding of the importance of listening to children, for them be heard and engaged in decisionmaking in their own affairs while planning and managing adequate responses and services.
The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, as well as laws and regulations regarding pupils´ welfare and the national curriculum´s fundamental pillars focus on democracy and human rights, were used as guidelines when conducting this study. In addition, the perspective of recent childhood studies, where children are looked upon as active and autonomous individuals, was also used as reference.
Pupils’ welfare councils (hereafter PWCs) are multidisciplinary teams that are legally mandated to operate in compulsory schools in Iceland and are intended to promote and safeguard children’s and young people’s welfare in schooling.
The role of PWCs is to coordinate and manage services for pupils in school health services, school counselling and inclusive education and to assist headmasters in managing plans regarding special assistance for individual pupils as well as promoting preventative measures.
Involvement of children and young people in decision making in the PWCs is not statuted in the Compulsory School Act even though they are, according to the Children Act, entitled to express their opinions on all matters regarding them and fair consideration shall be given to their opinions in accordance to their age and maturity. The practice of the PWCs is under researched and no information can be found about the participation of pupils in affairs related to their individual case handling.
Quantitative research methods were used in this study. During the school year 2013–2014 an electronic questionnaire was sent to all compulsory school principals in Iceland. There were responses from 84 schools, with a response rate of 50%. Results indicate that there are PWCs in place in most schools and participants felt that they generally operate in the best interests of students.
Most issues that find their way into the PWCs have in common matters concerning individual children, but pupils’ involvement in decision making and handling of matters concerning themselves showed to be limited. The participants mentioned age, maturity of pupils and different nature of affairs as the main reasons for the infrequent involvement of children. Majority of parents (86%) are notified about the case handlings of their children’s affairs in the councils but only a small percentage of pupils are made aware of it (17%). In light of other studies of wishes, competence and the mandated rights of children these results indicate the need for more involvement of school children in decisions about their own affairs in pupil welfare councils.
Lack of management guidelines concerning the case handlings was found in the participants´ answers when asked about the work of practices and also in the keeping of records and minutes. Results indicate that more emphasis should be on establishing such rules. This would enhance each council’s proceedings during their work.
To promote success and effective development of pupil welfare councils it is important to have a thorough knowledge of current activities, and results of this study provide that needed overview.
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