Discussion about need to certificate schools on their level of LGBTI safety

5 May 2018 - On 18 May, GALE organizes a panel discussion about the development of a quality label for LGBTI friendly schools in Amsterdam. The panel will discuss whether a certificate or certification is a useful instrument. And if it is useful, what should it look like? Download the invitation here.

Failed Dutch policy to make sexual diversity education mandatory

In 2012, the Dutch government introduced an obligation to provide information about sexual diversity in primary and secondary education. It was recently announced that Minister would also like to do this for vocational schools. However, the obligation does not work well. Most schools limit themselves to a single testimonial session by volunteers. The goal of promoting "respect for sexual diversity" is therefore not achieved, according to the Education Inspectorate. Research shows that offering only a short class or curriculum has limited impact. Making group agreements about behavior and organizing friendly classes has much more impact on school safety. To address these issues in Dutch policy, Edu-Diverse and GALE, together with organizations from other European countries and the European Antibullying Network (EAN), are taking the initiative to develop a European Antibullying Certification in the coming year. EduDivers also makes an LGBTI-specific version of this.

The panel discussion

During the panel Peter Dankmeijer (GALE) presents a first version of the quality label. Then the participants will discuss the meaningfulness of a label. In the Netherlands, any obligation for schools is controversial because the government agrees with the school boards that school principals should have a wide freedom to manage their own affairs. There is a thorough belief principals will "do the right thing" despite evidence this is certainly to so on the topic of sexual diversity. A basic question remains if a label of requirement will be acceptable.
GALE and her partners are developing a certification procedure, which is essentially a self-reflection of the school. A second discussion is what requirements such a certification must meet. Do we want only quality criteria (content of policy) or also levels of achievement (process of the innovation)?

International dimension

The panel will take place within the framework of an exchange of the HOMBAT project (EU Rights, Education & Citizenship program), in which trainers from Greece, Cyprus and Lithuania are trained by GALE in the development of teacher training on sexual diversity. The meeting also plays a role in the Anti-Bullying Certification project (Erasmus +). The ABC project will install a European ABC-feedback Committee, which will serve as a platform form European discussion about these questions and the meaning to the European Union. Experts who are interested in joining this committee are invited to contact GALE (info@gale.info).