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School Violence and Wellbeing in Southern Ecuador: Exploring Popular Perceptions and Official Discourse Paradoxes

Part of the Transdisciplinary Perspectives in Educational Research book series (TPER,volume 4)

Abstract

This chapter explores perceptions on school violence and school versus home safety amongst children (in this chapter, “children” refers to anyone under 18 years of age, except where otherwise noted) in Southern Ecuador and examines discrepancies in Ecuador’s educational policy framing of school violence. The study was conducted using mixed methods, including surveys amongst adult respondents and structured interviews, focus groups, and participatory videos with children. The findings show that children feel safer at home than at school even when they acknowledge suffering from regular abuse at the hand of adult household members. A factor that has not been considered up to now is the national education current legal framework informing norms and practices that promotes the use of strict punishment for non-compliance to school, hindering any efforts aiming to improve school climate and students’ wellbeing. However, strategies to boost the school climate and enhance student wellbeing are already embodied by the principles of Buen Vivir (Good Living), a conceptual framework for peaceful living enshrined in the country’s constitution. Buen Vivir embraces diversity, communalism, complementarity, and social harmony and is seen as an indigenous alternative to the concept of wellbeing. An in-depth systematic engagement with Buen Vivir would constitute an effective way to tackle school violence in the educational context.

Keywords

  • Children
  • School
  • Violence
  • Wellbeing
  • LMIC

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Fig. 11.1

Notes

  1. 1.

    In this chapter, “children” refers to anyone under 18 years of age, except where otherwise noted.

  2. 2.

    The research was thought, designed and conducted by the two first authors who also analysed the data. The third author contributed to the theoretical and conceptual framework and the writing up of the final manuscript.

  3. 3.

    As a legacy of the colonial Catholic background , the smallest jurisdictions are called parishes, which include small rural towns and remote hamlets. Sayausí is a peripheral parish and Quingeo, a rural parish of the Municipality of Cuenca. Gualaceo is a municipality that neighbours with Cuenca.

  4. 4.

    These boards are required in every municipality by art. 598 of the Organic Law of Territorial Organisation, Autonomy and Decentralisation (Ecuadorian Government, 2010), and are in charge of guaranteeing that local governments promote and secure the rights of residents, including children.

  5. 5.

    As a referential figure we opted for a boy but the decision is not related to any form of gender bias. The idea was to use the same character for all and to compare answers without looking for specific distinction that would be based on gender.

  6. 6.

    The video can be watched in Spanish in https://youtu.be/hebjLUeZs3A

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Cañizares, B., Torres, I., Faucher, C. (2022). School Violence and Wellbeing in Southern Ecuador: Exploring Popular Perceptions and Official Discourse Paradoxes. In: McLellan, R., Faucher, C., Simovska, V. (eds) Wellbeing and Schooling. Transdisciplinary Perspectives in Educational Research, vol 4. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-95205-1_11

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