Wednesday, 30 June 2021 22:33

KES College: It’s never too late to educate people

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In June, KES College has successfully organized two focus groups with students from their college. The discussion of the focus groups included issues such as preventing and combatting homo/trans/biphobic stances, perceptions and behaviours against LGBTIQ learners in the vocational education and training (VET) sector, thus facilitating their equal participation and creating an inclusive and safe educational and training environment.

All participants were involved were very active in the discussion, and it was clear that LGBTIQ people are not open on college premises. As a result, they were not aware of incidents of discrimination, bullying or social exclusion happening at the college. They recognised that this too is a problem, as people need to hide part of themselves because they do not feel safe. This is confirmed by the desk research concerning Cyprus. This showed there are no statistics of LGBTIQ people in VET, and only a few discriminatory incidents are reported to the police.

Participants gave great recommendations for changes at the college such as employment of more LGBTIQ people, having a protocol with clear guidelines to follow in the case of a homophobic incident and consequences for perpetrators, planning events and campaigns, raising awareness, education through seminars, tackling gender stereotypes, empowering people that have experienced discriminations from specialists, developing student groups where there is safety to express themselves, preventive measures that prohibit discrimination, and awareness of the legal framework and human rights. As one participant optimistically stated, “it is never too late to educate people!”