Press Release

Ministers Pledge to Combat Violence in Schools at London Roundtable

London—Today, in a significant step forward, a group of education ministers pledged to combat violence in and around schools at a meeting at the Center for Global Development (CGD) in London. This roundtable, co-chaired by the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), and the Government of Sierra Leone, was held on the sidelines of the ongoing Education World Forum and was co-organised by the Global Partnership for Education.

Ministers of education and social welfare from six African countries as well as ambassadors signed a declaration committing to the elimination of violence in schools—including sexual abuse, corporal punishment, and bullying—as a priority. This group reaffirmed their commitment to protect children in schools. Data shows that a third of children in low- and middle-income countries are regularly exposed to physical or sexual violence, according to a CGD study.

Minister Conrad Sackey, the Minister for Basic and Senior Secondary Education, Sierra Leone stressed the commitment to action:

“Sierra Leone is deeply committed to eradicating violence in our schools and championing this issue on the global stage. This declaration underscores an international effort committed to creating safe, supportive, and equitable educational environments for all children.”

Attendees agreed to raise the profile of this neglected issue to the highest political level within education debates to set the expectation that every child is able to learn free from fear and the threat of violence.  By sharing their experience, they will foster international collaboration, aiming to transform schools into safe, gender equitable and inclusive learning environments.  Attendees also highlighted that education can play a vital role in breaking the cycle of violence for future generations.  Through these actions, they will make clear that keeping every child  safe in school is key to the education sector’s responsibilities

The Rt Hon Andrew Mitchell, Deputy Foreign Secretary and Minister of State (Development and Africa) for the United Kingdom, emphasized the urgency of this issue:

“It is unacceptable that millions of children around the world are unsafe both in and on the way to school, due to the threat of physical, emotional and sexual violence every single day. 

“Ensuring that schools are secure, inclusive spaces where children can learn without fear is vital to delivering the UK’s commitments on education, women and girls and the SDGs.  Minister Sackey and I and the other Ministers with whom we met today are committed to leading the global charge to protect all students from violence.”

Today’s meeting is the first in a calendar of events at which the Ministers will have the opportunity to elevate the prominence of this topic on the global education and development stage, including the UN Summit of the Future and the first Global Ministerial Conference on Ending Violence Against Children in Columbia.

For more information on CGD’s work on ending violence in schools, please visit



Notes to Editors:

Photography: High-resolution images from the roundtable are available for media use. Please download pictures here.

Full Declaration: The full text of the declaration is available on request.