Media release -7 February 2018
Thousands more students will be taught how to stay safe online with the rollout of the Alannah & Madeline Foundation’s successful program, eSmart Schools, to every school in the state, thanks to a funding boost from the Victorian Government.
Premier Daniel Andrews and Minister for Education James Merlino today announced an additional $2.5 million to enable all Victorian schools to use the Foundation’s eSmart Schools program free of charge, meaning almost one million students will benefit from it every year.
The Alannah & Madeline Foundation’s CEO, Lesley Podesta, thanked the Premier and the Minister for Education, and said she was thrilled that Victorian school children in government, Catholic and Independent schools, their teachers and their parents will have the support they need.
“We know that children really benefit when schools use the Alannah & Madeline Foundation’s eSmart Schools program to the combat cyber bullying, bullying and improve cyber safety,” Ms Podesta said. “This is a world class program which helps teachers feel more confident, parents more involved and students much safer”.
Around one in five young people experience bullying.
“eSmart Schools works across all primary and secondary school curriculums,” Ms Podesta said.
“Its focus is on creating a strong, inclusive culture with no tolerance for bullying within a school. Every child should be in an eSmart school. It is wonderful to have Victoria leading the way.”
eSmart Schools was developed by RMIT University in 2010, in consultation with cyber safety, bullying, education and industry experts from across Australia.
One in three Australian schools is currently participating in eSmart Schools. To date, the program has reached more than 1.3 million children and young people in primary and secondary schools.
“Reducing cyber bullying and bullying requires all members of the school and broader community to participate,” Ms Podesta said.
“eSmart Schools is the only program that covers every aspect of a schools’ approach to bullying prevention, including parents, teachers, students and the entire school community, and focuses on creating a strong, anti-bullying culture.”
eSmart provides support for schools to create cyber-safe environments for their students which encourage students to stay smart, safe and responsible online.
“With our kids now accessing the internet and social media at unprecedented levels, programs like eSmart to help them make smart choices online are more important than ever,” Mr Andrews said. “This is about giving our kids the practical support and advice they need to stay safe online and prevent bullying.”
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