School is a community of growth and learning and by sharing ideas of restorative practices among schools’ principals, Nepal Forum for Restorative Justice (NFRJ) and Bikalpa Gyan Tatha Bikash Kendra aimed to create a culture of connectivity and care where all members of the school community can thrive. Considering the need of understanding restorative justice in schools, Principals’ Seminar on Restorative Justice in Schools was organized jointly by Nepal Forum for Restorative Justice (NFRJ) and Bikalpa Gyan Tatha BIkas Kendra on 27 September 2023 in Kathmandu.
A total of 31 participants, principals of different schools from kindergarten level to secondary level attended the seminar with full enthusiasm and positive energy.
The program was officially started by Ms. Kalpana Ghale, Program Facilitator of Bikalpa by welcoming all the participants to the program. She briefly explained about the program background and highlighted the collaboration of NFRJ and Bikalpa. Mrs. Stella Tamang, founder and ED of Bikalpa was introduced and she gave a short speech on the need of Restorative Justice in general and Restorative justice in Schools. She quoted, “We need to understand मान्छे मानव बाट दानव किन हुन्छ”and with this she mentioned restorative justice will help us to understand reason behind the action of an individual. As Ms. Kalpana introduced Mr. Ram Tiwari, ED of NFRJ he stared the session with self-introduction by the participants as an ice-breaker where they shared their name, organization and rate their current mood.
After a quick introduction, Mr. Ram Tiwari started the presentation. Ideas of equity, equality and justice was discussed by displaying images as an example. He shared the ideas of peace and justice and peace through law and justice. He also highlighted the concept of Restorative Justice, how is it different from traditional justice system and explained about HEART Model in Restorative justice. He presented how RJ allows an individual to understand another person’s feelings and why is it important before taking any actions.
Interactive session was held by Mr. Tiwari to engage the participants and make them understand about idea of perspective. Setting a perspective for a person without trying to understand his/her side of story will up in judging the person. But perspective don’t change the reality. Active participation and response from the participants helped to run the session smoothly.
Presentation was continued on the topic RJ in school.
On using restorative justice in schools, the focus was paid on building good schools and founded on a culture of care. To build a culture of care, one must try to connect rather than correct. Words use by principals and teachers in schools determines whether they are connecting with each other or just correcting.
Few examples were given to clarify the idea and while giving example he was making sure that participants were being engaged too. Activities related to two types of conversation practices, type A being the traditional way of responding to the situation and type B being responding through restorative approach were also practiced. Presentation continued by covering topics of learning and feedbacks, inclusion and empathy. Brief idea of care circles, why circles are required in restorative practice were also discussed.
Participants expressed their reflections during an interactive session after the presentation. The principals were encouraged to internalize today’s session by Mrs. Stella Tamang, who provided insight about the seminar. Ms. Kalpana gave information about an upcoming training session for teachers on restorative justice being organized by Bikalpa and the NFRJ in the hopes that principals would encourage teachers to participate. She thanked everyone for their active engagement as she brought the session to its conclusion.