ACROSS Nigeria, majority of basic schools resumed classes for the 2022/2023 academic session this week. This comes after weeks of long vacation,
ALTHOUGH this is the usual resumption period for new academic year, there are some other issues. It will be recalled that the federal government as a result of these terrorists’ attacks on schools, in July, abruptly closed all Unity Schools in the Federal Capital Territory and some parts of Nigeria. The closure followed terrorists’ attacks and mass abductions in various schools, particularly in Zamfara, Kaduna, Kebbi and Niger States. This definitely led to loss of study period last session.
NOW that the schools have opened, a major issue should be how to cover the grounds for lost academic time. Hence, authorities of schools and states’ school boards should think out effective ways of covering academic grounds and how to handle assumption into new classes. If possible, due exams should be held. They should find out how to joggle curriculum.
AS PUPILS commence academic activities, aside having required instructional and learning materials, their safety should be paramount to parents, communities, school authorities and governments. The issue of safety in schools should be of major concern to society at all levels of the polity, and this has to do with individuals, communities, local government, state governments and the federal government as well.
PENULTIMATE Thursday, the federal government announced that it has adopted measures to ensure the safety of schools and pupils.
MINISTER of State for Education, Goodluck Opiah made this known at a media briefing to mark the Year 2022 International Day to Protect Education from Attack. Opiah revealed that necessary procedures in line with best practices have been deployed to ensure protection of schools and pupils under a project tagged ‘School Safety Policy’.
HE EXPLAINED that the ministry is committed to operational terms and guidelines aimed at protecting pupils, students, teachers, schools, and universities from the worst effect of armed conflict, support the continuation of education and learning during armed conflicts, as well as implement concrete measures to deter security forces from using schools as military bases.
THE School Safety Policy contains strategies for emergency preparedness in educational institutions, measures for harm reduction, highlight the stakeholders to contact for help in case of attack, deterrence of the military from using educational institutions and procedures to ensure that education continues for pupils and students if attacks persist.
THE MINISTER said that the Education Ministry, among other strategies, is keen on promoting school-based management committees designed to enlist community participation in the management of education through the initiation, execution, administration and ownership of designated school projects. He added that measures had been put in place for safety of students at Federal Unity Schools across the country as schools resume for the new academic session.
THE MINISTER used the global theme this year,’Implementing the School Safety Policy as a Tool to Protect Education from Attack: Our Collective Responsibility’ to create awareness of the need for the state, educational institutions, stakeholders, civil society organisations, the military, and the general public to operationalise the security guidelines.
SCHOOL security and safety is an important issue especially given the high spate of kidnappings, ritual killings, terror attacks, bullying and other criminal activities in the country which children and schools are susceptible to.
MAKING our schools secure should be an ongoing process. School safety requires constant reviews and revisions to keep up with present realities in the country. Hence, all schools wherever they are located have the responsibility to ensure the safety of their pupils, students, and teachers.
KEEPING schools secured and safe is an important task which should be taken seriously. School authorities and administrators, aside achieving their educational objectives, should go the extra mile to ensure the safety and wellbeing of pupils, students and teachers.
PARENTS on their part, having provided necessary materials for a hitch-free academic session, should also take proactive measures for school safety and their children’s security.
A GOOD number of children walk to school, some are picked up by school buses while some are driven by their parents but whatever means of transport to school, safety is the watchword to and from school. Parents should plan safe routes. More so, safety tips should be taught the children in schools and homes.
COMMUNITIES too have their roles to play. Members of communities should collaborate with relevant stakeholders to ensure the safety of residents, schools in their localities. Even where leaders of homes or communities do not have children in schools, they should be deeply concerned about the security of the schools in their area because a child belongs to the entire society as Africans say. Community members, teachers and pupils should be alert, observant and vocal on the matter and imbibe the ‘see something say something mantra’, which goes a long way in securing communities.
WITH or without the federal government’s initiated School Safety Policy’, schools should pay keen attention to internal security. The PTA in schools should brainstorm on how to build structures and facilities to address the matter. How to foster a more effective security for children should be prime in their agenda. Where there are no perimeter fences or no measures for guarding indiscriminate movements, they should make it priority.
RECENTLY, the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) trained a specialised female squad for schools protection. The squad should be deployed to schools nationwide. However, there is need for other security outfits to complement their efforts. Even if they are supported by police and vigilante men, there is a need to rely on smart security measures like ‘being your neighbours keeper’ in this regard since the corps cannot cover all the schools at the same time.
THERE is equally need for sophisticated technology like drones, to help in detecting and averting dangers in educational institutions.
NATIONAL Light believes that for a school to achieve its educational objectives, it is pertinent to keep pupils, students, teachers, and workers safe and secure. No parent wants to send their children to learn in a threatened environment. Learning requires a tranquil atmosphere in which all stakeholders feel not just physically safe, but emotionally safe as well.
MORE so, the nation should think out a more convincing national education plan given the realities of the moment because even if pupils are protected in schools, what happens outside the schools? If the bandits could attack a military formation, what could happen in schools?
ON THE long run, the solution to the worsening security situation is still in the schools by evolving in-depth researches and facilities in relevant fields such as psychology, sociology, philosophy and encouraging guidance and counseling because guiding the minds of children is important to ensure safer and better society for the interest of all in future. Violent and criminal people begin early in childhood to evolve the trait.
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