How schools can be safe from attacks
By Opeyemi Babalola
Stakeholders in the education sector have highlighted areas that needed to be addressed to keep schools safe for all.
Rising from its 2022 yearly summit on achieving safe schools in the country, Education Writers Association of Nigeria (EWAN), during their meeting held recently at The Radisson Blu Hotel, Ikeja, stressed the need to improve the safe schools policy. Tagged: ‘Towards safe schools in Nigeria,’ the summit engaged different experts responsible for keeping schools safe.
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu was the chief host and Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, was the guest of honour at the event attended by school administrators and owners , heads of security agencies, teachers, parents, educational institutions and education-focused civil societies, journalists and students.
They identified school safety issues to include physical violence, such as attacks by bandits and terrorists; bullying (physical and cyber), gender violence, psycho-social hostility in the school environment, cultism, hooliganism, rape and substance abuse. Participants noted that safe school project should be a collective responsibility and attract more commitment from stakeholders.
They canvassed more proactive measures to sustain the new relative safety in schools nationwide. Stakeholders advocated provision of Close-Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras to monitor and safeguard lives and properties in schools and encourage construction of perimeter fences around schools nationwide. The summit also called for quick implementation of new biometric identity cards for non-Nigerians by the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) to enhance monitoring of those entering the country.
While contesting the recent data by UNESCO, which puts the number of out-of-school children in the country at 20 million, the summit urged relevant agencies including National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria (TRCN), National Commission for Nomadic Education (NCNE), among others, to collaborate towards generating genuine statistics on basic and high school enrollment and out-of-school children in Nigeria.
They also recommended renovation of old school structures to encourage inclusive education, especially for those with disabilities, and that no new structures without provision for inclusiveness should be approved.