By JACOB ONJEWU DICKSON
The challenge of poor policy direction on issues of security and safety in schools is a major concern in need of urgent intervention, Founding Director, Women Advocates Research and Documentation Center (WARDC), Dr. Abiola Akiyode Afolabi has said.
She expressed this while speaking at a Town Hall Meeting held at Hotel Seventeen in Kaduna on Tuesday.
“Schools in many parts of the country have been left porous and unprotected as safety and security has not been prioritised or in some cases utterly neglected,” she lamented.
She said that flawed policy design and direction gave rise to situations whereby even in the face of threats over a long period of time, no security measures made for adequate protection of schools and pupils.
“Unfortunately response so far to the challenge that has made schools unsafe and insecure in the North East and Northwest of the country has been mostly gratuitous and therefore not sufficient,” she stressed.
Speaking further, she explained that though some work has been undertaken in relation to safe schools, voices of communities and schools have not been heard.
She emphasized that the project is designed to address the challenge of safety and security in schools in Bauchi and Kaduna states, as well as the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
“At the end of the project, we aim to have achieved the following; developed minimum standards /guidelines for safe and secure schools in conjunction with communities, CSOs and schools capacities increased on advocacy and monitoring the implementation of programmes on safe and secure schools,” she said.
During the meeting, WARDC also handed out its draft minimum standard guidelines on safe and secure schools.
According to the guideline, 12 plans were outlined which include ensuring all schools have compulsory safety plans, establishing security and safety committee, school buildings and infrastructure, managing emergency and regulating access to school-movement and assembly.
Other guidelines are ensuring well trained school security personnel and putting a communication plan in place.