By; ALEX UANGBAOJE, Kaduna
Stakeholders in the education sector in Kaduna State have emphasized the need for the school environment to be made safe and violence free for learning.
The group noted that the safety of schools cannot be left with government alone, instead it has to be a collective responsibility of everyone in the state.
According to them, a safe school environment will not only guarantee and safeguard the future of the youth, it will also contribute to the collective pursuit of a more harmonious society and academic excellence for children.
They therefore, resolved to join hands with government in promoting peace, safety and violence free schools in Kaduna State to secure the future of the children.
The resolution was made on Wednesday, at a Media Parley and Stakeholders Roundtable meeting to commemorate the International Day of Education in Kaduna State with the theme, “Promoting Safe and Violence-Free Schools: Learning for Lasting Peace” organized by Partnership for Learning for All in Nigeria (PLANE) in collaboration with the Kaduna Basic Education Accountability Mechanism (KADBEAM).
In her opening address, the Safeguarding Advisor of PLANE, Hadiza Nasiru, noted that incidents of violence and insecurity are casting shadows over the educational landscape.
She said the parley was aimed to share commitment to change the narrative by recognizing that promoting safety and fostering a culture of peace within the schools is not merely a lofty aspiration but an urgent imperative.
“For it is within the walls of these institutions that we have the power to sow the seeds of empathy, respect, and understanding -the very foundations upon which lasting peace is built.
“Through collaborative efforts, proactive strategies, and unwavering dedication, we aim to create learning environments where every student feels valued, supported, and empowered to reach their full potential.
“Together, let us champion the cause of safe and violence-free schools, for in doing so, we pave the way for a future where learning truly becomes a catalyst for lasting peace.” Hadiza added.
On his part, the Executive Chairman, Kaduna State Universal Basic Education Board (KADSUBEB), Tijjani Abdullahi, who said though safety and insecurity of schools is still a major issue, explained that the domestication of the National Policy on Safety, Security and Violence- Free Schools along with its Implementing Guidelines was one of the measures already take by the government to guarantee safety in schools.
Others according to him includes; “the domestication of Child Protection Law and Social Protection Policy against Violence. Exploitation, Abuse, Neglect and Harassment, Safeguard regulating teams in the 23 LGEAs and Peace Clubs across the Basic Schools were formed.
“Gender based toilets and perimeter fence around schools were constructed, Engagement of Kaduna State Vigilance Service (KADVIS) to man school gates for security: Furthermore, the KADSUBEB’s Values on School Safety and Peace against violence and harassment enhances, amongst others.”
He therefore assured that free, quality and safe education delivery can not be compromised, noting that safe school and violence free environment is fundamental as a factor that determines development and maintenance of learner’s academic focus to their schoolwork.
In his response to some of the issues raised during a panel discussion, Director, Planning, Ministry of Education, Salisu Baba Lawal, said the ministry already initiated School Safety Initiative and peace curriculum in learning institutions to promote and ensure peace and security in schools environment.
On the increasing level of out-of-school-children in the State, Lawal, disclosed that the ministry is reaching out to communities where children are dropping out of school as a result of insecurity.
UNICEF Kaduna, Education Specialist, Bala Baba, reiterated the UN agency’s commitment to improve children’s education in the State.
Bala, noted that UNICEF is supporting the Kaduna government to ensure an effective implementation of the National Policy on Safety, Security and Violence- Free Schools and other relevant laws and policies that guarantees child protection and survival.
Representative of KADBEAM Co-chair, Mr. Steven Wayah, said the collaboration with PLANE was aimed at ensuring all MDAs, donor partners, Civil Society, the media and other stakeholders within the education ecosystem understands their roles in promoting safe and violence free schools in the State.
The parley was well attended by other stakeholders such as Save the Children, Kaduna State Peace Commission, Kaduna State Interfaith Bureau, Persons with Disabilities, Christian Association of Nigeria, Jamatul Nasril Islam and the Media.