Safe School Year Campaign Awareness
(The Nigerian Safe School Week Initiative)
We are pleased to announce the Safe School Year Campaign Awareness- an event being co-founded under the (The Nigerian Safe School Week Initiative), designed to foster collaboration amongst academic communities, the government, civil society organizations, religious groups, parents, and students on how to work together and make impact towards creating schools that are Welcoming, Safe and Inclusive.
The awareness is set to be a stepping up actions on how to better protect our nation’s schools against all sorts of violence, as well as other potential threats, which if no measure is taken, can endanger the education objective. Through this awareness, activities like training, community sensitization and emergency preparedness drills are being packaged for this programme, so as to prepare the academic communities for unforeseen challenges, awaken the courage of adults and children on school safety matters, and to coordinate the security of schools across the country and the communities in which they are located. Purportedly, this initiative defines everyone’s role as per school safety matters, and ready to connect voices as against any antisocial behavior within the school environment, and that of the security challenges confronting the society which children are the most vulnerable of.
This campaign awareness is being envisioned by NIDSS-an arm of MYK Crime Control Services, in collaboration with Women Advocate for Safer Schools Network and other security agencies. It seeks to mobilize parents, policymakers, school officials, students and religious groups across the nation. The goals of this campaign awareness is to educate the audience on the elements of school safety, engage all stakeholders in making more schools safer, and facilitate the development of strategic plans that will effectively address each school’s unique safety and security concerns. Intimidation, harassment, bullying, suicide bombing activities, kidnapping threat and other anti-social behaviors can serve as the foundation for lethal events in the future, if no serious action is been taken, and it is consider now to be predictors of more serious crimes in schools and elsewhere.
From statistics, as of September 2006, there were more than 1.7million internally displaced persons in the state of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa which was most affected by boko haram insurgency. Boko haram rejected western education and attacks public and private schools. On this note, educational facilities were destroyed, school teachers killed and students kidnapped. Between 2009 and 2015, attacks in northern Nigeria destroyed more than 910 schools and forced at least more than 1,500 to close. In April 2014, over 200 girls between age 16 and 18 were abducted from a secondary school in the Nigerian town of chibok by boko haram insurgents; also in April 2018, the same attack was carry out on the Dapchi Secondary School Girls’ were over 100 girls were kidnapped.
Furthermore, some shocking school attacks from the South-West of Nigeria cannot be left out, the likes of Turkish Int’l School, the Lagos Model College, Igbonla, Epe, and the Barbington Macaulay Junior School, Ikorodu, all of these attacks, are from the same underlying causes and makes no sense to consider each one separately, but can endanger the educational objectives of the government and deny the human right for education, for a large number of Nigerians boys and girls.
“No child should have to worry about their safety when in school”. The priority of this initiative is to adhere to people’s opinion by closely examine ways to better protect our nation’s students and school against violence and attacks. “While federal, state and local partners have primary responsibility for the physical security at schools, through training, best practices guide, workshops, and table top exercises loaded under this initiative, we hope to foster a culture of preparedness in our academic communities. However, we are working with partners around the country to harden these vulnerable targets and by ensuring administrators and stakeholders in the education community, teachers, parents, students, law enforcement, and first responders are parts of this effort, so as to better educate the academic communities on schools emergency preparedness.
The campaign awareness is set to mobilize 30 million ‘First Responders’ that will lead and drive the vision of Save-our-Schools/Be Safe and Sound in School to every community in the country. It will however provide a social networking platform that allows people to access urgent information, sharing of ideas, and to make PLEDGE towards an enabling environment for the school children. In addition, the initiative is set to motivate people to become active in school safety matters by positively contributing self-professional strategy and which collectively can the system in tackling potential harmful situations, and to respond in a way that could positively influence the outcome of any situations.
The campaign awareness is set to cut across the Six (6) geo-political zones of the country, with the participation of government officials, professionals from civil society organizations, religious groups, school staff, students and parents; all joining hands in championing the cause of children and school safety. Through this platform, students and school staff will have the opportunity to learn diverse of safety measures from spectrum of experts, genuine ideas and information that could positively contribute to the recent challenges confronting the academic communities, and a platform in which safety and security experts share practical steps on how schools can improve on emergency preparedness, emergency planning, and of it all, necessary drills that guaranteed safety at all times.
At the forefront of this movement, schools are placed at the driver’s seat, flagging the SAVE-OUR-SCHOOLS and Be Safe and Sound in School banner; this however, allows them to communicate the principles behind their declaration, and to make a demands from government, and seek support from whom it may concerns. While many effective programs and projects exist to end violence against children and improve on school safety, ‘Save-our-Schools’ and ‘Be Safe and Sound in School’, campaign awareness offers a unique opportunity, and provide a platform at which voices advocating for children and school safety are amplified at both federal, state and at local level respectively.
The initiative has a toolkit and will guide and assist schools in implementing a comprehensive all-round safety model in their schools. It include a step-by-step procedure for assessing school safety and security, forming action team, identifying problems, holding a forum with stakeholders to brainstorm solutions, developing an actions plan and building support for it, and evaluating the results. This campaign awareness will provides all the necessary materials that schools need to implement a better process starting from surveys, to identify the problems, to a sample press release, and schools media advisory to publicize their moves and efforts’.
This initiative is not a cookie cutter awareness program; it is a network of school-led, civil populace initiative and that share common belief on the importance of school and children safety. It however adherers to a few, powerful tenets which include:
- Identification of problems of intolerance, school threat and violence.
- Solutions defined by students and addressed through peer-to-peer actions, and
- A collective voice from the entire school community coming together to say “SAVE OUR SCHOOLS”- “Be Safe and Sound in School”.
- Preparedness drills and other counter-attack activities.
- Community enlightenment
In conclusion, our children are the most important resource. Ensuring that they are safe and secure in the schools across our country is our most important task.
Oshunmakinde Mayokun Adedayo
Convener, The Nigerian Safe School Week Initiative