By Magnus Emuji
Afro Centre for Development, Peace and Justice (AFRODEP) has stressed the need for stakeholders especially government at all levels to put effective measures in place towards ensuring the safety of lives, violence-free learning for children and teachers in the school environment.
Executive Director of AFRODEP, Augusta Impact Keneboh, stated this at Government Primary School, Junior Staff Quarters, Asaba during sensitisation and focal group discussion on safe school declaration.
Augusta Impact said that the organisation was selected, trained and supported by the Development, Research and Projects Centre (DRPC) in partnership with Ford Foundation to carry out sensitization, information sharing and Focal Group Discussion with key stakeholders on safe schools, security and violence-free learning environment.
She said that it was imperative to enlighten the pupils, students and teachers in the state on salient safety tips as well as preparedness for emergencies responses in the school environment.
The AFRODEP Executive Director, noted during the meeting the various roles parents, community leaders, civil society organisations, educational institutions, security agencies can play towards the safety of the children either in the school learning environment or in the Community.
She also x-rayed the National Policy on Safety, Security and Violence-Free Schools with its implementing guidelines by the Federal Ministry of Education and advocated that the recommendation in the policy be domesticated in Delta State as this will prevent armed conflicts, disruption of the schooling system and maximize long periods of learning time both informal and formal educational system.
While urging parents to always communicate with their children as a result of the threatening security challenges befalling the nation, Augusta said that their international organisation’s Partners deemed it necessary to organise the sensitisation in five pilot Local Government Areas in Delta to equip not only stakeholders on how best to respond to every security situation but children who are the most vulnerable and affected during a conflict if actions are not taken on time.
On the next step after the sensitisation, she said that policy advocacies would be organised to interface with the relevant state government on the essence of scaling up the implementation of the National safety policy in Local Government Areas and at the state level.
She acknowledged the State Government for the educational infrastructural projects and programmes as more robust interventions in areas of school safety, security and violence-free learning environment should be given urgent attention following the recent trends such as molestation, bullying, threats, killings, violence situations across the country.