Published 11 October 2023
Buckie Got It, St Kitts Nevis News Source
MINISTRY OF EDUCATION LAUNCHES SAFE SCHOOLS RECOGNITION PROGRAMME
Basseterre, St. Kitts, Wednesday October 11, 2023: A series of training sessions, aimed at safe school recognition in St. Kitts and Nevis, began on Monday October 9, 2023, under the theme: Transforming Education through Self Renewal, Holistic Partnerships and Digital Solutions.
Chief Education Officer, Mr. Francil Morris, explained the importance of safe schools.
“School safety is a very critical part of teaching and learning. As we participated in these activities, they have been quite engaging and have reminded all of us as educators that school safety must be an integral part of everything that we do within our spaces to ensure that our students and stakeholders remain safe. The safety measures that we discussed, go beyond just natural and man-made disasters. We also looked at the psychosocial support that is required for persons within our spaces. We also noted the fact that school safety goes beyond the regular drills that take place in our schools but is something that should be inculcated in every activity within our school.”
UNICEF representative, Ms. Wendy Elliott-Williams, affirmed the organization’s commitment to support the initiative that the Ministry of Education has adopted.
“UNICEF is proud to be a partner of CDEMA, not only in emergency preparedness and response, but also inadaptation and building resilience across the region to mitigate the impact of climate change and other natural hazards on education. We are here supporting the comprehensive safety framework which seeks to reduce the risks of all hazards in the educations sector. We look forward to continued promotion of your commitment, innovation and leadership in education sector alongside the promotion of good practices for safe school standards.”
Mr. Bernez Khodra, Senior Programme Officer, Safe Schools CDEMA, gave insight into the rational for the SSRP.
“This Programme is geared at looking at safety measures schools have undertaken, as well as training school principals and safety officers in the general efforts and helping them put together their school safety plans. This recognition safety programme goes one step further in that we will be recognizing schools for their accomplishments, their innovations, and their input in terms of school safety. We are also going to be training our assessors, who will be going out to assess schools in various areas as it pertains to school safety.”
As the training session is nearing completion, one participant, Mrs. Isha Williams-Jackson, shared her experiences of the training.
“I can say that it has been a rewarding experience. We have learnt quite a lot. We have learnt about disaster mitigation and disaster recovery; we have also learnt that disaster doesn’t only pertain to natural disasters and school safety doesn’t only pertain to protection from hurricanes and earthquakes. We have to look at the school holistically, we have to look at the facility, we have to look at the security, we have to look at the building and we have to look at student security as well in terms of gang violence and all of those types of incidents. I must say that from this workshop, I am able to return to my school and impart to my staff and my students and put in place a safety program that will continue to enhance the safety and security of my school.”
The Caribbean Safe School Initiative is part of the efforts by UNICEF in concert with CDEMA and the Ministry of Education to develop national strategies for school safety.