Coalition moves to create safe spaces in Kaduna schools
A coalition of 11 Civil Society Organisations (CSO’s) under the aegis of the Safe Schools Initiative and SSD has sought the support of the Kaduna State Ministry of Education on the implementation of the National Policy on Safe Schools and the Minimum Standard for Safe School.
Members of the Safe Schools Technical Working Group who took an advocacy visit to the Ministry of Education, Kaduna state urged the ministry to take the lead in providing safe schools in the state.
The project, set up in the Development Research and Projects Centre (dRPC) with the support from Ford Foundation aims at addressing the issues of safe schools in the state.
Speaking at the meeting, the Team lead, Swanta Bonat said the group will try to identify the risks faced by peculiar schools as well as collaborate with security agencies to deliver on its mandate.
She said the group has undergo training on how to implement the minimum standard for safe schools and the national policy on safety and security in schools, saying, “We have been able to organise step-down trainings for 90 head teachers, teachers, School Based Management Committees (SBMC’s) and even students so that they will also be empowered to step it down to their school communities at large.”
According to her, “We have, as individual CSO’s, carried out activities on safe schools in our various schools and communities across the state. Our mandate is to coordinate with the government in harmonizing efforts to implement the national policy on safety, security and violence free schools, minimum standard for safe schools and the recommendation from the 4th International Safe Schools conference held in October 202 and to also address the issue of safe schools in the state.”
She noted that the minimum standards for safe schools and the national policy were made up by the Federal Ministry of Education for implementation and urged the state ministry to take the lead in driving the process in Kaduna.
She added, “Our action plan and what we request from the state is to map out schools and other CSO’s, establishes a coordination structure at state, local and community level, establish safe schools focal points and network management as well as build capacity of identified and mapped out safe school partners.”
Responding, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Kaduna state, Dr. Halliru Musa Soba described the initiative as timely especially as the 2023 general elections draw near.
Represented by the Overseer, Public Schools Department at the ministry, Habibu Alhassan, the perm sec however, assured of the ministries support in ensuring safety in Kaduna schools.
According to him, “It is very unfortunate that the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) is not here because they are a key stakeholder. Out of the 4810 public schools in the state, SUBEB owns 4260, and even out of the 550 public schools merged by the ministry, 106 have moved to SUBEB, the participation of the agency in this initiative is important.”
On how structures will be put in place, he said, “Already, there is a slow government structure in the ministry as well as SUBEB, so things will not be so difficult to establish our structures, our focal people at local government level, community or even school, we have a lot of people there that can be brought on board to be our focal persons at whatever outlet, no matter how little the outlet are.”
He assured that the issue of staffing to manage the project down the ladder will not be a problem. “We pray for the success of this laudable project because we all yearn to see that our students are learning in very safe spaces in Kaduna state.”
Adding his voice, the Assistant Planning Officer, Department of Educational Planning and Development, Abbas Shehu working with groups like these will lead to the increase in the standard of education, in terms of access to education, quality of education and continuity of education as far as the ministry is concerned.