Insecurity: We must make our schools safe, secure at all costs — FG
THE Federal Government has called on state governments and other stakeholders to ensure that educational institutions are made safe and secure for teachers and learners.
Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu who made the call in Abuja, added that the Federal Government is committed and working towards ending the spate of terror and kidnapping for ransom in the country while ensuring that school environments are made safe and conducive.
According to the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) report, no fewer than 1,436 school children have been abducted in Nigeria, mainly in the North-central and North-west, in the last two years.
UNICEF also, revealed that at least 16 school children lost their lives to different non-state armed attacks in the federation while 17 teachers were kidnapped from schools.
However, the Minister of Education said various measures have been put in place to guarantee safety of school children and teachers, disclosing that the National Council on Education (NCE), had also approved the national policy on school safety and violence-free schools in Nigeria as well as its implementation guidelines.
Adamu noted that following the domestication of Safe School Declaration (SSD) in Nigeria, the Federal Ministry of Education in October, 2021 hosted an international conference on the SSD to share experience and knowledge with other Sahel countries in addressing attacks on education.
He further disclosed that the government had secured $20 million for accelerated emergency funding for the North East zone from Global Partnership for Education while the Federal Ministry of Education carried out effective sensitisation on the implementation of the Safe School Declaration (SSD) Initiative.
He added that the ministry had also conducted vulnerability surveys on schools in order to devise robust security strategies and had also constructed perimeter walls around schools, installed CCTV/ alarm systems in schools; temporarily abolished boarding in rural areas, coached students and teachers on emergency security measures and created a special security unit for schools.
“While the Federal Government and some states and the FCT have done their best to arrest the situation, several other states are lagging behind. I would like to call on every state to rise up to their responsibilities, and provide a safe and secure learning environment for both the students and teachers,” Adamu said.
Also speaking, the president of Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) Comrade Audi Titus Amba, urged both the federal and state governments to give top priority attention to the protection of schools, while addressing other challenges confronting education in Nigeria.
He listed some of these challenges requiring urgent attention to include shortage of teachers, poor infrastructure, lack of instructional materials, insecurity in schools, inadequate funding and poor conditions of service in general.
He said: “It is regrettable that this deplorable state of education and poor working conditions of teachers are adversely affecting education service delivery, especially in the public sector. “
“Let me use this occasion to reiterate our call on governments at both national and sub-national levels to place high premium on education and accord teachers their pride of place in society.
“In this regard, we must brace up as a nation to invest adequately in education by raising the budgetary allocations to education in line with the internationally recommended benchmarks of at least 4 to 6 percent of GDP and/or 15 to 20 percent of public expenditure,” he said.