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Ensuring safe and secure learning in schools

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By Mercy Kelani

FG, with support from stakeholders, will ensure safety and security in schools.

Following the critical Security challenges facing Nigeria, the Federal Government has revealed that efforts are currently being made to launch a national plan that will aid the financing of Safe Schools across the country. With this initiative by the Federal Government, The World Bank, the United States of America, United Kingdom, Norway, and other development partners have reassured their support regarding initiatives that aim at the enthronement of a safe and secure learning environment in Nigerian schools.

An hint about the proposed national plan was disclosed by the Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, at a summit on “Safeguarding Our Schools” (SOS), organized by the Emergency Coordination Centre (ECC), in Abuja. The initiative would be launched before the end of the third quarter of 2022; it will incorporate state level plans, likewise sectoral plans of the Federal Government. Prior to the launch, adequate budgetary allocation will be ensured to enable a safe environment to teach, learn, and renew confidence in the Education system.

The implementation of the plan will begin from ‘Most at Risk states.’

The minister further stated that the Federal Ministry of Finance and National Planning has set a committee with members from relevant Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs), Federal Ministry of Education, the military, and other Security agencies, for the collation of inputs and development of a National plan for Financing Safe Schools. There will be an incorporation of state level plans and Federal Government sectoral plans, which emphasizes adequate budgetary allocation and a secured learning environment.

Currently, consultations are going on with states, local governments, and other relevant government agencies. Also, the established committee is making efforts towards identifying the most transparent, effective and accountable ways to aid the mobilization and deployment of resources. The committee aims at developing a huge collaborative cost that forms the plan that would bring about the adoption of the society to Safe Schools. The implementation of the national plan will then begin at ‘Most at Risk States.’

The federal government has launched initiatives for safe learning.

In addition, the implementation of the plan would clarify ways by which Nigeria intends to ensure the protection of schools and other institutions of learning, so as to enable students get back to a safer and secured learning environment. In respect to the national plan, the Federal Government of Nigeria has put in place some initiatives. One of such initiatives is the launching of the Safe School Initiative (SSI) that aims at ensuring that children who are affected by conflict and Insecurity are able to further their Education without any form of hindrance.

Another of such initiatives came into play on the December 31st, 2022, when His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, endorsed the Safe Schools Declaration Ratification Documents which acts as a signal of the country’s commitment towards the implementation of the inter-governmental commitment in the country. Mrs. Ahmed also added that the Federal Government, together with local and global stakeholders, assembled a high-level forum, for the Finance of Safe Schools, partnering with the Emergency Coordination Centre, UNICEF, and other stakeholders.

USA, UK, and Norway pledge their supports for safe education.

In regards to ensuring safer schools in the country, Shubham Chaudhuri, The World Bank country representative for Nigeria, expressed how important Education is to enable the safety and Security of the world in the future. With this, he urged the Nigerian government and other stakeholders to see to the safety of children in schools. Furthermore, the ambassador of the United States of America, Berth Leonard; United Kingdom, Catrine Laing; and Norway, Knit Elli Lein, in their individual comments, guaranteed the support of their home countries for the assurance of safe teaching and learning environment in Nigeria.

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