• Tuesday, April 16, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

UNICEF decries attack, abuse on school children in Bauchi, other states

UNICEF, Ebonyi pledge to end hidden hunger

…Trains over 300 teachers on safety measures

The United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) has conducted a three-day training workshop for Heads of Primary and secondary schools as well as School-Based Management Committees (SBMCs) in Misau Local Government Area of Bauchi State.

The Chief of UNICEF Field Office, Bauchi branch, Tushar Rane, who addressed the participants at the training which took place at Mangari Primary School in Misau town, said that the training was aimed at building capacity and strengthening teachers, and community leaders on safe school guidelines.

Read also: Over 7.4m boys disengaged from education in Nigeria — UNICEF

According to him, “Nigeria has witnessed instances of attacks on education which has led to a significant number of students discontinuing their schooling due to the disruption of educational activities.”

Rane further pointed out that education fosters socio-economic prosperity, and other elements for achieving peace, but regretted that children can’t even reap the protective and peace-building advantages of education.

Read also: UNICEF calls for renewed commitment to reforming Nigeria’s education

He further decried that children’s access to education is disrupted by factors such as; occupation by state or non-state actors, fear of attacks, and other related reasons, including school-related gender-based violence, encompassing physical, emotional, and sexual forms.

The UNICEF field officer also observed that bullying can lead to severe mental health consequences, diminished self-esteem, heightened rates of school dropout and poor attendance.

He disclosed that a recent assessment showed that, on average, approximately 43 percent of the Minimum Standards for Safe Schools are being fulfilled across approximately 6,000 evaluated schools in Nigeria.

Rane pointed out that the Nigerian government has initiated various policies to ensure the safety of students and teachers both within and beyond school premises.

He said that the initiatives include, the Safe Schools Initiative (SSI), the Domestication of the Safe Schools Declaration (SSD), the establishment of Minimum Standards for Safe Schools, the National Policy on Safety, Security, and Violence-Free Schools (NPSSVFS), and the Implementation Guidelines.

According to him, the Minimum safety school standards are broken down into six key result areas to include; Strong school system; Violence against children; Natural hazards; Conflict; Everyday hazards; and Safe school infrastructure.

“We are enhancing the capacity of frontline workers including 1,385 teachers, head-teachers, and school-based management committees at the basic education level, equipping them to respond to emergencies, including school attacks, and developed school emergency preparedness response plans to make sure the schools are safe and habitable for students, teachers and all stakeholders to carry out their activities without risks,” he said.

According to him, the ongoing capacity building efforts include training the first cohort of 350 teachers across six local government areas of Ganjuwa, Alkaleri, Toro, Shira, Zaki, and Ningi in Bauchi State.

“Simultaneously, the second cohort, undergoing across Adamawa, Bauchi, and Gombe states comprising 200 frontline workers in Bauchi across Misau, Dass, Giade and Darazo local government areas of Bauchi state,” Rane disclosed.

He further said that the UNICEF was working with the state governments to increase public financing for safe schools by engaging high-level government and political stakeholders and providing technical support to establish safe school committees.