Stakeholders discuss emergency preparedness & safe school promotion


March 20, 2018 By Ibrahim Tarawallie


The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology yesterday brought together stakeholders in the sector, as well as security agencies, to discuss emergency preparedness and the need to ensure safer schools whenever conflict or disaster breaks out.

Sierra Leone has already joined the Safe Schools Declaration – an inter-governmental political commitment that provides countries with opportunity to express support for protecting students, teachers, schools, and universities from attack during times of armed conflict, the importance of continuation of education during armed conflict and implementation of concrete measures to deter military use of schools.

By joining the Safe Schools Declaration, states commit to undertake several common-sense steps that make it less likely for students, teachers, schools, and universities to be attacked, and to mitigate negative consequences when such attacks occur.

According to Deputy Director of Education Management Information System, John K. Ansumana, the essence of the session, held at the Hill Valley Hotel in Freetown, was for participants, especially those from the security sector, to appreciate what is entailed in the Safe Schools Promotion and guidelines to protect schools and universities from military use during conflict.

He stressed the need to save schools and educational institutions from the effect of armed conflict and other emergencies whenever they occur, while encouraging participants to join the campaign.

Also, Assistant Director of Junior and Senior Secondary Schools in the Ministry of Education, Salamatu Koroma, described the declaration as sensitive because it addressed issues of school safety.

“Schools and universities are adversely affected during conflicts and we want to find ways of curtailing or eradicating it. We need to protect our schools and universities when we have conflict,” she said.

A representative of the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), Dr.
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Aiah Mbayo, reiterated the organisation’s commitment to continue their support to ensuring the safety of schools and children.

He noted that their support over the years have been to provide resources needed by the ministry to ensure that the learning environment is conducive for all.