National School Safety Policy Set to Be Completed by November 2019

Basseterre, St. Kitts, October 01, 2019 (SKNIS): The Ministry of Education is currently hosting Model Safe School Toolkit Workshop from September 30 to October 03 at the Ocean Terrace Inn (OTI), which will aid in the development of a National School Safety Policy set to be completed by November, 2019.

The Model Safe School Toolkit was borne out of the Model Safe School Programme (MSSP).

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As stated by the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR), the MSSP is designed to assist CDEMA Participating States with implementing processes that result in safer and greener educational facilities.

Its Toolkit comprises a policy that can be adopted by governments and Ministries of Education, tools for assessing the level of safety and greenness of schools, a template Emergency/Disaster Plan that can be adapted to a school’s specific situation and hazard context, and, finally, a list of tools and guidance documents that can be utilized to create safer and greener institutions.

According to cdema.org, the toolkit will essentially guide governments on the development of National Safe School Policies, and to offer tools for assessing the level of safety and greening of schools.

At the launch of the National Safe Schools Programme Committee and the Development of the National School Safety Policy in March 2018, Minister of Education, the Honourable Shawn Richards stated that “A National School Safety Policy is an important document to have in our schools. It will provide guidelines for specific protocols and procedures which must be followed, before, during and after a crisis. The policy will influence a comprehensive approach to planning for and managing a myriad of potential natural and man-made hazards and safety issues within our schools.”

Dr. Tricia Esdaille, Senior Assistant Secretary in the Ministry of Education, stated that the ministry signed on to the project in 2017 and “has provided extensive training to national stakeholders in both St. Kitts and Nevis on the use of the Model Safe School Programme (MSSP) Toolkit, which has been developed to allow for the rapid assessment of schools to vulnerabilities such as natural disasters as well as internal and external hazards within school plants.”

The September 30 to October 03 workshop is the fifth mission in the project that started in 2017.

The Missions held thus far include:

Mission 1 October 2017 – Training for Stakeholders on the MSSP Toolkit; Mission 2 November 2018 – Assessment of Selected Schools in St. Kitts and Nevis by Consultant from University of Technology (U-TECH) Jamaica; Mission 3 May 2019 – National School Safety Policy Consultation and Continued Assessments of Schools; Mission 4 July 2019 – Training for Technical Experts on the “Enhanced Building Condition Assessment Tool” (E-BCAT) facilitated by U-TECH Jamaica; and Mission 5 – (1) Training for stakeholders on the Revised Version of the MSSP Toolkit and (2) Validation of the First Draft of the National Safe School Policy.

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