International Day of Education: UNICEF says only 43% safe standards met in 6,000 schools

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has called for concerted efforts to enhance school safety in Nigeria, saying,  only 43 per cent of the Minimum Standards for Safe Schools are being met in about 6,000 assessed schools.

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UNICEF Nigeria Country Representative, Ms. Cristian Munduate disclosed this  on Wednesday in her message to mark the 2024 International Day of Education with the theme: “Learning for Lasting Peace”.

Munduate highlighted Nigeria’s commitment to creating safe school environments by endorsing the Safe Schools Declaration and developing the Minimum Standards for Safe Schools.

She said there is the need for further progress, emphasising the collective responsibility in safeguarding the educational environment for every child.

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“The theme of the 2024 International Day of Education, ‘learning for lasting peace,’ underscores the crucial role of education in promoting peace and stability. It serves as a reminder to all stakeholders of the importance of providing safe, secure learning environments.”

Munduate also pointed out the challenges faced by Nigerian children, particularly adolescent girls, whose educational journey is often disrupted by attacks on communities and schools, including the abduction of students.

She noted that recent attacks on schools have led to learning disruptions for over 1.3 million children, necessitating precautionary school closures, and highlighting the urgency of addressing school safety comprehensively.

“UNICEF calls for a multi-sectoral approach to improve school safety, informed by the performance of states on the Minimum Standards for Safe Schools. This approach should include comprehensive planning, coordination, and adequate resource allocation, especially in states with higher risks,” she said.

Also, she noted the importance of alternative learning platforms, such as the Nigerian Learning Passport, which offers curriculum-aligned materials and is crucial for ensuring continuity of education, especially during school closures.

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