In a bid to ensure the safety of students in public and private boarding schools in the State, the Lagos State Ministry of Education and the Office of Education Quality Assurance (OEQA) have held a stakeholders’ meeting on safety in schools amidst the prevalence of security challenges in Nigeria.
In her address at the event, the Commissioner for Education, Mrs. Folasade Adefisayo, noted that the strategic meeting was in response to the prevailing security issues in society, noting that the government is being proactive by organising the meeting to ensure that students in boarding facilities across the State are safe and secure.
The Commissioner urged students not to accept gifts or engage in any form of conversation with strangers while admonishing parents to follow all security protocols put in place by schools, especially those with boarding facilities, stressing that security instructions and tips concerning children should be topmost on the mind of every parent or guardian.
She said the State government is not resting on its oars in ensuring that top-notch security is provided in both private and public schools, urging the general public to support the government in every possible way in order to protect the students.
Also speaking, the Director-General, Office of Education Quality Assurance (OEQA), Mrs. Abiola Seriki-Ayeni, remarked that the State Government will continue to put in place adequate measures to nip the menace of insecurity in schools in the bud, noting that OEQA, as an office responsible for ensuring quality standards in schools below tertiary level in Lagos State, will continue to work tirelessly in ensuring the safety of students so that teaching and learning will continue uninterrupted.
Seriki-Ayeni, while emphasising that government should not be left alone to tackle the issue of safety and security in schools, said the doors of OEQA are opened for opinions and suggestions on how to improve on the education standards as they affect learning outcomes in the State.
She said that in the event of any safety and security issues in schools, complaints should be forwarded to the Office of Education Quality Assurance or the complainant can fill the incident report form on the OEQA website www.oeqalagos.com.
On his part, the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, CP Hakeem Odumosu, spoke on the need to enhance security and safety in boarding schools in the State, saying “The incessant kidnapping in the country has stimulated the Lagos State Police Command to assess the general security of schools with a view to taking hands-on measures on the students’ safety”.
He added that the Command had taken steps such as the identification of schools, threat analysis, intelligence gathering, multi-agency collaboration, community policing and deployment of adequate police personnel to these schools towards ensuring utmost safety in all schools, especially those in remote areas.
CP Odumosu admonished all schools to install CCTV cameras, keep numbers of security personnel handy, introduce stringent access control and establish security towers where possible.
While advising all boarding schools to have a daily headcount at night and morning, he encouraged the students not to divulge personal information to strangers and endeavour to move in groups in and out of the school premises.
The Director-General, Lagos Safety Commission, Mr. Lanre Mojola, in his speech titled “Safety in Lagos Schools”, described safety as the condition of being protected from anything that can cause danger, risk or injury.
Mojola advised all administrators of schools to have in place emergency preparedness and communication process plans, which can be achieved through safety management components such as safety policy, safety awareness, safety management and risk assessment.
He said schools can enhance safety through the erection of perimeter fencing, security lighting, assess control, visitors management, school and community intervention, as well as the training and retraining of security personnel, amongst others.