Ministry launches Model Safe School Programme

Senior Education Officer, Carol Benn

Yesterday morning, the Ministry of Education launched The Model Safe School Programme (MSSP) Training and Competition in the auditorium of the National Centre for Educational Resource Development (NCERD).

According to a Ministry of Education press release, the training will be spread over five days and its objective is to train representatives from relevant national institutions involved in school safety. This will result in the creation of national teams to undertake vulnerability assessments in schools.

The release stated that the programme was developed to assist participating states in creating safer and greener educational facilities.

“This programme is designed to assist states in implementing processes that will result in safer and greener educational institutions/facilities. It will work towards the continued reduction of risks at schools and establish an ideal yet adaptable approach to risk management at the school level,” the release quoted Senior Education Officer, Carol Benn as saying.

Meanwhile, according to the release, Deputy Executive Director of the CDEMA, Elizabeth Riley said that the training to be done in Guyana is one component of the Carib-bean Safe School Initiative being jointly implemented by CDEMA, the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States and other regional partners. Funding is being provided by the Austrian Development Agency.

“In keeping with the priority of building resistance in the education sector, CDEMA has developed the Model Safe School Programme (MSSP) Toolkit to assist its participating states to create safer and greener educational facilities. The MSSP Toolkit covers pre-primary to post-secondary institutions in the private and public sectors as was endorsed by the CDEMA Council of Ministers in 2015. It

provides guidance for the development of a national safe school policy and tools for assessing the levels of safety and greenness of schools,” the release quoted her as saying.

According to the release, Permanent Secretary, Vibert Welch extended on behalf of the Ministry, heartfelt gratitude to CDEMA, the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) and the Austrian Development Cooperation for including Guyana in the MSSP which was developed in 2015.

“We in Guyana are indeed fortunate to be a part of this strategic initiative that will certainly catalyse the transformation of Guyana’s schools into safe zones and more so to ensure the ‘quality education’ experience that we so often speak about,” the release quoted him as saying.

Meanwhile, Head of the Civil Defence Commission Colonel Ramsarup during his remarks said that the world today is faced with global warming and is affected by climate change. He warned that 80 per cent of Guyana’s population is below sea-level. The release quoted him as saying, “We have to anticipate a lot of disasters, particularly as it relates to flooding as well as droughts.”

According to the release, Chief Education Officer, Marcel Hutson said that it is important that Guyana positions itself to be in a state of readiness in the event that a natural or man-made disaster occurs. He said that it must be noted that there is a fundamental link between day to day emergency readiness and disaster preparedness.

“Children spend a large part of their time in school so the role of the Ministry of Education is critical to developing a comprehensive safe school model. A model intended to give schools, departments and communities the critical concepts and components of good crisis planning, stimulate thinking about crisis preparedness process and provide examples of promising practices,” the release quoted him as saying.

According to the release, Guyana, along with five other Caribbean Countries will participate in the competition. As part of the competition, the Ministry and CDEMA will conduct the MSSP training that will culminate on November 10, 2017. Today, the team will be at Diamond Secondary School; on November 8 – Tucville Secondary School; November 9 – South Ruimveldt Secondary and the last session will be on November 10 at NCERD.






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