PAKISTAN SCHOOL SAFETY FRAMEWORK (PSSF) A NATIONAL PRIORITY
Initiative will go a long way in improving the safety standards at schools
Islamabad 28th March, 2017:
Pakistan School Safety Framework (PSSF) is an initiative of National Priority and will go a long way in improving the safety standards of educational institutions in Pakistan, a country highly prone to natural and man-made disasters. The views were expressed by the participants of National Level Consultative Meeting on implementation of the Pakistan Schools Safety Framework (PSSF) held in Islamabad on Tuesday.
The purpose of the Consultative Meeting was to share the findings of the Pilot Programme of PSSF with all stakeholders and to get their valuable input. Detailed deliberations were carried out in the moot on the future implementation strategies for the PSSF in the whole country. The meeting was attended by Provincial Ministers for Education, Secretaries for Education and Disaster Management, Director Generals PDMAs, high level representation from P&D departments, Police, Rescue 1122, private school executives, UN representatives development partners and other high ranking government officials.
National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), in collaboration with UNICEF undertook a well-deliberated initiative of formulating Pakistan School Safety Framework as envisaged in Disaster Management Act 2010 and National Education Policy 2009. This Framework provides guidance to all stake holders to ensure safety and Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) in schools while focusing on Child Centered Disaster Risk Management. Safe learning environment, preparedness against hazards at schools, to evolve a response mechanism, to sensitize stakeholders on DRR and ensuring participation of children in building resilience are some of the key objective of the PSSF.
Pakistan School Safety Framework was developed after a series of National level consultative meeting with all stakeholders. At National Consultation Workshop on 17-18 August, 2016 a consensus was achieved on a Draft Document and it was recommended to pilot test the PSSF in 68 selected government and private schools. The pilot programme was conducted from November 2016 to February 2017 in 68 Schools (Federal/Provincial/Private) all across the country. It involved specialized training of nominated teachers in schools safety plan, formulation of school safety teams and carrying out self-assessment of school safety standards. Beside that it involved training of District Department Officers (education, police, building control) in carrying out evolution of safety standards of schools with respect of infrastructure, physical security, fire safety, environment and psychosocial security. The overall key finding of the Pilot programme were shared in the Consultative meeting with stakeholders on Tuesday.
The Consultative Moot deliberated on questions like, whether PSSF was practicable, comprehensive and aligned with the environment of Pakistan? What could be the challenges in sustainable implementations? Enabling measures needed for implementation? Ownership matrix at policy and implementation levels?, and many other such question which involved practical implication of PSSF.
Speaking on the occasion UNICEF Representative, Ms. Angela Kearney expressed that “It is very important not only to think about physical security, but also of psychological safety,” said Angela Kearney, UNICEF Representative in Pakistan. “Children should feel safe in schools and well prepared to cope with a disaster. From experience in other countries, we know that children who are taught about the risks of disasters, play an important role in saving lives and protecting other members of the community. School safety therefore, must be an absolute priority.”
Minister of State for Information Ms. Maryam Aurangzaib, while speaking to the participants said that students are the future of Pakistan and it is our top priority to provide them a safe and secure learning environment. Government of Pakistan is making every possible effort to initiate public welfare projects and Pakistan School Safety Framework is a significant step towards a secure future for students, schools and the education system in Pakistan at large. She reiterated the need for a joint effort for a befitting implementation of the PSSF.
Chairman NDMA, Major General Asghar Nawaz addressing to the delegates said, “Pakistan School Safety Framework present the opportunity for a safe future for our new generations.
He informed the participant that PSSF Draft was developed through an extensive process of consulting all the major stakeholders and pre-testing it through a Pilot Project. He further said that NDMA was committed to take forward this Framework for sustainable Implementation.