The Ministry of Education and the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency, CDEMA, last week launched the Model of Safe School Programme in Dominica.
The Safe School Programme is geared at ensuring that all school infrastructure is of a safe and climate resilient standard.
According to the Hon Minister for Education, Petter Saint Jean the launching of this Programme in Dominica is in line with government’s plan for building Dominica into the first climate resilient nation in the world.
“The programme itself is intended to address some of the glaring vulnerabilities of the education sector and offer tools for making Dominica’s schools safer against threats posed by natural disasters. The Ministry of Education operates with a clear objective of improving the abilities and skills of all children to maximize their potential so that they may enjoy healthy lives and contribute positively society,” Hon Saint Jean said.
The minister explained that “the programme is heavily focused on the inspection of schools, conduct of school safety audits and vulnerability assessments; and the safety programme itself was designed to bolster Dominica’s ongoing considerations of risk and disaster management issues in the development of the policy.”
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Chandler Hyacinth, addressing the launching ceremony, described the school safety programme as a vehicle for ensuring the safety of all Dominican students.
She noted that this will enhance the work of schools and the Ministry of Education.
“It is expected that participating schools will benefit from the training as using the safety standards and the application of the assessment tools will provide us with a means to understand the anatomy of risk they face thus enabling them to make fact-based decisions on the design and implementation of the programme to increase resilience of schools. This model will enhance the work of school administrators and the Ministry of Education,” she said.
Hyacinth mentioned the ability to develop evidence-based action plans that will reduce the risk of damage to schools, ability to assess their schools vulnerability and ability to plan to reduce the risk of damage to a school plant from natural and other human hazard as some of the expectation from the implementation of this programme.
The CDEMA Model School Safety Programme for Caribbean schools Toolkit was developed to equip schools with tools for identifying infrastructural vulnerabilities as it relates to climate change and natural disasters in order to assist schools to become safer in operation and infrastructure.
The implementation of the Model Safe Schools Programme in the Caribbean will, among other things, enhance the capacity of participating states to incorporate and mainstream comprehensive risk and disaster management consideration in education sector policies, planning and operations.
The planned duration of the project is twenty-four months.