Only 37% Of Schools Across 10 States Have Early Warning Systems -Report


By Alice Etuka, Abuja

According to a report released by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), only 37 per cent of schools across 10 states have early warning systems in place to identify threats, such as school attacks.

The report, titled ‘Minimum Standards for Safe Schools (MSSS) Monitoring Report,’ released on Monday, April 15, 2024 in Abuja revealed a stark reality that the journey toward ensuring every Nigerian child learn in a safe environment was far from over.

Analysis from the report looked at 6 result areas – strong school system, violence against children, natural hazards, conflict, everyday hazards, and safe school infrastructure – and uncovered significant disparities in the implementation of safe school standards across Nigerian states.

It revealed that Borno State, with a 70 per cent fulfilment of the standards, exemplifies a strong commitment to child safety amidst adversity. Yobe State also demonstrated promising progress. In contrast, Kaduna and Sokoto states lagged significantly, with fulfilment rates at just 25 per cent and 26 per cent, respectively.

In addition to the finding on early warning systems and conflict, the report showed that while schools perform relatively well in terms of training school-based management committees on safety and responding to children’s well-being concerns, only 14 per cent of the participating schools across the 10 assessed states had functioning, safe, accessible infrastructure and just 36 per cent had school staff trained on natural hazards.

UNICEF disclosed that the analysis came on the heels of disturbing reports of violence affecting schools, with brazen abductions of students on the rise:

“In the last 10 years, conflict-related violence has led to more than 1,680 children abducted while at school and elsewhere; 180 children killed due to attacks on schools; an estimated 60 school staff kidnapped and 14 killed; and more than 70 attacks on schools, according to verified reports by the United Nations.

“The threat of abduction of students is severely affecting children’s learning. As of 2021, over one million children were afraid to return to school, and in 2020, around 11,500 schools were closed due to attacks, according to Policy Weekly by Nextier”, it said.

In addition, UNICEF informed that it was working with the government to ensure that every child could access safe learning environments.

Speaking further, the agency stated that it had supported the inauguration of state safe school steering committees and the drafting of state-costed implementation plans for safe schools in 13 states. It also provided school grants, safety kits, training, and awareness raising to accelerate the implementation of the Minimum Standards for Safe Schools.

UNICEF Nigeria therefore, called on the government, partners, and the international community to take decisive action to:

“Ensure all schools across all states have the resources and tools to fully implement the Minimum Standards for Safe Schools, focusing on the most vulnerable regions.

“Address critical gaps in safe school infrastructure, preparedness for natural disasters, conflicts, and comprehensive approaches to violence against children.
Strengthen law enforcement and security measures to protect educational institutions and communities from attacks and abductions.

“Prioritize education and child protection in national policies and budget allocations to create a safer, more inclusive environment for all Nigerian children.

“Ensure the continuity of education and learning when schools are shut through multiple learning pathways such as radio and TV programmes and through digital platforms like the Nigeria Learning Passport”.

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