JIS News

The Safe Schools Secretariat will be hosting a series of ‘School Community Consultation’ fora, in order to foster partnerships between problem schools and the communities in which they are located.
The discussion sessions will commence on May 24 at the Trench Town High School and will continue on the 29th and 31st at the Vauxhall and Jonathan Grant High Schools, respectively.
Chairman of the Safe Schools Programme, Lieutenant Colonel Oral Khan, told JIS News that the fora would give residents the opportunity to share their insights and concerns about the safety of the schools within their communities and participate in finding solutions to the problem of violence.
He said the consultation was necessary because there were concerns coming from the schools, which needed to be shared with the wider community and there was need to engage community members in the effort to create safer schools. “If we are going to have safer schools, this can only happen within the context of safer communities, so we find that our intervention in the schools will not achieve our objective without us reaching the community around the school,” he stated, noting that “communities must take some ownership for what is going on and contribute to the safety of the schools”.
According to Colonel Khan, some of the schools, which have faced closure, have done so because of things happening in the surrounding community and “we need residents around the schools to understand that what is going on in the community is impacting negatively on the life of the school and the children, who come from these very communities.”
He declared that the fora would have a significant impact, and would raise awareness among communities. Although the meetings would mainly target communities that have problem schools, Colonel Khan explained that the intervention would be specifically appealing to parents, business owners and operators and generally all persons living within the ambit of the schools.He noted that the respective communities were chosen largely because of the numerous closure and disruptions of the schools that are located within or around them.
He assured that based on the feasibility of the solutions garnered from the fora, “suggestions, which may be practical and which may not cost too much, will be implemented as soon as possible. We may have to identify a source of funding for those things, which will require funding, but where there is a will, there is a way.we will seek to put in effect suggestions that can improve the relationship between school and community hence creating safe schools”.
Colonel Khan is encouraging all community members to come and voice their opinion and concerns thereby generating ideas to make community and by extension schools, a safer place.
Implemented in 2004 to curb the problems of violence in schools, the Safe Schools Programme is a project of the Ministries of National Security and Education and Culture.