The Pakistan School Safety Framework (PSSF), which was being pre-tested as a pilot programme in 68 schools, would be finalized in March. ‘The pilot programme will be concluded by February 15, 2017 and its findings will contribute towards finalization of the Framework in March 2017,’ according to an official document available with APP.
The pilot programme was launched in 68 schools both in public and private sectors across the country including in Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Islamabad Capital Territory.
The framework, being finalized by the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) in collaboration with UNICEF Pakistan, would help promote a safe learning environment for students, teachers and school staff against natural and man-made hazards.
Besides, it would ensure preparedness of the school community against hazards and enable schools to develop a comprehensive response mechanism against any disaster.
The framework would also sensitise all stakeholders about their respective responsibilities in school safety and ensure children’s participation in building school safety and implementing risk reduction.
It would define all the elements of school safety in the context of Pakistan and determine realistic standards for the adoption of meaningful disaster risk reduction measures.
Under the framework, the component of school safety included safety of infrastructure, physical security of school premises, fire safety, environmental safety and psychosocial safety within a school.
The framework encompasses laying down of minimum safety standards for all categories of schools (primary, middle, secondary), formulation of school safety organizations and school safety plans, awareness and preparedness measures for school community.
It also defines a comprehensive evaluation system to determine the safety standards by school itself and second party evaluation by an integrated team of district education department, provincial building department and police to determine the overall safety standards, on annual basis.
The pilot activity involved training of teachers (designated as school safety officers) and training of the district evaluation team members.
The selected schools will prepare respective school safety plans, carry out self assessment of respective schools for safety standards and will be subjected to evaluation by district teams.
The activity is being done with the technical expertise of British Council, UNICEF and NDMA, while keeping on board all provincial and private school management.
The framework will be made part of the National Eduction Policy, besides recommendations would be made to give the ‘Framework a shape of a legislation as a much need subject of importance in the wake of past experiences/future challenges for a ‘Safe Generation.’
Certified training of school safety officers, teachers, principals and District Evaluation Officers will be pursued utilizing the existing Teacher Training Centres in each province.—APP