'Safe School Pilot Programme' launched in J&K

Principal Secretary, Department of School Education and Skill Development, Dr Asgar Hassan Samoon on Friday launched a comprehensive ‘School Safety Programme’ here at Model GGHSS Nawakadal.

Speaking on the occasion, the Principal Secretary said that the programme will be a landmark to ensure safety of all children and teachers of schools of Jammu and Kashmir. He said that Samagra Shiksha has developed complete SOPs on School Safety including COVID19 infections, prevention and control, safe re-opening of schools, school safety and mid-day meals with technical support from UNICEF.

Dr Samoon said “COVID-19 pandemic forced school closures in March 2020 and it has opened an opportunity for revisiting the school safety programme from a COVID-19 perspective”.

Dr Samoon said that during the current pandemic, SOPs for community schooling were issued by the Department of School Education which form a part of these SOPs and will further include school re-opening measures prepared by UNICEF and WHO.

Dr Samoon said that the model school would also demonstrate an innovative pedal-operated hand washing station based on UNICEF design. The model schools are proposed to be scaled up across all districts of Jammu and Kashmir over a two year period.

On the occasion, the representatives of a non-governmental organization demonstrated all COVID19 and school safety measures by displaying mechanism for children to take part in their own safety through ‘Safe Saturation’ programme.

Project Director, Samagra Shiksha J&K, Dr Arun Manhas who introduced this programme in J&K, joined the launch online and commended everyone involved in the successful realization of the programme.

Dr Manhas said, “School Safety has been on the agenda of Samagra Shiksha J&K but more than that it is our duty to ensure that all children are safe whether in school or out of school. Therefore, even though schools are closed, it is our priority to ensure that children are safe wherever they are and we are ensuring their mental health and psycho-social support, online safety during virtual classes through the national flagship schemes like Manodarpan and Pragyata”.

Through further consultations between Samagra Shiksha and other officials of the Department of School Education and UNICEF experts, a revised programme document on School Safety has been prepared which includes detailed SOPs on School Safety in Jammu and Kashmir and a two year Action Plan. As part of this programme, all Head of Institutions (HOIs) of Jammu and Kashmir will be trained on School Safety, re-opening measures, conducting safety audits and IEC material on school safety will be displayed in all schools of Jammu and Kashmir.

Director, School Education Kashmir, Muhammad Younis Malik; Principal GGHSS Nawakadal, Fatima Shaheen Tak also accompanied the Principal Secretary while as MD Samagra Shiksha, Arun Manhas joined the programme through video conferencing.