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‘Our commitment to ensuring children’s safety in school is real’

By Tobi Awodipe 
06 March 2022   |   2:44 am
The Lagos State Domestic and Sexual Violence Agency (DSVA), and the Office of Education Quality Assurance (OEQA) have commenced the implementation of the state

The Lagos State Domestic and Sexual Violence Agency (DSVA), and the Office of Education Quality Assurance (OEQA) have commenced the implementation of the state’s Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy (SCPP).

The one-day sensitisation programme, which was held at the Adeyemi Bero Auditorium, Alausa, was aimed at educating principals, heads of schools and school administrators on the safeguarding and child protection policy of the state government and the need for all schools to uphold its practice.

The programme was facilitated by child protection experts, which included the Director-General, OEQA, Abiola Seriki-Ayeni, Taiwo Akinlami and Modupeola Saheed-Adebambo.

In her welcome address, the Executive Secretary, DSVA, Titilola Vivour-Adeniyi underscored the fact that while most cases of child abuse occur within families and communities, children also experience abuse and exploitation in organisations that provide them with support and services.

According to her, research has shown that physical, emotional abuse and neglect in child-focused organisations and institutions are less systematic, and usually unplanned, as such stem from poor conditions, bad work practices and negligent management.

She noted that it was mandatory for all child-centred institutions to adopt and ensure full implementation of the policy.

The OEQA’s Director-General, Abiola Seriki-Ayeni, in her paper, highlighted the need for schools to recognise the roles that they play in ensuring the wellbeing and safety of children, especially as children spend a significant part of their days in schools.

She urged participants to take advantage of the free online course, “Introduction of Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy,” which over 10, 000 educators have successfully completed, encouraging those who haven’t taken the course to do so.

“Many children come from homes where they are not acknowledged and this policy aims to take care of bullying (online and in-person), manipulation, grooming, self-harm, neglect and negligent behaviours, as well as ensuring personal safety.”

Adebambo on her part provided an overview of the Executive Order on Safeguarding and Child Protection programme, while emphasising critical measures that schools should take in ensuring the safety of their students, some of which include, safer recruitment procedures, adopting a safeguarding policy, having a designated safeguarding officer and establishing reporting, recording and feedback mechanisms since everyone is responsible for the safeguarding of children.