Teachers supported to make schools safe for every child

In the Solomon Islands, UNICEF is supporting the training of teachers on the Safe Schools Training

Sheenal Sharma
Teachers supported to make schools safe for every child
UNICEF
12 July 2021

Schools provide children with more than just an education. They offer a nurturing environment and provide essential handwashing facilities. Children in the Solomon Islands lost access to these essential supports when schools closed due to COVID-19 lockdowns.

UNICEF’s Safe Schools Training is providing teachers, School Management Committee (SMC) members and school leaders with the training and support they need to ensure schools are safe for teachers and children.

Francis Tialu is a school principal at Tamboko Community High School and recently attended the Safe Schools Training. Francis says the impact of COVID-19 on children’s learning has been significant.

“The closure of schools last year had substantial negative impacts on children’s academic learning. Like other schools, we did not have backup plans to support children’s learning during the pandemic” says Francis.

Francis Tialu, school principal at Tamboko Community High School, holds a resource material distributed to participants attending the training.
Francis Tialu, school principal at Tamboko Community High School, holds a resource material distributed to participants attending the training.

“This training on safe schools has helped us to be more vigilant and prepared for school closures in future emergencies. I am determined to return to my school and train my teachers and SMC members so together we can improve and strengthen our teaching preparation and approaches. Additionally, we can look to improve our water, sanitation and hygiene facilities and be more sensitive to the signs and symptoms of mental health among children.”

The Solomon Islands Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development in partnership with UNICEF, is implementing the Safe Schools Training. Four trainings have been conducted so far in Guadalcanal and Honiara City and another 20 trainings are planned for this year. The trainings have reached over 185 teachers, SMC members and school leaders and future trainings are expected to reach an additional 880 participants.

The week-long training focuses on healthy and hygienic environments and practices, mental health support for children, access to water, sanitation and hygiene facilities in schools, managing inclusive classrooms, continuity of learning support for children both during and after school closures and planning for disaster risk reduction in schools.

David Suri also attended the training and notes the benefits. “The training helped me understand my role better and highlighted the importance of safe water, sanitation and hygiene facilities in the school.”

David is the school chairman at Ngalibui School and says that he is determined and prepared to work with his SMC members and the school principal to plan and improve the facilities in school to ensure children’s access to safe water, proper sanitation and hygiene.

David Suri, school chairman at Ngalibui School, holds resource materials distributed to the training participants.
David Suri, school chairman at Ngalibui School, holds resource materials distributed to the training participants.

“The impact of COVID-19 on children’s learning was greater than any other natural disaster that has affected us in the past. We were uncertain about when schools would open and what the future of our children would be like.”

David says, “Now that our school is open and we have been trained, it is our responsibility to see that our school is prepared and improved so that it is safe for our children to learn.”

Through the support from our partners, UNICEF will continue to work with Pacific Island governments to ensure children’s safety in schools.

 

UNICEF is supporting the Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development (MEHRD) in the implementation of this project in the Solomon Islands as part of the Australia, New Zealand and SIG Joint Solomon Islands Education Sector Support Programme (ESSP) which aims to improve access to quality basic education to all children in Solomon Islands.