TURKS AND CAICOS SIGNS SAFE SCHOOL DECLARATION WITH UNICEF
The Turks and Caicos Islands on June 13, 2019 joined many countries around the world that have signed the Safe Schools Declaration, signaling their commitment to protect students, teachers, and schools from the worst effects of disaster.
Dr. Aloys Kamuragiye, our country Representative of the UNICEF Office for the Eastern Caribbean Area was present in the Turks and Caicos Islands for this grand occasion and spoke at the event. The UNICEF Office for the Eastern Caribbean Area is responsible for Programmes of Cooperation with the Governments of Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Virgin Islands (UK), Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago and the Turks and Caicos Islands.
The Minister of Education, Youth, Culture, Social and Library Services, Honourable Karen Malcolm, stated in her address during the ceremony, “The recurrent natural disasters such as, hurricanes, flood, fire accidents, tsunamis, earthquakes, etc. on the education sector is posing wider social challenges.
Worldwide, schools, universities, and other academic institutions have been affected by disasters increasing the vulnerabilities of children, students, teachers and academics to a large extent. Educational facilities have been used as shelters for accommodating the affected and displaced for several months after an event. This affects our children’s education and expose students and education personnel to harm, deny large numbers of children and students their right to education and so deprive communities of the foundation on which to build their future. In many countries, the adverse impacts of recurrent flood, hurricanes, earthquake, conflicts etc. destroy not just school infrastructure, but the hopes and ambitions of a whole generation of children.” Honourable Malcolm indicated that she is committed to ensure that School Safety in the Turks and Caicos Islands is and remains a priority nationally, regionally and internationally. “The Safe School Declaration is a step forward in realizing our mission of having a nation empowered by a dynamic system of care, education and training.”
The Safe School Declaration was signed in the evening of a two-day workshop under the theme “Mainstreaming Disaster Risk Reduction & Climate Change Adaption into Education Sector Policies and Practices”. This workshop was sponsored and facilitated by UNICEF. The Safe School Declaration was signed by the Premier (Honourable Sharlene Cartwright-Robinson), the Minister of Education (Honourable Karen Malcolm), the country Representative from UNICEF (Dr. Aloys Kamuragiye), Education Manager UNICEF (Mr. Unai Sacona) and the Permanent Secretary of Education (Mr. Wesley Clerveaux). Present at the signing of the Safe School Declaration were the Acting Governor, HE Anya Williams, the Deputy Attorney General, participants of the workshop and other invited guests.
The Safe Schools Declaration outlines a number of commitments by the TCI Ministry of Education, Youth, Culture, Social and Library Services to be achieved by 2020.