The Registrar/Chief Executive of Teachers’ Registration Council of Nigeria (TRCN), Professor Josiah Ajiboye, has disclosed that attacks on schools by insurgents claimed the lives of more than 2,295 teachers in the North-east between 2009 and 2022.
Ajiboye, who said this at the weekend in Abuja, also revealed that over 19,000 others were displaced, with over 910 schools destroyed due to the conflict.
He, therefore, called for the full implementation of the Safe Schools Declarations guidelines endorsed by Nigeria in 2015 and ratified by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019.
The TRCN boss made the call while delivering a paper at the 2022 National Delegates Conference of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) in Ibadan.
He further stated that over 1,500 schools were forced to close due to insurgency with more than 600,000 children losing access to education.
Ajiboye equally called on the federal government to review its security architecture to address terrorism and violent attacks on schools.
He noted that as a way forward, federal, state and local education authorities should facilitate the immediate implementation of the National Policy on Safety, Security and Violence-free Schools (NPSSVFS), by making budgetary provisions.
The TRCN boss urged the federal government to increase domestic education expenditure by 50 per cent over the next two years as committed at the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) education summit.
Speaking on the impact of attacks on schools, he noted that “attacks on education create a ripple effect and set in motion a range of negative impacts such as loss of education, early marriage, early pregnancy, and stigma associated with sexual violence and children born from rape, all of which can dramatically affect female students’ futures.”
Ajiboye said schools used for various military purposes, including to hold and execute captives, and as barracks for insurgents, further contributed to parents’ and students’ fears about the safety of sending their children, and especially their daughters, back to school after the insurgents had departed.
On the role of teachers in safeguarding learners, the TRCN boss noted that teachers should keep a close watch on learners to ensure that abuse and violence against learners are prevented or promptly responded to if they occur, adding that they should observe learners closely for any signs and symptoms of safeguarding concerns.
He urged teachers to promptly report suspected or actual cases of abuse or violence against a learner; protect learners from being abused or maltreated by peers or staff; popularise child safeguarding notions and practices in the school, and demonstrate the need to safeguard learners by promoting and practising positive discipline.
Kuni Tyessi in Abuja