President Muhammadu Buhari has revealed that no fewer than 12 million school age children are traumatized as a result of the incessant kidnappings around the country and have found it daunting to return to school.

He said to address this, safe and secured environment for learners and professional teachers who are qualified in psychosocial support have been put in place to help the affected school children to recover their learning abilities.

Other modalities, he said, will be the proximity of schools to pupils/students, strong political will on the part of government to invest in education and the provision for adequate funding mechanism.

Buhari, who stated this on Tuesday in Abuja, during the opening ceremony of the fourth International Conference on Safe Schools Declaration, said it is disheartening to note that even when the abducted students are released, the trauma of the incidences remain long in their minds hence, the plan to have teachers trained on psycho-social support.

Represented by his Chief of Staff, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, the president said the theme: ‘Ensuring Safe Education for All: From Commitment to Practice’ is apt and urged the 111 SSD endorsing states to redouble their efforts in providing a safe environment for teaching and learning process to take place.

The theme further calls for universal endorsement of the declaration and
charged the SSD non-endorsing states to make the move immediately to safeguard their education systems, noting that “as you are aware, attacks on schools equally are direct attacks on our future generations”.

“There are more than 12 million children currently traumatized and afraid of going to school, especially the girl child.

“I must tell you that it has been tough dealing with these security challenges and their effect. Moving forward, our faith in the nation is unshaken. We have been strong, determined and robust in order to enhance the security of learning institutions and the occupants therein.

“Our resolve to take the nation to greater heights remains strong. The Nigerian Government is mindful of the fact that to record adequate achievements in the education sector, the system would require a total overhaul in the following key areas:

“Provision of a safe and secured environment for learners and teachers; availability of professional teachers; proximity of schools to pupils/students; strong political will on the part of government to invest in education; and
provision for adequate funding mechanism.

“Nigerian Government is not unmindful of this fact. This explains why Nigeria was part of the first group of 37 countries that endorsed the Safe Schools Declaration (SSD) in 29th May, 2015 and the letter of endorsement was signed on 8th March, 2018.

“As a nation, we are committed to observing all relevant international protocols, conventions and treaties for the protection of our learning institutions and facilities from attack and any other instrument on education which the country has domesticated,” the president said.

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