Insecurity: Group unveils application for emergency response in schools

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EDULEAD Development Initiative, an NGO, has concluded plans to initiate an online, offline application for emergency calls in the case of kidnapping and other forms of security threats in schools.

The Executive Director of EDULEAD Development Initiative, Mr Chinedu Opara, disclosed this in an interview with the Newmen on Tuesday in Abuja.

Opara said that a test run had been carried out on the initiative called School Accountability and Management Platform.

He said that the initiative was part of the organisation’s effort to help curtail the rate of kidnapping and other security threats in schools around Nigeria.

He said that the application, which would be users’ friendly, would not necessarily require data to operate, enabling students, teachers and eye witnesses to send SOS calls for quick response.

According to him, the application will be linked to SOS platforms of all security agencies in the country, adding that SOS will be received simultaneously by the agencies when sent.

He stressed that there would be provisions for uploading voice notes, videos and pictures among other things.

“We have been witnessing kidnapping and other forms of insecurity around education in recent times. So, we decided to build an application called School Accountability and Management Platform.

“It is an online and offline platform meant for public education advancement. With it, SOS calls can be sent in the case of emergency situations like attacks on schools.

“It will run real-time and will be linked to the SOS platforms of all the security agencies in the country,” he said.

Opara further explained that other functions of the platform, saying:  “the way it works is that, if somebody notices suspicious movements around schools, the person can just beep an SOS.

“When that is done, a text is sent to the platform and it will be received real-time as a call. Also, voice, pictures and videos can be uploaded on the platform.

“It does not require data to do that and when that is done, anybody linked to the platform will also receive it and SOS can be sent at any time of the day.

“The security numbers that will be linked to it can receive it and take appropriate action. Even if Police is not available for instance, other security agencies will respond appropriately,” he said

He said that the initiative was to ensure that schools were safe and conducive for learning.

For schools in rural areas, the executive director noted that EDULEAD would work with heads of communities, vigilante groups, Community Based Organisations (CBOs) and volunteers.

He added that phones would be provided to help them do their jobs effectively.

“Any type of phone can be used; it does not necessarily have to be smart phones.

“However, we will provide the heads of communities and other volunteers with some phones to assist them with the job.

“For students, we will not be able to give them phones but we will direct them to heads of communities, the CBOs or volunteers as the case may be,” he said.

Opara pointed out that besides tackling kidnapping, the application would be used to check ill-treatment of students, cultism and assessment of teachers’ performance in schools.

“A student, who is treated in a way that is not proper or being molested by a teacher for instance, can send an SOS through the platform and we will channel that to the appropriate authority for necessary action.

“The platform will also look at the area of teacher competence. This is to make teachers know that there is a third eye watching them and it is ensure that they sit up.

“Through the platform, teachers that are due for training will also be notified to encourage them to build their capacity,” he said.

According to him, if you have your profile on the platform as a teacher, you upload all your certified training on the platform.

“So, the platform is meant to notify you that you are due for another one and recommend possible training that are available that a teacher can take.

“We will also upload information on how students should behave in school and career advice that students should take,” he said.

Okpara said the application initiative was part of a project launched by the NGO in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, UNESCO and other stakeholders to ensure quality education.

He said that the project would be in phases, adding that the pilot phase which would run for two years, would cover six states of the Federation.

The states according to him are Imo, Nasarawa, Kogi, Taraba, Yobe, Gombe and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).