I am far away in Delta State where I shall be sharing among others, The TeacherFIRE™ Revolution philosophy with teachers from Edo and Delta State. I am excited because, the fire of the philosophy is spreading like a stubborn harmattan fire. We look forward to being in your state soon. If you want to accelerate our visit to your state, you may want to take it upon your good self to invite and host us.
Permit me to share with you today the 5th fact you must consider before you register your child in a school: Does the school have a Child Protection Policy. Child protection is a huge issue every place children gather and it must not be left to chance and hope. There must be a deliberate effort on the part of the leadership of an institution of learning to codify the issue of protection of children. In discussing child protection today as the 5th fact to consider before you register your child in a school, I will like to rely strongly on the provisions of the UNITED NATIONS CONVENTION ON THE RIGHTS OF THE CHILD (CRC), 1989 and CHILD’S RIGHTS ACT (CRA) enacted by the National Assembly of the Federal Republic on Nigeria 31st July, 2003. Article 3(1) of the CRC and Section 1 of the CRA jointly provide, ‘in every action concerning a child, whether undertaken by an individual, public or private body, institutions or service, court of law, or administrative or legislative authority, THE BEST-INTEREST-OF-THE-CHILD shall be the PRIMARY CONSIDERATION.As a Child’s Protection Practitioner of over 15 years, I have come to the conclusion that you have not done anything in the best interest of the child until you put in place a formidable structure to protect the child. Protection is superior to addressing child abuse. As I always say, enlightenment is superior to enforcement as prevention is always better than cure. The truth is that once a child is abused, the impact is eternal except there is divine intervention.
In this age and time when abuse of children seems to have become the order of the day, it will amount to nothing but putting our children forward as pearls before swine if we are not sure that they are serious about child protection. There are four major types of abuses children must be protected from. They are physical abuse, emotional, abuse, sexual abuse and abuse by neglect. I know what it means to suffer abuse in all these four areas because my childhood was characterised by them.
The standard Child Protection Policy of a school is made up of two components: the first are the fundamental and foundational provisions while the second are peculiar provisions. The fundamental and foundational provisions focus on the four baskets of rights of the child as enshrined in the Child’s Rights Act, 2003. These provisions also cover the responsibilities of the child as stated in Sections 19 and 20 of the Child’s Rights Act, 2003. The peculiar provisions are products of in-house investigations, which an expert must carry out with the full cooperation of the institution of learning with an active participation of all stakeholders in the life of the child, including children. There are 16 steps we have identified that must be observed before an institution of learning finally arrives at a standard Child Protection Policy. The Child Protection Policy is so critical that every other policy in the school system must derive its legitimacy from it. It therefore means that any policy, which does not agree with the provision of the Child Protection Policy will be null and void.
I beseech you today to take the destiny of your children serious and ask this critical question before your register your child in a school. Do have an INSPIRED day