The BVI is paving the way for more SMART School programmes to be developed in the region.
SMART represents the use of ‘sustainable, mitigation, adaptation, and resilient techniques’ to ensure schools are safe and healthy.
Education Minister Dr Natalio Wheatley shared the concept at the second annual Caribbean Safe Schools Ministerial Forum this week.
“Now it’s very clear that we have to build resilience … We in the BVI have broadened that (Safe Schools concept) into a cross-sectoral framework which includes environmental considerations as well as health considerations. We have dubbed it the SMART School concept. If you have healthy schools, and you have safe schools, and you have green schools, then you are deemed to have SMART schools from the BVI concept,” Dr Wheatley said.
The minister also stressed the importance of schools having these necessary systems in place to protect all students during major natural disasters, adding that the time was ripe for all educational facilities to advance beyond just having resilient physical structures.
Head of Department of Disaster Management (DDM) Sharleen DaBreo expanded on why SMART concepts were ‘the best choice’.
“Since we entrust our future generations into the schools, we consider them critical components of infrastructure. Adopting the SMART concept makes our schools as resilient as possible, giving our students the best chance at being able to continue their education after the impact of a natural or man-made hazard,” she told attendees of the ministerial forum.
While DaBreo participated in a panel discussion on best practices for building resilience in the education sector, Dr Wheatley was involved in a ministerial panel discussing ways to advance the ‘Roadmap on School Safety’ with other officials from across the region.
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