Two schools were licenced as Smart Schools and received their certification from the Department of Disaster Management (DDM) and the Ministry of Education and Culture.
The One Million Safe Schools initiative, promoted by the United Nations, encourages people, organizations, companies and governments to pledge to make schools resilient to disasters.
The two schools which are the first in the Territory to receive this certification are the BVI Seventh-Day Adventist School and the Little Litehouse Child Development Centre.
In celebration of the achievement both schools were presented with their SMART School plaques on Tuesday, 8 March. The presentation was made by representatives of the DDM and the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education and Culture, Dr. Marcia Potter.
Dr. Potter explained that the Ministry is working with the DDM to ensure that there is minimal disruption to learning opportunities and avoidance of loss of lives when a disaster strikes.
The Permanent Secretary said: “The Ministry, through the School Health and Safety Policy developed in 2011 and the ongoing efforts to provide licensing standards for schools, is keen on raising public awareness and creating a demand for SAFE and SMART schools throughout the Territory. We want to ensure that our children and our teachers are working and learning in safe, healthy and environmentally friendly environments.”
Deputy Director of the DDM, Evangeline Inniss-Springer explained that a prerequisite for schools to be certified as SMART institutions is the SAFE schools certification which scores schools based on a health and safety assessment which includes location, design, construction, retrofitting, environment, play grounds as well as evacuation and disaster planning procedures.
Nineteen schools throughout the Territory have achieved the Safe School certification and are now eligible to advance to the SMART Schools certification level. These 19 schools are expected to be recertified by November of this year.