Former British Prime Minister and UN education envoy Gordon Brown this week unveiled a new pilot project in Pakistan aimed at securing the country’s schools against terror attacks.
The project, a collaboration between the Pakistani government and UNICEF among other organizations, will use technology to help schools assess risk levels and preparedness of schools.
It is hoped that the technology will help prepare schools against atrocities such the Peshawar school attack in December which left more than 140 children dead.
The technology for the project – part of the global Safe Schools initiative – has been donated by Predictify.me, a US company that specializes in predictive analysis for commercial businesses.
Each participating school will receive a report providing a designation on the degree of risk, specific recommendations for improving the school’s set-up to become safer and recommendations for community preparedness measures and ongoing risk forecasts.
In the past five years, hundreds of schools have been destroyed by militants in the strife-torn Khyber Pakhtukhwa province in north eastern Pakistan.
If successful, the programme has ambitions to be scaled up to cover all 200,000 schools in Pakistan through the national Safe Schools Initiative.
Mr Brown said he had seen how children had become “the silent, tragic victims of conflict” on a recent visit to South Sudan, as well as others to Nigeria, Pakistan and the DRC.
There have been more than 10,000 attacks on schools around the world in the past five years – the highest level recorded in four decades.
Add to that is the fact that 28 million boys and girls are not in school due to conflicts and emergencies.
Mr Brown also urged the international community to invest in making schools in conflict-affected regions safer by signing up to the Global Humanitarian Fund for Education in Emergencies.
“Today I am making a plea from the heart to the conscience of the world that we now wake up to the suffering faced by millions of children,” Mr. Brown said during a press conference at UN Headquarters in New York on Wednesday.
“It is time for us to end the shameful breaches of international law that violate the rights of millions of children by calling a halt to the militarisation of schools, stopping the now-growing abduction of school pupils as weapons of war and insisting – even in conflict zones – that properly resourced ‘safe schools’ enable children to enjoy their education in peace”, he added.