Ensuring school children’s safety a top priority: State Minister of Defence

Premitha Bandara Tennakoon

(Photo by Ministry of Defence)

State Minister of Defence Premitha Bandara Tennakoon emphasized the importance of safeguarding school children’s safety, particularly during weather-related emergencies, at a media discussion held at the Disaster Management Centre in Colombo on Tuesday (May 28).

After meetings with senior state officials, including District and Divisional Secretaries, Education Ministry authorities, Environment Ministry officials, and INGO representatives, Minister Tennakoon highlighted the need for updated and active district committees.

He requested these committees to conduct risk assessments and report to the Disaster Management Centre to facilitate effective contingency planning for emergency situations.

Minister Tennakoon stressed the importance of the ‘Surakimu’ programme, noting that the safety of students in the country’s 10,126 schools should be ensured.

He proposed forming Special School Committees under the leadership of school principals, with active participation from past pupils’ associations and parent-teacher associations.

He also announced plans to enhance disaster preparedness at the school level by selecting and training at least two teachers from each school in basic first aid and ensuring schools are equipped with properly stocked first aid kits.

In discussions with INGO representatives, Minister Tennakoon reviewed the progress of ongoing programmes, including the Surakimu programme, and outlined proposed plans to support the student population during emergencies. He sought their assistance in these efforts.

Additionally, Minister Tennakoon mentioned his intention to consult with various ministries to address legal barriers in emergency disaster management.

The event was also attended by heads of the Disaster Management Centre, the National Building Research Organization, and several senior state officials.