Rabu, 9 Julai 2008

Schools to boost safety standards

By: Marc Lourdes

KUALA LUMPUR: A pilot project will be launched in 720 schools next month to fine-tune school safety standards before they are introduced in all schools.

The School Safety Standards Instruments (SSSI) is designed to help schools use self-assessment techniques when implementing safety standards.

Education Ministry secretary-general Datuk Dr Zulkarnain Awang said the Department of Safety and Health was now conducting research on the level of safety and health in schools.

"I believe the data from the research will help firm up the Education Ministry's Cleanliness, Health and Safety Programme," he told a briefing of some 600 school principals and senior teachers at the Putra World Trade Centre yesterday.

He said data collated from 10 states showed that only 12 per cent of all accidents involving pupils occur within the school grounds.

However, three-quarters of all serious injuries happen to secondary school students, and almost half of the injuries were due to road accidents.

"This is not surprising because 33 per cent, or about 1.1 million students, either walk, cycle or ride motorcycles to school.

"We have to recognise this when implementing safety measures and account for risk factors in and outside the school, and when students are going to and from school."

Zulkarnain said the ministry had three objectives.

"Firstly, to ensure that the 10,000-odd schools in the country understand and implement safety operations.

"Secondly, that they guide and advise students on adopting safe practices.

"Thirdly, for students to adopt a culture of safety outside the school as well as in."

DOSH director-general Datuk Dr Johari Basri said the campaign was to impart knowledge to teachers to pass on to their students, so a safety-first culture was inculcated from a young age.

"School leavers should not only have academic qualifications, but also practical safety knowledge that they can take with them into the working environment," he said.

The New Straits Times Online: 9 Julai 2008

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