Written approval mandatory to conduct activities in schools

The Ministry of Education has stated that written approval is now mandatory for persons or organisations entering school buildings or compounds to engage learners in any discussions or conduct activities including the distribution of gifts.

This is to guarantee the safety of minors while maintaining a secure, conducive environment and preventing disruption to the established order and discipline within schools.

A circular published by the ministry on Tuesday said the instruction must be considered with immediate effect.

According to the missive, written approval can be obtained from the central ministry through the respective Regional Department of Education.

The new policy stems from several complaints received by the education ministry from concerned citizens, teachers, and parents.

These unauthorised engagements have resulted in students being photographed and having their images published and used for advertisements and promotions without the relevant permission.

Additionally, the ministry reminded the public of the established protocols that must be observed when a guest speaker desires to address students.

Circular 1 of 1987: Memo by the DCEO Admin dated November 14, 2018, outlined that “In addition, where heads may wish to invite a member of cabinet or other governmental functionary, such invitation must be forwarded early enough through the normal channel to the appropriate Assistant Chief Education Officer at the Centre, and approval must be given…”

The document also stated that any head teacher who fails to observe these protocols will be recommended to the Teaching Service Commission (TSC) or School Boards Secretariat (SBS) for disciplinary action based on the Table of Charges, Offences, and Penalties, Schedule One (Education Act Chapter 39:01, Section 47).

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