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By Aabigayle McIntosh
Ensuring the safety of all individuals within educational institutions remains a paramount concern for officials at the Ministry of Education in Antigua and Barbuda.
Director of Education Clare Browne stated that the ministry is collaborating with key stakeholders to implement comprehensive security measures at each respective compound, focusing on installing surveillance cameras.
“The cameras are supposed to kick in when the human security presence is no longer there and so teachers and students want to be able to come back to school the next morning and find all their equipment and things that they need to use in place.”, Browne said.
He explained that security guards are currently attached to schools during the daytime, however, efforts will be made to provide security after hours.
“Especially now at a time when we have all this issue about violence among young people. We want to ensure we engage our young people and not just send them out a 1:30 and so on. We need to work with the Ministry of Housing and Works to ensure that security is provided for as long as it is possible,” the Director said.
Six schools are yet to be outfitted with security cameras that were received through donor funding.
“We are looking to see how much it would cost to put cameras in the other schools because it is taking a little bit,” Director Browne said.
The matter of school security became a major concern for the Antigua and Barbuda Union of Teachers, prompted by a surge in theft and vandalism incidents across several schools. In response to these challenges, teachers staged protests, advocating for urgent improvements to address the pressing issue.