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TEACHERS' INVOLVEMENT, ENVIRONMENT AND SCHOOL FINANCE: NEXUS FOR IMPROVING SAFETY MEASURES IN PRIMARY SCHOOLS

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TEACHERS' INVOLVEMENT, ENVIRONMENT AND SCHOOL FINANCE: NEXUS FOR IMPROVING SAFETY MEASURES IN PRIMARY SCHOOLS
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  1 TEACHERS’ INVOLVEMENT, ENVIRONMENT AND SCHOOL FINANCE: NEXUS FOR IMPROVING SAFETY MEASURES IN PRIMARY SCHOOLS. OGUNMOLA, Phebian Opeyemi 1* , OLALOWO, Iyanuoluwa Emmanuel 2 1. Center for Sustainable Development Practice University of Ibadan, Ibadan   2. Department of Early Childhood and Educational Foundations   University of Ibadan, Ibadan.   Email:  phebianopeyemi78@gmail.com  ABSTRACT This paper begins with the conceptualization of safety measures. It discusses the place of teachers’ involvement, environment and school finance in improving safety measures among primary school  pupils. It highlights that teachers’ involvement, environment and school finance  are pivotal determinants for improving safety measures among the pupils. It therefore recommends among others that, in achieving sustainable development, Teachers’ appointment documents should emphasize dutiful responsibility for students’ safety and healthiness rather than an informal assumption and that regular hands-on training on contemporary safety approaches should be organized in schools for both the teaching and non-teaching staffs as well as the students. Introduction Many factors combine to affect the improvement of safety measures of pupils in the  primary schools. Considering the vulnerability of children within this age cohort which are characterized by their level of exposure, freedom, experience, dependency, playfulness, care free attitudes and many more; there is need to galvanize the attention of the populace towards ensuring substantial practise of safety attitudes in schools. Safety measure varies greatly with teachers’ involvement, environment, school finance, amidst many other factors such as gender, age etc. To a large extent, these factors have considerable impacts on how a community will achieve specific sustainable development, whereas the more commonly considered factors such as access and use of health care services often have lesser impact. Over the time, previous concerns has shown the availability and adequacy of safety measure equipment and facilities, inclusion of security education as an independent subject in the school curriculum, but knowing the view of teachers, as well as how some other factors could  2 improve safety measures has neither been fully captured nor given much attention by previous studies. This paper therefore, shifts focus to discuss how teachers’ involvement among other factors, play vital roles in improving safety measures among primary school pupils. WHAT IS SAFETY MEASURE? Safety measures are important factors as long as man is concerned in the context of healthy living; they are set of trials employed to increase, regulate or stabilize an expected state of healthiness. According to Health and Safety Authority (2013), safety measure is about taking action now that will stop something negative happening in the future, thereby ensure that what might happen does not happen.   WHAT SAFETY MEASURE ENTAILS  Teachers should be made to realize through the Ministries of Education and Health that their educational qualification and disposition of their responsibility in the whole child development significantly improves safety within and outside the four walls of the learning environment. The perceptions and approaches to safety measures amidst school stakeholders (teacher, students and parents) pose significant risks to sustainable development given that hazardous occurrences in schools have increased global alertness from the historical experiences of the 1970s. This calls for serious concern by school administrators to employ and implement ideas of and from strategic agencies. An example of such is seen in the practices of Brainville School District in Montana, United States of America, where the school administration sought Crisis Prevention Institute (CPI) training to improve staff confidence in coping with disruptive and assaultive carelessness within the school environment as a result of unhealthy practices of the students. In doing this, they successfully reduced incident rates by more than 50 percent. They also decreased the use of  physical restraint and seclusion by 75-95 percent. This implies that they took actions and their sc hool became safer; the training corrected the perception of teachers’ involvement in fostering students' confidence as well as obtaining higher grades. Crisis Prevention Institute (2018) However, in bringing about a learning-friendly, casualty-free and healthy environment, the following but not limited to opportunities for improvement have been noted by Safe Havens  3 Analysts in their school security assessments across the nation as well as in many other schools Safe Havens International (2014); 1. Create an enhanced and intensive focus on improved student supervision 2. Improve the ability of staff to address common medical emergencies. 3.   Develop positive connections between staff and students. 4. Create a greater sense of employee empowerment. 5. Improve natural access control. 6. Improve natural surveillance. 7. Improve territoriality in the school environment. 8. Reduce the presence of targeting indicators. 9. Prevent gravity hazards. 10. Carefully evaluate how well staffs are able to communicate during an emergency situation. Considering the listings of Safe Haven International, one could be drawn to summarily deduce that the practices of safety measures are by default; a product of common sense but the question that should silence the noise of such con clusion is “how common is this common sense?”  Making a school safer is a daunting but vital task afterall, teachers need to be more focused on teaching and students need the support and safety to learn, hence, the essence of this piece. This discourse would also encourage and equip teachers and school administrators alike to perform  beyond their formal duties by having a sense of responsibility towards humanizing safety measures, acquiring the skills, building and maintaining them. School Finance Safety measures improve as the financial strength of the schools increases. A school with low financial status tends to be unable to obtain at all or sufficiently the conditions of life that is, the safety gadgets, amenities, standards and services which allow them to play the roles, participate in the relationships and follow the customary behaviour. Finance provides the prerequisites for achieving a healthy society, stable environmental condition, organizing awareness/sensitization trainings, access to health care services (regular medical checkup, immunization) and purchase of simple gadgets for enabling safety measures. Also on the students’ part, having low financial  4 capability can result to stress and anxiety which can damage people’s health; increase frus tration and militate against desirable changes in behavior (Benzeval, Judge, & Whitehead, 1995). Teacher Involvement Teacher involvement is also a determinant in improving safety measure. The teachers’ active and  practical concern helps shape a child’s g rowth positively and provides for such child, a platform for improving and engaging in safety measures. In general, social learning and social cognitive framework (Bandura and Kickbusch,, 1991), behaviour is shaped in part by observation and direct learning experiences. Beyond the probable stated duties of the teacher, such as: taking of registers, conducting teaching-learning exercises, coordinating assessments, only a few see their involvement in how and what the child should know about simple safety precautions as an attached duty with great responsibility; to others, activities such as constant check of well-positioned facilities in classroom area, observation of students at relieve rooms are for the employed cleaners alone. On another instance, a recent report on the extent of sophistication of facilities in schools revealed that, schools that have gadgets and kits for improving safety measures are no better than the ones that don’t because the gadgets have only come to become an item of beautification  rather than what could have been aids for teaching and not limited to security education classes alone. In this vein, schools are now often being urged by staff and parents to implement a variety of approaches that are emotionally driven and not backed by research, assessment, or evaluation, Safe Havens International (2014). An instance is a case where a student during a fire incident, spotted the extinguisher on the floor and decided to take it away from the scene. When asked why he did that, he said that he was taught at home that the gas cylinder could explode if close to fire. One may then be compelled to ask “Are many things better than nothing”?   Environment  The environment is often cited as an important factor for the improvement of safety measures. This includes characteristics of the natural environment, the  built environment, and the social environment. Factors such as clean water and air (toxic-free environment), adequate housing, and safe communities and roads all have been found to contribute to good health, especially to the health of students (Millar and Ridge, 2001).  5 Here, natural surveillance could also be considered. Increasing the ability for people to see and be seen by others is called natural surveillance . Most people who are covertly violating laws and rules seek privacy and attempt to blend in as they engage in, or prepare for, their activities. Efforts to open up lines of sight in and around schools can make it easier for staff and students to spot someone who is about to commit a crime or policy violation. For example, by simply tipping the window shades in a classroom window so students and staff can see a suspicious person who is outside the school, the opportunity to identify a dangerous person in time to take action is increased. It is also very important for school employees to understand that offenders are often deterred by good natural surveillance. Maine Department of Education (2014) THE NEXUS It is of note that, in achieving sustainable development, with a focus on improving safety measures in schools, abrupt attention on some of the afore-discussed factors should be essential. All these factors are one of such that should be mutually integrated rather than independently addressed. To say the school income would be galvanized to ensure availability and accessibility of safety kits and healthy living, but neglecting teacher involvement will only turn out to having many things that are not better than nothing. A study conducted by Ajisafe (2014) discovered that every teacher has an emotional responsibility that, when carried out with or without supervision, can influence the improvement of safety measures. The Safe Haven International report of 2014 also reiterated on this by encouraging th at teachers’ involvement and know -how in ensuring safety measures is an essential attribute that should be evaluated regularly in order to achieve optimum safety for sustainable development. This paper submits that communication means between academic and non-academic staff should go as far as establishing an assessment relationship between teachers and non-academic staff, whereby they could both share observed changes in classroom facilities, strange facial appearances within the school environment, strang e or hazardous objects at students’ disposal amidst many more activities not captured in this paper. It upholds that conducting surveys of staff to identify gaps in communications and addressing these gaps by providing staff development on effective emergency communications can truly make the difference between life and death. Local public safety personnel can often help school officials learn how to communicate on school radios more effectively, (Safety Haven International, 2014).
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