Security measures in place in primary and secondary schools in light of the growing threat of terrorism

Published Date: 13 September 2016 12:00 AM

News Parliamentary Replies

Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament

Mr Melvin Yong Yik Chye, Tanjong Pagar GRC

Question

To ask the Acting Minister for Education (Schools) (a) what are the security measures in place in primary and secondary schools in light of the growing threat of terrorism; (b) whether students and employees of schools are equipped with knowledge on how to react in the event of an unexpected attack; and (c) what are the Ministry's plans to continue enhancing security in schools especially during after-school hours.

Response

MOE places great emphasis on the security and well-being of students and staff in our schools. A three-pronged security approach is adopted. First, schools are fenced and equipped with CCTV surveillance systems and gate barriers manned by security officers to control access. Second, there are security protocol and procedures to regulate movement within the schools. Third, the school maintains close partnerships with the neighbourhood police and the community at large.

School staff and students are reminded to be vigilant and alert the authorities in the event of any suspicious activities or intruders. The Police also engage schools and communities through outreach programmes and disseminate security-related advisories.

These school security measures are appropriately calibrated to the overall security environment of the country based on the threat assessment provided by MHA. MOE routinely reviews our security measures for effectiveness to ensure the robustness of our school security measures.

The effort to prepare schools for emergencies has been put in place for some time now since 1990s. It is part of the national programme to prepare for civil emergencies and contingencies.

All schools have a School Emergency Structure to deal with emergencies to respond, recover and restore the situation back to normalcy. School leaders, staff and students do take part in regular emergency training exercises to practise how to handle emergency situations in the school, including security incidents. The Police and SCDF are also involved in such training exercises and drills, and there is a robust relationship between the schools and the communities for effective collaboration in emergency responses.

Ultimately, the key to addressing the growing security threats lies in greater community vigilance. Safety and security is a shared responsibility and each of us has a role to play. MOE will continue to review and update our school security and emergency plans, and to work with the Police and MHA to deter terrorist or criminal activity in our schools, and to respond effectively.

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