Measures in place to safeguard security in schools

We thank Mr Elliot Taylor Hong for his feedback on counterterror attack drills and emergency preparedness in our schools (Start counterterror attack drills in schools; Aug 5).

We reassure all readers that the Ministry of Education (MOE) has measures in place to safeguard the security and well-being of students and staff in our schools.

Emergency preparedness programmes have been institutionalised since the 1990s, as part of the national programme to prepare for civil emergencies and contingencies.

All schools have set up an "Emergency Structure" to prepare for, and deal with, emergencies. Schools also conduct emergency drills and review their emergency procedures regularly. These drills are periodically reviewed and updated in response to changes in the threat environment.

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MOE also conducts regular exercises to test emergency preparedness at different schools.

We adopt a three-pronged security approach.

All schools have set up an "Emergency Structure" to prepare for, and deal with, emergencies. Schools also conduct emergency drills and review their emergency procedures regularly. These drills are periodically reviewed and updated in response to changes in the threat environment.

First, schools are fenced and equipped with CCTV surveillance systems and gate barriers, manned by security officers to control access.

Second, there are security protocols and procedures to regulate movement within the schools.

Third, schools maintain close partnerships with the neighbourhood police and the community at large.

School staff and students are reminded to be vigilant and to alert the authorities if they spot any suspicious activities or intruders.

As part of the SGSecure movement, students are also taught emergency preparedness skills. Mobile exhibitions and assembly talks are conducted at schools to sensitise our youthto security challenges and threats, what they should do in an emergency and the importance of coming together as a community in the aftermath of an incident.

This message of community vigilance is reinforced further by school leaders in their engagements with staff and students.

Liew Wei Li (Ms)

Deputy Director-General of Education and Director of Schools

Ministry of Education

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 11, 2017, with the headline 'Measures in place to safeguard security in schools'. Print Edition | Subscribe