"HYGIENE AND INFECTION PREVENTION" STANDARD FOR EDUCATION INSTITUTIONS"Minister of National Education Ziya Selçuk and the Minister of Industry and Technology Mustafa Varank signed the "Protocol on Development of Hygiene Standards and Infection Prevention in Education Institutions" between the Ministry of National Education and the Ministry of Industry and Technology."
Speaking during the protocol ceremony, Minister of National Education Ziya Selçuk saiğd his ministry showed a quicker and more extensive successful response than many countries in offering better education during the pandemic adding that, "We have been conducting many activities in order to keep our schools which have been closed since March 16 cleaner and safer than before. We are evaluating every single detail. Schools are not only about education they are also places of socialization."
Minister Selçuk stressed that the "Development of Hygiene Standards and Infection Prevention Guidelines in Education Institutions" is one of the instructive sources and prepared in cooperation with the Ministry of Industry and Technology and Turkish Standards Institution (TSE). Selçuk went on to say, "These guidelines will provide a healthy guide for us to fulfill our responsibility in hygiene and infection prevention in schools in the new term. It was very important to work with TSE which is an expert institution in quality control. TSE has supported us to raise experts and personnel who will test the standards in education. Our teachers and trainers received training. We have raised awareness about hygiene conditions at schools during this process. In this light, cooperation with TSE was very important. We have prepared which school should adapt which standards and made a check list. We will follow TSE approach in hygiene rules applied for corridors, teachers' lounge, classrooms, wet areas and gardens. We preferred to carry out an inter institutional project as we are aware of our responsibility to the public and the parents."
Pointing out that the Ministry has been carrying out a project about hygiene standards, Minister Selçuk said schools have to adapt higher standards about hygiene in the new term after the beginning of coronavirus pandemic.
Software to monitor hygiene
"We have conducted meetings with teachers, parents and school principals as a part of guidelines project. They expressed their views and as a result of consultations we have shaped the final version of guidelines. We have trained 2 thousand vocational health and safety inspectors for the implementation of these guidelines. In addition to external audits, schools will check their own conditions, too. Every school will be responsible for implementing these standards and the Ministry will give consultancy services to schools. We have developed a software for the systematic monitoring of this process. This software will help us monitor and will make easy reporting," said Minister Selçuk.
Special guidelines for parents, students and teachers
Underlining the importance of personal care and skills of students, Minister Selçuk stated that schools will give an orientation program for students in order to raise awareness about personal hygiene. "We will prepare different and special guidelines for parents, students and teachers," said Minister Selçuk. He also thanked the Minister of Industry and Technology Mustafa Varank for their support in the preparation of the guidelines.
"We have achieved an important step in an effort to give safest and healthiest conditions for face to face education at schools"
Meanwhile, the Minister of Industry and Technology Mustafa Varank reminded that children will go back to school soon and said, "We have been experiencing very hard and unusual days in the the last 4 months. We know that students have missed their friends and teachers. This protocol is an important step in an effort to give safest and healthiest conditions for face to face education at schools."
Noting that the whole world went through a hard test due to the new type of coronavirus (Covid-19) and Turkey has passed this test successfully due to government's policies, Varank said, "Our ministry had focused on KOSGEB, TÜBİTAK and regional development policies, vaccine-medicine and test kit development studies, production of intensive care ventilators and many other issues including distance working in Technoparks and R&D centers."
745 companies received certificates
Minister Varank stated that the Ministry of Industry and Technology and TSE have prepared "COVID-19 Hygiene, Infection Prevention and Control Guidelines" for industrial organizations and they also made additions to these guidelines for the tourism sector. Companies which implemented suggested measures received "Covid-19 Safe Production, Safe Service and Safe Tourism Quality Certificates". "Until now, 745 companies received their certificates," added Varank.
Standard for Education Institutions
Varank underlined that they have been working in an effort to maintain conditions for the children's safe return to school under the guidance of the Ministry of National Education since early June. He stated that they blended the field experience of TSE with the experts' suggestions, decision of Science Board affiliated to the Ministry of Health and criteria issued by UNESCO and prepared the "Development of Hygiene Standards and Infection Prevention Guidelines in Education Institutions".
"My School is Clean Certificate"
Varank stressed that state schools can apply to the Ministry of National Education while private schools can also apply to the TSE adding that, "expert teams will audit and make the certification of schools after the application process. Auditions will be repeated at least in every two days according to the size of the school. Schools that passed the audition successfully will be able to receive "My School is Clean" certificate. This certificate will take hygiene measures to a higher level and parents can send their children to schools confidently.
"An example for other countries"
Reminding that the United Nations surveys reveal that every year 1,5 million children die due to inadequate hygiene conditions, Varank said, "This figure means there is 1 unpreventable death occurrance in every 20 seconds and there are 4 thousand and 100 unpreventable deaths every day. We want to become an example for other countries with our guidelines and it can be used in the international arena. We do not want children to die due to inadequate hygiene conditions in the World."
Minister Varank thanked those who worked for the development of these guidelines and also Minister Selçuk. Both ministers put their signatures under the protocol after the speeches.