Sharing Experiences on Safer School Initiatives around the World
Each year, countries suffer great tragedy when natural hazards affect children, destroy their schools and disrupt their education. The 2008 Wenchuan earthquake resulted in the collapse of 7,400 schools. The Kashmir earthquake caused 7,000 schools to collapse and the 2010 Haiti earthquake destroyed 1,350 schools. In addition to earthquakes, tropical cyclones cause extreme devastation, damaging annually an estimated 1000 classrooms in Madagascar.
A number of global frameworks recognize the role of school safety and education in building resilient communities around the world. For example, the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA) highlights knowledge and education as one of its five priorities for action. In this context, multilateral and bilateral development finance institutions, UN agencies, and non-governmental agencies (NGOs) are engaged in efforts to support countries to make schools resilient to natural hazards. Bilateral donors support the safe school agenda through their contribution to these actors and directly through their own programs.
Today, while many countries have started actively supporting initiatives to make schools more resilient to natural hazards, challenges remain. Progress has been achieved in building school preparedness and response capacity. Effective solutions can be achieved through closer collaboration between the structural and non-structural dimensions of resilience. Structural measures and policies need to be complemented with non-structural actions, such as emergency planning, and education on risk reduction.
The focus of the session is to learn from successful safe school initiatives and to move forward the dialogue on a global school safety program. The session will discuss the following set of questions: (i) What are the drivers of success? (ii) What are the key building blocks of a potential global program for safer schools?, and (iii) How can we best scale-up and transfer experiences?