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Safe Schools for All

What Is a Safe School?

The worldwide initiative of safe school (WISS) was proposed in Second Session of Global Platform on Disaster Reduction in 2009 for the first. During the session it was planned that national assessments of the safety of existing education should be undertaken by 2011 and concrete action plan for safer school should be developed and implemented in disaster prone countries by 2015[1].

The Global Alliance for Disaster risk reduction and resilience in the education sector defines safe school as a combination of three components as shown in Fig. 1

• Safe Learning Facilities (disaster-resilient infrastructure)

• School Disaster Management

• Disaster Risk Reduction and Resilience Education


Figure 1: safe school

According to definition of the Global Alliance for Disaster Risk Reduction and Resilience in the Education Sector, a school considered as a safe one if it contains three pillars as follows:

Safe Learning Facilities

It means structural safety in construction of schools and retrofitting vulnerable ones. The construction of new schools and retrofitting the old ones should be according to building codes and standards that ensure safety of schools structurally. In other words, the building of schools and facilities used in education centers should be considered as an important factor to achieve safe schools.

School Disaster Management

This component includes contingency plans, school staffs and children preparedness in disaster situation. Training exercises, evacuation drills are some activities in this area. Preparedness means to be ready to respond to a disaster and manage its consequences through measures taken prior, after and during an event. As illustrated in Fig. 2, there are four main phases in disaster management that should be considered in the disaster management cycle: prevention and mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery [2]. It is obvious that these phases are highly interconnected; in other words, each one influences the others. The first stage in the emergency management cycle is prevention and mitigation. It involves actions that omit or decrease the likelihood of a disaster or crisis in schools. The second phase goes through processes for preparing school staffs and children for probable disaster. Response is considered as a third step in disaster management that is taking actions to effectively contain and resolve an emergency that will be enhanced by thorough and effective collaboration during the last two phases. The last one is recovery that establishes policies and procedures to assist school staffs in returning to function after a disaster.


Disaster Risk Reduction and Resilience Education

This pillar aims to include disaster risk reduction as a part of school curricula and to strengthen teacher education in disaster risk reduction and resilience education. This component should be considered by Ministries of Education in order to improve life-saving skills of pupils and teachers. Resilience is the capacity of a system, community or society to adapt to disturbances resulting from hazards by persevering, recuperating or changing to reach and maintain an acceptable level of functioning that can be built through empowering student and teachers to share responsibility to keep hazards from becoming disasters.






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