Government taking steps to ensure school safety

Kathmandu, September 16

The government is taking steps to address Comprehensive School Safety through changes in various aspects such as teachers’ training, curriculum, building infrastructure, and community awareness.

With the Eighth Amendment to the Education Act, school structures are divided into two levels: basic and secondary, incorporating school education up to Grade XII within the school system.

For the new school structure, the Curriculum Development Centre is planning to revise the National Curriculum Design to address the issues of Disaster Risk Reduction in a more specific manner.

Deputy Director at CDC Gehanath Gautam said today that the new school structure demands a revised curriculum. “The DRR concerns will also be addressed while modifying the National Curriculum Design from Grade I to XII. We are holding internal discussions for this.”

The CDC has already prepared a teachers’ guide with information on 14 types of natural disasters, including earthquakes, and resource books for teachers.

Comprehensive School Safety is a global framework that supports The Global Alliance for Disaster Risk Reduction and Resilience in the Education Sector and The Worldwide Initiative for Safe Schools, in preparation for the third United Nations World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, 2015.

The goals of CSS are to protect learners and education workers from death, injury, and harm in schools, to plan for educational continuity in the face of all expected hazards and threats, to safeguard education sector investments, and to strengthen risk reduction and resilience through education.

CSS rests on three pillars: safe learning facilities, school disaster management, and risk reduction and resilience education.

The earthquakes last year damaged 9,353 schools in 59 districts. The total damage and losses in the education sector was estimated at Rs 31.3 billion, according to the Post Disaster Need Assessment.

People have started settling to safer places and emigrating from their villages post-quake. Recently, the Global Report on Internal Displacement 2016 stated that Nepal recorded the third highest level of new displacement worldwide, in both relative and absolute terms.

A study report prepared by Child Centred Disaster Risk Reduction Consortium earlier this year after consultation with children from two selected schools in six districts — Baglung, Prabat, Kailali, Doti, Kalikot, and Banke — in January had recommended to the government to have a specific and appropriate course on disaster risk reduction activities that can be supported with some co-curricular and extra-curricular activities.

Children participating in the consultation had asked the government to mobilise community, parents, teachers, and students for awareness activities about possible disaster situations in the community.

Similarly, specific training on information and skills of management of different disaster-related situations for teachers was sought.

Addressing such concerns for different spheres, National Centre for Educational Development is planning to train education officers up to undersecretary level and all teachers from community schools.