Education systems play a crucial role in preventing loss of lives and infrastructure in the event of disaster. To strengthen the disaster preparedness of Caribbean countries through education and safe school facilities, UNESCO provided training to 45 education planners, education infrastructure planners and curriculum developers from 14 Caribbean countries in Antigua from 29 June to 1 July 2015.
During the three-day training, participants engaged in interactive activities to develop comprehensive school safety and education sector policies and plans. Two particular aspects of the training focused on creating and enhancing school disaster management plans and increasing participants’ capacities to integrate disaster risk reduction (DRR) education in school curricula.
Participants confirmed that the “workshop was timely” and “very relevant to day to day work”. After the training, one participant summarized “I now have a passion for comprehensive school safety and DRR education.” “The information learned will be put into action when I return to my country”, added his colleague.
Disaster risk reduction education can provide life-saving skills that protect people during and after disasters. DRR can also support the mitigation and prevention on a long-term basis of the human causes of disasters such as failed natural resources management and climate change. Through good planning for DRR in education which includes safer buildings and effective campus management, schools can turn into disaster safe places. Disaster preparedness in schools can also help education systems recover faster after a disaster.
UNESCO promotes DRR education as a member of the Global Alliance for Disaster Risk Reduction and Resilience in the Education Sector (GADRRRES).