01.12.2010 - UNESCO Office in Kathmandu

Reducing Disaster Risk with Nepal’s education sector

All children should have access to school – all year round

The risk and impact of disasters can be reduced through preparedness and knowledge building. UNESCO in Nepal will advise the authorities on their implementation of the National Strategy for Disaster Risk Management in the education sector.

Some natural disasters, such as earthquakes are unpredictable and can wreak massive destruction in seconds. 

The authorities can reduce their devastating impact by improving the quality of buildings and other heavy structures – and by improving people’s knowledge. 

Some disasters develop gradually, and some return on a regular basis. During each monsoon in Nepal, schools are flooded or used as shelters by flood victims. 

Students and teachers cannot reach their school; some even drown or are swept away by landslides. Thousands suffer from diarrhoea and water-borne diseases. 

These incidents severely hinder learning for children, youth and adults. 

Curriculum and textbooks revision 

The National Strategy for Disaster Risk Management in Nepal has highlighted the role the education sector can play in reducing the risks of natural hazards. 

These include curriculum and text book revision. Science textbooks for the sixth to eight grade now have integrated disaster preparedness. Upcoming efforts in several parts of the education sector call for central coordination. 

Mapping the needs and central coordination 

UNESCO is currently mapping the actors in Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) in education in Nepal. The draft map so far includes close to 40 actors. Stakeholders and actors need coordination in order to avoid duplication and gaps. They need to know what to expect from the coordinator – and from each other. In November 2010, UNESCO asked the Ministry of Education to provide a mandate for the coordinating body. The ministry has asked for UNESCO’s advice in this process. 

Disaster risk reduction, preparedness and response are related 

Reducing the risk for disasters is related to preparing for disasters, and to responding to the needs of disaster victims. UNESCO is a member of Nepal’s Humanitarian Education Cluster, led by Nepal’s Department of Education, UNICEF Nepal and Save the Children Nepal. 

Recently, UNESCO’s International Institute for Educational Planning in Paris launched the 2010 version of the Guidebook for Planning Education in Emergencies and Reconstruction. The guidebook aims to support educational authorities in providing equal access to quality education for children affected by conflict or disaster – which can also provide a unique opportunity to reform an education system. 

UNESCO is also a member and supporter of the Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE) – an open and virtual network of more than 4,000 members worldwide. INEE’s main tool is the Minimum Standards for Education: Preparedness, Response, Recovery. 

Click here for more information on INEE tools and resources.

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