Disaster Communication for Teachers

On 24 June 2020, UNESCO Jakarta organized an online MasterClass on Disaster Communication for UNESCO Designated Sites with sub-topic on “Education for Disaster Risk Reduction Integrating Sendai Framework on Disaster Risk Reduction and Sustainable Development Goals for in-Service Teacher Training”.

The webinar discussed how science communication and disaster communication can contribute to the safety measures  during the reopening of schools after the disasters caused by natural hazards such as earthquake and tsunami, as well as biological hazards such as COVID-19.  The MasterClass is organized in partnership with ProSPER.Net - the United Nations University Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability and supported by Japan Funds-in-Trust.

The first session set the scene on disaster communication for education in the post-recovery situation. Prof Rajib Shaw from Keio University, Japan, presented the disaster risk communication for natural and biological hazards. Prof Tomonori Ichinose from Miyagi University of Education continued the session with an introduction to Sendai Framework on Disaster Risk Reduction (SFDRR) and SDG  3 (end of epidemics by 2030) as reference for disaster communication on natural hazards such as earthquakes and biological hazards such as COVID-19. He gave an example how disaster experience can be utilized for education in the UNESCO Associated Schools Network (ASPnet) and the UNESCO designated sites in Japan. Prof. Eko Hariyono from Universitas Negeri Surabaya, Indonesia, presented the Volcano Learning Project (VLP), a science communication model to the volcanic eruption crisis in Indonesia. The first session was concluded by Prof Indrajit Pal from Asian Institute of Technology, Thailand, with a lecture on the role of higher education institutions network needs to play in disaster resilience.

The second session consisted of country report from in-service teacher master training course students of Miyagi University of Education on school re-openings in Bhutan, Brazil, India, Nigeria, and Tonga. The teachers shared the challenges and extra measurements taken during school re-opening process in those five countries. The importance of disaster communication was also highlighted by teachers to bridging the knowledge gap between school and community, and raising community awareness on disaster resilience, such as during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The last session were dedicated to share the lessons learnt on disaster education and communication and school re-opening in Japan after the Tsunami of 2011 and how this lesson learnt can be implemented for school reopening amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr Takashi Oda from Miyagi University of Education presented the lesson learnt from the past Tohuku Earthquake and compared the difference on schools coping strategy between two disasters in Japan. Dr Ryo Saito concluded the session with a lecture on school and education system in Japan while and after school closure during COVID-19 pandemic.

More than 790 participants with high involvement of women in education and science sectors—57% of the registered participants are female, 43% are male and 1% of the participant prefer not to say their gender—registered for the Masterclass. Most of the registered participants were around 25 to 34 years old (39%). The participants were originated from 20 countries in Asia and the Pacific, Africa (Gambia, Nigeria), Europe (Netherlands and Italy), and South America (El Savador).

This Masterclass session contributes to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals, especially on Goal 1 (target 1.5 on reducing exposure and vulnerability to disasters), Goal 4 (target 4.5 on equal access on education and 4.c on increase the supply of qualified teachers), Goal 11 (target 11.5 on reducing the impact of disaster) and Goal 13 (target 13.1 on strengthening resilience and capacity to disasters and target 13.3 improving disaster education).

For more information, please contact: Programme Specialist for Science Policy and Capacity Building, UNESCO Jakarta, Ms Ai Sugiura (