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Indicators for safe schools

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Response to a query on indicators for safe schools

Response to a query on indicators for safe schools

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  • 1. Disaster Management Community Education CommunitySolution Exchange for the Disaster ManagementCommunitySolution Exchange for the Education CommunityConsolidated ReplyFOR COMMENTS: Indicators for Safe SchoolsCompiled by G Padmanabhan, and Shubhangi Sharma Resource Persons and NupurGupta, and Shreya Baruah, Research AssociatesIssue Date: 7 September 2010From Deepesh Sinha, SEEDS India, New DelhiPosted 9 July 2010Right to Education is one of the fundamental rights in India. Education cannot be ensured if theenvironment is not safe. Presently the education system is facing several challenges, to addressschool safety issues. Among all public amnesties, schools and the children inside them are themost vulnerable groups during any disasters. Thousands of children lose their lives every year indisasters, mostly while in school. No task is more important as creating a safe learningenvironment for our children. They should be the leaders and work as change agents for adisaster free future.SEEDS India with Emmanuel Hospital Association (EHA), in partnership with Christian Aid, UK andwith the support from European Commission Humanitarian Aid Department (ECHO) is working ona project titled “Localizing the Hyogo Framework of Action, Integrated Community Based DRRthrough Schools and Hospital Safety”. (To read more about HFA click here) Among otheractivities the project intends to develop Indicators on school safety. The indicators will at alocal level act as a tool to measure the preparedness levels of School and School Communities.They will promote the concept of local level Disaster Risk Reduction as an integrated model forprevention and preparedness for hospitals, schools and communities. The indicators will identifyareas of action, role of stakeholders and will set the targets to be achieved by 2015. Apart fromthis a National Alliance of Schools has been formed which will take this initiative forward.Towards this a National workshop on “Safe Schools and Hospitals: Developing Indicators forPractice” supported by National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) organized in February
  • 2. 2010 in New Delhi, seeking from both policy makers and practitioners guidance for designingthese indicators for practice. Based on this we have prepared a set of indicators for School Safetyunder the following Broad Categories:• Policy• Curriculum• Structural Mitigation• Preparedness• Sustainable Practices• Health and EnvironmentTo view the exhaustive list please click:ftp://ftp.solutionexchange.net.in/public/edu/resource/res08071001.doc (DOC 57 KB)Taking this initiative further and to finalise the indicators, we request members of theDisaster Management and Education Community to kindly review the indicators forschools safety for their relevance to the context and also suggest more indicators foreach category based on your experience and vision.Your contributions will be duly acknowledged in the final document. Looking forward to aninteresting sharing of ideas!Responses were received, with thanks, from1. Jayanta Bora, Price Waterhouse Coopers Limited (PwC), Bhopal2. Puthumai A. Nazarene, Emergency Consultant, West Bengal3. Chaman Pincha, Gender Researcher, Chennai4. Abha Mishra, UNDP, New Delhi (Response1) (Response2)5. Anuradha Gupta, Prithvi Innovations, Lucknow6. Vimala Ramachandran, Educational Research Unit, New Delhi7. Suresh Rao, Catholic Relief Services, Ahmedabad8. Marla Petal, Risk RED, California, United States of India9. Mindy Eichhorn, Destiny Education, Mumbai10. Prem Prakash , Rashtriya Indian Military College, Srinagar11. Ashoke Joshi, Srinivasan Services Trust (SST), Chennai12. Seema Pawar, World Vision India, New Delhi13. Kalika Mohapatra, Independent Consultant, Bhubaneswar14. Umesh Chandra Gaur , Confederation of Community Based Organizations of India, New Delhi15. Rajesh Malhotra, Brotherhood, New Delhi16. Pranab Kumar Bhoi, Lutheran World Service India Trust, Bhubaneswar17. Ranjan Praharaj , Independent Consultant, Bhubaneswar18. Laxminarayan Nanda, Room to Read India Trust, Hyderabad19. Kedareswar Choudhury, Darabar Sahitya Sansad, Orissa20. Mike Feerick, ALISON, Ireland21. Naveen Gupta, DHV India Pvt Ltd, New Delhi22. Anthony Chettri, Caritas India, Jalpaiguri, West Bengal23. B.L. Kaul, Society for popularization of Science and Progressive Educational Society, Jammu24. Harichandan Mishra, Project Concern International, New Delhi25. MP Sajnani, Independent Consultant, New Delhi26. Aditi Umrao, United Nations Development Programme, Lucknow27. Himadri Maitra, Department Of Disaster Management West Bengal, Kolkata
  • 3. 28. Poothullil John Mathew Martin, Department of Outreach & Extension Services, Ali Yavar Jung National Institute for the Hearing Handicapped, Mumbai29. Ratnakar Gedam, Retd Adviser, Planning Commission, New DelhiFurther contributions are welcome!Summary of ResponsesRelated ResourcesResponses in FullSummary of ResponsesThe query seeking comments on the draft Indicators for School Safety being developed to act asa tool to measure the preparedness levels of School and School Communities, yielded interestingfeedback. Members aappreciated this timely endeavor and agreed that the compilation wascomprehensive and included all parameters required for Disaster Risk Reduction.Overall, discussants opined that comprehensive school safety policies at Block, District or Statelevel essentially include three goals of protecting children and staff from physical harm;continuing education in event of emergency and developing a culture of safety.Members pointed out that indicators that will define preparedness at schools levels include levelof preparedness of the school; capacity of student and teachers; effectiveness of Mock drills;structural safety of school building and linkages with local authorities or community. Policy,curriculum and sustainability are part of macro level preparedness which needs to be taken up bythe government and other educational institutions. The schools only need to follow the policy interms of preparedness. Sensitization and advocacy is required at policy level for modification ofthe existing policy and sustain such preparedness initiatives.Adding to the list of key issues included in the indicators, members highlighted some verypertinent issues.They expressed concern over Gender concerns not being mentioned in any of the components.Members opined that the term children masks differential vulnerabilities and capacities of girlsand boys, and the term teachers again masks the differential vulnerabilities and capacities ofmen and women teachers. Unless gender concerns and issues in school safety are made visiblewith conscious efforts, the needs of girls/women teachers and their specific gender basedconstraints are not automatically addressed. Hence they suggested stating gender sensitiveindicators under each of the components. Some of the gender indicators members listed were:• Gender representation in school DRR committees and task forces;• Gender concerns included in School Disaster Management Plan;• Appropriate percentage of trained Male and Female teachers on DRR;• Gender sensitive sanitation and hygiene provisions including stockpiling items.Members also advised reflecting Psychological aspects of a safer school, in the indicators,such as: coordination between the teaching, non - teaching staff and children which plays a veryimportant role in the safer school process and efforts on mentally preparing children for facingany emergency situations.Safe school needs to be reckoned not only from natural disasters like earthquake, suddenchanges in climate but also how safe are children from physical and mental attack as well as
  • 4. sexual exploitation. Schools are institution for shaping the countries future and thereforededication and affection the teachers have for students’ care, imparting knowledge, buildingcharacter and inculcating good habits, welfare should also be indicators. *********************Members provided following comments specific to the documentPolicyMembers found the idea of developing state wide policies by Education Department for allschools of the state more appropriate than every school preparing one. They suggested havingcompliance mechanism to ensure the implementation of the policy at local level. School safetyparameters can be covered in State Disaster Management Policy and the District EducationDepartment of each district may include specific measures to be taken in their respective DistrictDisaster Management Plan. This members suggested can be included briefly in Teachers trainingProgrammes to inform them with the overall framework determined under the policy for schoolsafety.Therefore relevant indicators at school level, members opined can restrict to Indicator number 5,6, 7, 9, 16 and 18 respectively.Inputs on specific indicators:Indicator 1: Does school has Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) policy?Disaster Risk has to be quantified as risk is a measureable property. To make it a measurableindicator define standard for preparing and evaluating a School DRR policy.Indicator 3: DRR is mainstreamed in school policiesMainstreaming in school policies is a subjective item which cannot be measured. Instead aguideline for DRR is required.Indicator 4: Does Hospital has role and responsibilities for committee of SchoolDisaster Management Plan (SDMP)To be reworded as, “Is there a school disaster management plan with role and responsibilities ofthe school committee clearly defined”.Indicator 5: Does the School has written guidelines on structural Mitigation?Such guidelines should be developed and circulated by the State Education Department. In caseof Government schools, there are other actors like VEC/Contractors/Block/Taluka/Mandal levelengineers those who have a major role in structural aspects.Indicator 7: Does school has written manuals for training and capacity building forschool teachers, non teaching staff, and children?-The quality of manual and its approval by education board should be taken. Schools to allocatetime in the school calendar for such training.Indicator 9: Does school has contingency plan for different emergencies?-Prepare plans for disasters that have happened in the past and for those which are a potentialthreat to the school.Indicator 13: How School Disaster Management Plan (SDMP) is integrated with othercommunity initiatives?Develop micro level/specific parameters for measuring the integration.
  • 5. Indicator 15: Does school has tie up with national and state disaster managementbodies for monitoring and evaluations to ensure implementation of nationalguidelines?Include the role of the local DM bodies at district/Block/Taluka/mandal/Tehsil level administrationor education department. Schools may connect with local bodies instead of National.Indicator 17: What are the coordination mechanisms between school and statedisaster management authority?Each individual school cannot have a coordination mechanism; it needs to be collective. Schoolscan have internal coordination mechanisms.Apart from the above, members added the following indicators to the Policy section:• General Safety Policy- Procedures related to a safe and orderly school conducive to effective learning;• Sexual Harassment Policy- Commitment to protection of children against all forms of sexual violence before and during;• School Safety Action Plan- Essential for continuity of school safety, building a climate free from all threats, annual mock drill plan, and increasing capacity to respond to disasters;• Village Education Committees and Parent Teacher Associations of all the schools to adopted school safety policies. Information on such is shared with the local police and the PRI institutions;CurriculumInputs on specific indicators:Indicator 4: School teachers are disseminating knowledge and information to otherstakeholders in user friendly way.Describe who are the other stakeholders and some examples of user-friendly ways of knowledgeand information dissemination.Indicator 9: School has benchmarks to evaluate through tests and assignments ofunderstanding of DRR knowledge.It should also be evaluated whether School authorities and children have knowledge of Do’s &Dont’s or not and to evaluate this there should be a practical test.Indicator 7: School is organizing co-curricular activities models / quiz / practice /drawing and essay competition etc.)Lay standards in terms of timing/number of events should to make the indicator measurable andverifiable.Structural MitigationRespondents felt that the questions related to retrofitting, detailed evaluation, institutionalmechanism for ensuring structural safety, compliance with building regulations etc are to beaddressed to district level education department/ engineering department. The relevantquestions for school authorities may be:• Has the school been certified for structural safety?• If so, when? If no, has the matter been taken up with District level education authorities?• Is a copy of approved structural designs of school available with school authorities?• Which agency is responsible for ensuring structural safety of school and its maintenance?
  • 6. Inputs on specific indicators:Indicator 8: Schools are allocating economical resources for ensuring structural ofbuilding to provide safety of staff and children.Include non structural safety also.Indicator 4: School is in strong capacities for structural mitigation i.e. structural riskidentification, assessment, analysis, and dissemination.Provide indicators on How to measure ‘strong capacity’.Indicator 5: School is in practice of non- structural mitigation measure as betterresilience capacity.Define to what extent school needs to practice; this indicator needs clarity.Indicator 7: Institutional mechanisms are in place within schools for maintenanceand structural safety at its own.This may not be possible in case of Government schools.Indicator 8: Schools are allocating economical resources for ensuring structuralsafety of building to provide safety of staff and children.This may not be possible in case of Government schoolsIndicator 10: Compliance with the building regulations and physician planningstandards for structural safety and safe locations.May not be 100% possible but some schools may comply to some extent. So, yes or no answerto the question may not fulfill the purpose. There is a need to reword this one.Indicator 12: Schools are allocating economical resources for ensuring structuresafety of building to provide safety of staffThis may not be possible in case of Government schools. Also this should be the responsibility ofthe State Education Department but their compliance can be done at school level. In thiscategory, questions regarding capacity development of engineers and masons regardingstructural safety, also should be asked to evaluate.PreparednessMembers mentioned that the goal of the Disaster Preparedness at School level is to prepareteachers, employees, students, parents/guardians to be act appropriately in emergencysituations. Therefore the indicators could focus on reflecting the preparedness levels of schoolsuch as:• How prepared is the school to minimize injuries and loss of life among students and school personnel?• Can the school provide care for disaster victims?• Is the school property safe?• Are protocols related to protection, release, first-aid, student control etc. in times of disaster, and trauma management in place?• Are tools for crisis management in place?Based on the scope above, members recommending restricting to Indicator number 3, 4, 5, 6and 8 respectivelyInputs on specific indicators:
  • 7. Indicator 2: School has done their hazard, vulnerability, capacity, and needassessment.This should be done on half yearly/yearly basis. It is also important to know whether all thestakeholders are aware about these or not.Indicator 10: School has special fund for emergency activitiesAmount of this fund must be decided based on the number of students in the schoolApart from the above, members added the following indicators to the Preparedness section:• Preparedness Plan includes the role of administrators, first responders, SOP relating to informing the police, the role of the staff, teachers, students, and food service staff; and of course the role of parents in an eventuality.• All children and teachers know the right way of doing Drop-Cover-Hold.• Significant number of teachers, representatives from Village education Committees (VEC) and children in fourth grade and above have been trained in Primary First Aid, and the Teachers and VEC members are trained in First Aid, relating to Fire safety, drowning, cuts and burns etc.• All children will know their names and address and phone number of their parents.• All children whose homes are more than 500 meters from the school follow the Buddy System, and travel with at least one companion—peer or a known authorized adult person.• School children can correctly identify the left side of the road from the right side, and they know the correct side to follow, and the precautionary observation to cross a road.• School has a disaster management committee• School has standard procedures for emergencies (building evacuation, evacuation to safe haven, shelter-in-place, lockdown, and family reunification)• School has standard procedures for specific hazards faced, revises risk reduction plans annually, practices simulation drills annually - and uses these to guide training and improvement in the plan.• School has identified alternate school sitesSustainable PracticesInputs on specific indicators:Indicator 1: School is regularly practicing DRR mechanisms. –Describe what DRR mechanisms mean at school level.Indicator 2: School regularly upgrades staff skills through capacity building processfor all involved-Define the number of students and teachers that need to be trained. Mention indicative valuesfor the term “regular” so that it will be easy to measure and verify.Indicator 3: School is disseminating DRR and safety information through disastermanagement week, time table, SDMP, drills, extra curricular activities-Better to pre-define all the possible extracurricular activitiesIndicator 9 : School has proper timetable for different DRR activities-To be reworded as DRR activities incorporated in the regular school calendar.Apart from the above, members added the following indicators to the Sustainable Practicessection:• Children carry their books in thick plastic water-proof covers during monsoon season that can be inserted into their normal school bag.
  • 8. • School mobilizes community towards school safety & child protection through awareness meetings with the community, Village Education Committees and teachers & parents• School organizes annual Mock-Drill on fire, thunderstorm and emergency evacuation and first-aidHealth and EnvironmentInputs on specific indicators:Indicator 5: School has arranged training of teachers on trauma counseling to beprepared for their own fitness-Include First aid training and indicate the number of teachers who are trained.Indicator 2: School is addressing need of education on environmental issues tovarious stakeholders.-This is very subjective, needs to be made objective.Indicator 4: School has special trained its teachers to identify and keep track ofgeneral health children-Please specify how many teachers and what is the level of training.Indicator 6: Periodical health checkup camp is carried out for all the children,administrative staff, teaching and non teaching staff-The term “Periodical” needs to be defined properly to make it measurableApart from the above, members added the following indicators to the Policy section:• Schools have safe drinking water facility.• All children follow hand-washing on a habitual basis.• All schools have separate sanitary facility (toilets) for boys and girls, that the children have access to them, and the children will know the correct way of using them.• School follows strict adherence to cleanliness of W.Cs in the school premises.• All Garbage bins have lidsRelated ResourcesRecommended Documentation(From Shreya Baruah, Research Associate, New Delhi)DIPECHO Disaster Risk Reduction Initiatives in Uttarakhand State, IndiaProject Report Localizing the HFA, Integrated Community Based DRR through Schools andHospital safety;Available at http://www.eha-health.org/resources/doc_download/103-dipecho-disaster-risk-reduction-initiatives-in-uttarakhand-state (PDF 909.26 KB) The project catering to develop tools on integrated approach on community based DRR through schools, hospitals and to work on advocacy and capacity building to aid the scaling up of the initiative. Safe School Experience of SEEDS in IndiaPowerpoint Presentation; by SEEDS India.;Available athttp://www.preventionweb.net/files/globalplatform/entry_presentation~3.SEEDSschoolsafety%5B1%5D.ppt (Microsoft Powerpoint 825 KB)
  • 9. Powerpoint presentation by SEEDS India on thier safe school experiences in Gujarat and and innovative ideasRecommended Organizations and Programmes(From Shreya Baruah, Research Associate, New Delhi)Sustainable Environment & Ecological Development Society, New Delhi(15/A First Floor, Institutional Area, Sector-IV, R.K. Puram,New Delhi, India ; Tel: 91-11-26174272,26174572;Fax: 91-11-26174572 www.seedsindia.org; SEEDS is a non-profit voluntary organization working to make vulnerable communities resilient to disasters.Quake School, Gujarat203, Hariansh Apartment,17, srimali Society,Navrangpura, Ahmedabad Gujarat ; Tel: +91 7926561571 ; Fax: 91 79 40043419 contact@quakeschool.org; www.quakeschool.org; QuakeSchool is a technical research and implementation consulting agency based in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India.Save the Children- Bal Raksha Bharat, New DelhiSave the Children, Bal Raksha, Bharat, 4th Floor, Farm Bhawan, 14-15 Nehru Place, New Delhi -110019;Tel:011-42294900;Fax:011-42294990.info@savethechildren.in; www.savethechildren.in; World’s leading independent organization for children that works to inspire breakthroughs in the way the world treats children to achieve immediate & lasting change in their lives.United Nations Childrens Fund, New Delhi UNICEF, 73 Lodi Estate, New Delhi 110 003; Tel: 011 2469-0401, 2469-1410; Fax: 011 2462-7521, 2469-1410 newdelhi@unicef.org; www.unicef.org; UNICEF is fully committed to ensure that each child born in this vast and complex country gets the best start in life, thrives and develops to his or her full potential.Christian Aid, New DelhiA-15/18 Poorvi Marg,Vasant Vihar New Delhi -110057 ; Tel: 011-261536651 / 261401933;www.christianaid.org.uk; Christian Aid is a Christian organisation that insists the world can and must be swiftly changed to one where everyone can live a full life, free from poverty.United Nation Development Programme (UNDP), New DelhiPost Box No. 3059, 55 Lodhi Estate New Delhi, India. Pin Code - 110 003; Tel: 91 11 46532333;Fax: 91 11 24627612 info.in@undp.org; www.undp.org.in; UNDP is the United Nations global development network. It advocates for change & connects countries to knowledge, experience & resources to help people build a better lifeRelated Consolidated RepliesConducting Successful Mock drills from Sudhir Kumar, United Nations DevelopmentProgramme, Mumbai (Experiences). Disaster Management Community. Issued 3 April 2008Available at http://www.solutionexchange-un.net.in/drm/cr/cr-se-drm-11030801.pdf (PDF, Size:99 KB) Brings out experiences on implementing mock drills and suggestions on the best strategy/way to conduct successful mock drills without any panic.
  • 10. Incorporating Disaster Management Education in School Curriculum, from SiddharthaChoudhury, Gujarat State Disaster Management Authority, Gandhinagar(Experiences). Disaster Management Community, Education Community,Issued 26 September 2007. Available at http://www.solutionexchange-un.net.in/drm/cr/cr-se-drm-ed-08080701.pdf (PDF, Size: 194.62 KB) Seeks experiences on introduction of textbooks and views on how dealing disaster management as a separate subject can lead to more preparedness at school level.Responses in FullJayanta Bora, Price Waterhouse Coopers Limited (PwC), BhopalThe document is a nice compilation of all parameters required for Disaster Risk Reduction. I feelwe must include some measurable parameters. All the questions could be answered from one ortwo documents. But we still will not be measure the safety of such institutions, instead we must asustainable model for safety and health.I have the following comments under the ‘Policy’ section:Indicator 1: Does school has Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) policy? – For this I feel thatDisaster Risk has to be quantifieda s risk is a measureable property.Indicator 2: DRR is mainstreamed in school policies- Mainstreaming in school policies is asubjective item which cannot be measured. Instead a guideline for DRR is required.Hope this helps.Puthumai A. Nazarene, Emergency Consultant, West BengalI had worked on a proposal for an NGO for a School Safety project in a rural setting. The projecthad, among other expected outcome based indicators, the following, which I believe will be goodfor our knowledge: • All children will carry their books during the monsoon season within a thick plastic water- proof cover which can be inserted into their normal school bag. • Community mobilization towards school safety and child protection will be achieved through awareness meetings at the community level, Village Education Committee meetings, IPC with teachers and parents, and swimming competition for children. • School will be able to organize annual Mock-Drill on fire, thunderstorm and emergency evacuation, along with first-aid • All children and teachers will know the right way of doing Drop-Cover-Hold. • 80 % Teachers, 3 representatives from Village education Committees (VEC) and children in fourth grade and above would have been trained in Primary First Aid, and the Teachers and VEC members will be trained in First Aid, relating to Fire safety, drowning, cuts and burns etc. • 100 % children will know their names and address, and the children also will know the phone of their parents, if they have any. • 50 % Families will maintain a Child Survival Kit (CSK) that is suitable for the child. • 80 % teachers will be trained in child protection and child rights. • 50 % teachers will have the capacity to observe changes in child behaviour and will take note of it for observation, interaction, and action, if necessary.
  • 11. • Student Volunteers will know to observe bullying behaviours among students, report them correctly to the teachers so that appropriate corrective action may be taken, and standard protocols established for informing the parents informed. • Parents are aware of restrained action, child behaviour observation, and reporting protocols in case of information on child abuse, violence or bullying on the part of a student or teacher, or any other third person. • A child counselor is available for regular interaction with children of violent tendencies or extreme oscillating behaviors. • All children whose homes are more than 500 meters from the school will follow the Buddy System, and will travel with at least one companion—peer or a known authorized adult person. • Teachers would regularly monitor the Buddy system, and the genuineness of the adult companion, if any. • 100 % of school children can correctly identify the left side of the road from the right side, and they know the correct side to follow, and the precautionary observation to cross a road. They will also strictly take an adult companion to cross roads and pathways in times of flood and other emergencies. • 100 % of the schools have safe drinking water facility. A resolution to this effect would be passed at the Ward and panchayat level, and followed up by the VEC. • 100 % children will follow hand-washing on a habitual basis. • VECs, PRIs and school authorities will ensure that all schools have separate sanitary facility (toilets) for boys and girls, that the children have access to them, and the children will know the correct way of using them. • Village Education Committees and Parent Teacher Associations of all the schools would have adopted school safety policies (we may call it DRR policy) in convergence with the teachers of the schools. Information on such will be shared with the local police and the PRI institutions. • Demands for improved sanitary needs, first aid kits and other such needs relating to child protection may be passed at the Ward and Panchayat level, and would be followed up by the VEC. • Sufficient safety measures such as the following would be strictly followed : Keeping the mid-day meal food always covered, checking of food materials prior to and after cooking, debarring entry of children into the kitchen in schools and ensuring that the kitchens are separated from the school if both the school and the kitchen are on thatched roof.And the School Safety Policy to be adopted by the school may have the following components: • Assessment of School Climate and Safety- The analysis reviews what is working well and what areas might need improvement vis-à-vis Child Protection • Child Abuse Reporting Procedures- How and in what way such reports will be done, and who will report to whom, and how criminal proceedings may be initiated. • Intruder/ Lockdown- An intruder is considered to be a person(s) who poses a danger or threat to staff or students, real or perceived. The plan will include the role of administrators, first responders, SOP relating to informing the police, the role of the staff, teachers, students, and food service staff; and of course the role of parents in such an eventuality. • Disaster Preparedness- The goal of the Disaster Preparedness plan is to prepare teachers, employees, students, parents/guardians to react properly in emergency situations. The objectives of this emergency plan are to provide for effective action to: o Minimize injuries and loss of life among students and school personnel. o Provide care for disaster victims o Protect school property.
  • 12. o Protocols to be in place relating to protection, release, first-aid, student control etc. in times of disaster, and trauma management. o Tools to be in place for crisis management. • Discipline Policies & Regulations- Policies for pupil who committed serious acts; school discipline; early warning signals and handling “hard” children—in association with the parents and counselor. • Identifying and Responding to Imminent Warning Signs- Unlike early warning signs, imminent warning signs indicate that a student is very close to behaving in a way that is potentially dangerous to self and/or to others. Imminent warning signs require an immediate response. • General Safety- Procedures related to a safe and orderly school conducive to effective learning • Sexual Harassment Policy- Commitment to protection of children against all forms of sexual violence. • School Safety Action Plan- Essential for continuity of school safety, building a climate free from all threats, annual mock drill plan, and increasing capacity to respond to disasters.Chaman Pincha, Gender Researcher, ChennaiHave gone through the list. I am afraid the list nowhere mentions gender concerns in any of itscomponents. The term children masks differential vulnerabilities and capacities of girls and boys,and the term teachers again masks the differential vulnerabilities and capacities of men andwomen teachers.We have often seen that unless gender concerns and issues in school safety are made visiblewith conscious efforts, the needs of girls/women teachers and their specific gender basedconstraints are not automatically addressed.Hence my suggestion is to mainstream gender by stating gender sensitive indicators under eachof the components and treat children and teachers not as homogeneous groups but as groupsoperating within the framework of socially and culturally constructed gender norms.Abha Mishra, United Nations Development Programme, New Delhi (Response 1)A very good effort and rightly timed. I have made some track changes in the document (click)and have few suggestions- • Has the site of the school/hospital been assessed form hazard point and necessary measure taken to mitigate it. • Are there certain activities which will indicate that DRR has been mainstreamed in Schools or Hospitals—These activity indicators rather than a simple sentence “Is DRR mainstreamed” would give us a better picture as even compliance of one activity may result in the hospital or school saying that DRR has been mainstreamed. • We also need to find out what strategy is followed by education department and then individual school after a disaster for restoration of school buildings ( damaged due to its use during relief) and classes ( in many areas the classes run under trees while disaster refugees stay in the school building). • HRVA within the school is important but what about its surroundings—I feel this is also important. We need to develop some indicators for it.
  • 13. Anuradha Gupta, Prithvi Innovations, LucknowI agree with the views shared by Chaman Pincha about the need to consider the gender issuewhile framing these indicators.Infact there are lot of important aspects we wish to highlight and share with the group regardingthe crucial issue of safety at schools, but since we are little too busy at the moment with ourongoing plantation drives and Biodiversity workshops, we will share our experiences and views ina few days.Vimala Ramachandran, Educational Research Unit, New DelhiYes, I entirely agree with Chaman Pincha.Suresh Rao, Catholic Relief Services, AhmedabadIt would be good if Chaman Pincha can give a few illustrations of indicators.Marla Petal, Risk RED, California, United States of AmericaWhen it comes to policies (and indicators) I think that comprehensive school safety policies (atthe Board or District or State level) can be fully encompassed by 3 goals1. Protecting children and staff from physical harm2. Continuing education in event of emergency or disaster3. Developing a culture of safety.In practice three areas of action are often highlighted because they involve some overlappinggroups of actors and activities: Safe School Buildings. School Disaster Management. DisasterPrevention Education. Applying this rubric to the existing draft, there are a couple of areas thatcould be more strongly highlighted in indicators the need for:School Disaster Management at the school level, based on standard practices.This would include: • having an ongoing school disaster management committee • assessing needs locally • having standard procedures for emergencies (building evacuation, evacuation to safe haven, shelter-in-place, lockdown, and family reunification) • having standard procedures for specific hazards faced, revising risk reduction plans annually, practicing simulation drills annually - and using these to guide training and improve on the plan • identifying and reducing risks through building maintenance and non-structural risk reduction measures (ie fastening down furniture) • planning training for staff (and students and parents) in unified organization of disaster response, and response skills • having plans for alternate school sitesSchool construction as an educational opportunity, that is the construction process used toshow everyone what goes into disaster-resilient design and construction!?
  • 14. And finally Education in disaster-resilient construction which can be part of schoolcurriculum beginning with building of models in elementary school.Alas, having policies and plans on paper is rarely an indicator of anything, somehow the planningneeds to include a strong element of broad participation, a good way to get the needed skills andcompetencies, and an ongoing way of practicing and improving (eg. school drills). Similarly drillsare meaningless if they are just acted out. The most important part of the drill is the discussionafterwards of how to modify the plan to improve on practice and address the things that arentworking.Mindy Eichhorn, Destiny Education, MumbaiThe Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE) has Guidance Notes on SaferSchool Construction. You can download the notes in English and Hindi at:http://www.ineesite.org/index.php/post/safer_school_construc tion_initiative/I hope you find it helpful as you develop your indicators!Colonel Prem Prakash, Rashtriya Indian Military College, SrinagarI have read the indicators and a have a few comments. I feel the focus has mostly been onphysical aspects especially disaster aspects; there may be a need to consider other issues aswell. Some of these in random order are given below: • Safe schools need to consider security aspects like hardware, policies, technologies etc. Then they need to consider design aspects. Also the environment of the school like norms, attitude and values etc. Positive attitude will be useful. Like human personality is three dimensional-physical, cognitive, and social/emotional; likewise safety in schools need to consider other than physical aspects. • Then we need to see staff supervision, access control, crime and safety problems, inclusive values and practices, student participation and parent involvement, strong sense of belongingness of students, and high academic , pedagogic and disciplinary expectations of teachers and students. • Schools also need to involve community and have proper planning and team for assessing need and implementation. • Networking is needed at local, national and international level. • Indicators on Crime and bullying, weapon, shooting incidents, drugs, alcohol and related aspects. • Safety during vacations, outings, excursions etc. Conflict situations like in conflict zones children etc. Travel and transportation and safety during movement. State law and order and its impact on school safety. Social and communal aspects. Boarding schools will have own peculiarities. Disasters man made and natural both should be considered. Communication - physical and personal should be considered; need to have congenial environment in schools. Faculty should be empathetic. Life skills be taught and conducive environment should prevail. Health and environment has already been mentioned.These are some thoughts on the issue.Ashoke Joshi, Srinivasan Services Trust (SST), Chennai
  • 15. Thanks Chaman for writing regarding gender concerns in schools. We in SST have tried toaddress this issue. We work in over 250 government schools. All the schools are located in ruralareas. All schools have separate toilets for girls and boys. Enrollment in all the schools is 100%.98% of those enrolled continue their education till the high school stage. At the board levelexams the pass percentage ranges from 85% to 96%. Last year over 35% of those who passedthe higher secondary exam joined professional training colleges. Others have been provided withtraining in vocational skills. In these circumstances we would be grateful if some issues relatingto gender concerns could be identified. We would be happy to learn from you.Seema Pawar, World Vision India, New DelhiYes, I do agree with Chaman Pincha.Kalika Mohapatra, Independent Consultant, BhubaneswarSchool is an institution within a locality, situated either in a city, town or village. We should notconsider the school as an isolated institution; it has to have linkages with the local community.When we are going for school preparedness it supposes to be both structural and non-structuralpreparedness. If we want to have some indicators to find out the success part of thepreparedness, the indicators would be:• Level of Preparedness• Capacity of student and teachers• Effectiveness of Mock drill/exercises• Structural safety of the school• Linkages with local authority or communityPolicy, curriculum and sustainability/ mainstreaming are part of macro level preparedness/modification in the existing system; the school has to follow the policy in terms of preparedness.Sensitization/ advocacy is required at policy level for modification of the existing policy andsustain the preparedness initiatives.Yes, I agree with others that while doing the hazard mapping, vulnerability and risk assessmentof the school we should consider both natural and man made disasters. Our preparedness shouldnot limit to natural disaster only. In preparedness, school should be address the issues of bothmale and female children as well as teaching and non teaching staff present in the school.In my opinion not only school all institutions should have their own risk assessment and riskmanagement plan. The institution should have adequate knowledge and skill to implement therisk management plan. The school teachers should be trained and made accountable for regularpreparedness.Umesh Chandra Gaur, Confederation of Community Based Organizations, New DelhiThe Government is expected to provide the conceptual framework for strengthening schools ascaring, respectful and safe learning environments where all children and youth have the right toan education free from all forms of bullying and violence. They may suggest curriculum andresources to strengthen students personal and social development and offers information oneffective prevention and intervention strategies for dealing with bullying, harassment, aggressionand violence. Bullying within the context of a caring and respectful school is addressed through a
  • 16. curricular focus on personal and social development of students and a continuum of community-wide prevention and early intervention services and supports. It would be ideal if the governmentrecommend resources and programs to strengthen effective school policy and practices related toschool environments and the learning program.I also want to tell that safe schools dont just happen - they are developed by committed peopleusing appropriate and ever-improving policies, procedures and practices - the building blocks ofsafe, caring and orderly schools.Rajesh Malhotra, Brotherhood, New DelhiI would like to compliment Puthumai A. Nazarene for coming up with something so wholesomeas this. This is quite a comprehensive response. My only worry/query being that is it possible tobuild or plan Safe Schools in a highly unsafe India. Leave aside the larger picture even theimmediate surroundings of most of our schools are appalling or unsafe to say the least. By nomeans am I suggesting that safe schools should not be built or planned in India. But the wholepurpose gets defeated if children are made to walk from a safe environment into a lifethreatening environment. I know of schools here in Delhi where a thoroughly unsafe environmentexists right outside the four walls of these schools. The overall concept of safety I feel getsdefeated if it is found or practised only in a few quarters. We have to safeguard our children fromthe unlearning that begins to happen the moment they step out of their schools and into realIndia, which sadly depicts a very complexed and alarmingly unsafe picture.Pranab Kumar Bhoi, Lutheran World Service India Trust, BhubaneswarI do agree with other people’s suggestions and indicators on gender, physical & structuralaspects of the safer school but I feel to highlight on the psychological aspects of a safer school. • The coordination between the teaching, non - teaching staff and children plays a very important role in the safer school process. • The moral and spirit of the children on school preparedness aspects and facing the emergency situations. • The interest level of the school staff towards a safer school or a disaster prepared school. I myself faced a lot of challenges in Tamilnadu just to motivate the school teacher or just to change the mindset of the school authorities in the district level. Some time the school head masters simply ignore the things by saying that we need the district authority’s permission. So, you can do lot of things when one person will have interest on the particular aspect. • Proper knowledge management and learning from the past on school safety is required. Not only policy level changes but psychological transformation is also required. • I think developing indicators on the particular aspect also need to be addressed.Ranjan Praharaj ,Independent Consutant, BhubaneswarIt’s really a very good discussion. I have thoroughly gone through all the indicators given in theattached file. It is not clear that who, when and for what purpose will use the indicators.Otherwise, I could have given more comprehensive feedbacks. If the objective is just to developa checklist for reference/orientation at some level – I think the way indicators are presented isOK. But, if the objective is to develop quantitative tool then I think most of the indicators needsfurther refinement. Again, who is the user Schools/NGOs/INGOs/Education department/State-DMA?. This also matters a lot.
  • 17. Please refer to my feedback in the original fileftp://ftp.solutionexchange.net.in/public/edu/resource/res080 71005.doc . The highlighted part(yellow colored) needs more refinement to present it as indicators. I think based on the objectiveof developing such indicators, it will be better to pre-define the characteristics of indicators (maybe - simple, verifiable, objectivity, quantifiable) so that it will be easy for members to suggestmore and more indicators in line with the objective.I appreciate the idea of Chaman Pincha regarding integration of gender. Some of theindicators/sub-indicators of a primary indicator may be • Gender representation in school DRR committees and task forces and preparation of School DM Plan • Proportion of trained Male and Female teachers on DRR • Gender representation of names and graphics presented in the curriculum books/training manuals • Provision gender sensitive stockpile items • Gender sensitive sanitation and hygiene provisions etcI hope Chaman can suggest more such indicators.Focus Humanitarian Assistance India (an affiliate of the Aga Khan Foundation) has alreadydeveloped an algorithmic model to measure the level of threat to school at a point of time. Themodel has been developed taking hazard specific indicators for (i) Hazards (source of risk/threat), (ii) Vulnerabilities (elements exposed to risk/threat) and the (iii) Capacities (knowledge, skills, practices, availability of safe shelter/place, emergency stock piling, support service accessibility and structural strength etc.Sub-indicators (measurable) are developed and assigned with ranks and weights to represent thelevel of risk/threat in numerical value.The same model (school DRR toolkit) can be used for initial assessment, activity planning,monitoring and evaluation/interim assessment both by an individual school and the disastermanagers/project implementing agencies. The same model may be referred.Laxminarayan Nanda, Room to Read India Trust, HyderabadI have been constantly following the discussions on Deepeshs query on "Indicators for SafeSchool" in last couple of days. I found the discussions quite enriching and informative, as we aregetting different viewpoints.I would like add a different a perspective here. Indicators for safe school does not mean that wehave to restrict our discussion only in natural disaster context. To me, we need to move beyonddisaster and relate it to the subject "child protection and children rights to protection". School isconsidered as second best place where a child spend maximum of her time besides home in aday.This means there is a need to look at critical elements like the background of people attached toschools, the environment where the school is located and the transaction that happen duringschool hour, behavior pattern of every individual attached to school and approach to reach everysingle child and overall perception of a child towards school is matter when we talkabout indicators of safe schools in the line with every child has right to protection.
  • 18. If one looks at The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and some ofthe children related Indian acts like Juvenile Justice Act, Child Labour Prevention andRehabilitation Act, Right to Education Act and Offence Against Child bill, HIV-AIDS bill[inpipeline], the indicators for safe school means lot more, not just confined to children inemergencies.Hence, the larger definition of safe schools comprises a school that is free form all formsof violence, discrimination, abuses and establish protective environment [physical andlearning] that are basically inclusive and responsive in nature. Therefore, the indicators for safeschools will now have a different set of characteristics other than disaster focus/physicalenvironment. You may consider following questions that can be used as reference points whiledeveloping indicators for safe schools. These questionnaires were developed in consultation withchildren for a study conducted by Save the Children, UK in Andhra Pradesh in 2006 on minimumstandards for quality education in schools of Andhra Pradesh.1. Toilets (investigator has to visit it)a) Is there any toilet facility in your school: Yes or No If ‘No’, then what is the existing practice? Where do children go for toilet? If ‘Yes,’ then please answer the following:b) How many toilets do you have in the campus?c) Is there facility for running water? Does the school have a hand bore or overhead tank?d) Who supervises the water management?e) Is a clean bucket and mug available?f) Does the toilet have a door that shuts?g) Are there separate toilets for boys and girls?h) What is the user ratio among both boys and girls?i) How often is the toilet cleaned? Who cleans it?j) Is there any special provision for children with disability? Is it barrier-free?k) Is there any special class/session/instruction on hygiene practices?2. Compound Walla) Is the wall complete or broken in places? (investigator will have to go around its fullcircumference)b) Type of compound wall: cement/ bamboo fencing/ iron wirec) What is the state of the wall – good/okay/crumblingd) Is there a gate? If there is one, is it locked/unlocked when the school closes?e) Is there a watchman in the school? If it is a girls’ school, what is his attitude to the girls? (It isreally difficult to gauge the attitude of the watchman during a one day visit but investigators cannote their feelings or physical observations)f) Who uses the school in the evening?g) Do cows/dogs/pigs/other animals wander in the school campus?h) If there is a cement wall in good condition, are there any messages written on it?3. Condition of School Buildinga) Types of building in school: Kachha /Pucca (indicate the numbers)b) How many useable rooms does the school have ?(indicate user ratio)c) State of the roofd) State of the wallse) State of windows and doorsf) Leakage during monsoong) Last known collapse of any roomh) Has the school taken adequate measures for making the building/class room disable
  • 19. friendly?i) School repair and maintenance (Who does it? Who pays for this? How is the provisionunderSSA being used?)4.Classroomsa) What is the basic furniture – tables, chairs, etc – give user ration?b) Are the rooms airy/dark?c) How are the verandahs – airy/dark/clean?d) Are there staircases? Are these easy and safe for a lot of children climbing in a hurry?e) Is there provision for multiple entry and exit (classroom/ school as whole)?f) Does the school have any fire escape measures?5. Immediate Surroundingsa) We need to ask the Investigators to check whether these establishments are present ornot, if they do exist then how far are they located from the school? Where are the nearest– theatre/wine shop/toddy outlet/gas company/factory?b) What kind of people move around during the day in the vicinity of the school?c) How far is the kitchen and how safe is it for the children ?d) Does grass grow wild in the compound? Are snakes and other animals reported?6. Playgrounda) How big is the playground? What is the actual size? Give user ratio.b) Is there running water for washing hands/ for drinking?c) How often is the water tank cleaned? When it was last cleaned? Who cleaned it? Is regular/special staff appointed for the task?6. Mid-day mealsa) How many children actually eat at the school?b) For how many children is the expenditure claim for meals given?c) What is the quality of food – good/okay/bad?d) How much protein content would it have? Is dal served?e) When does the food come to the school if it is not cooked there? When is it distributed?f) How far is the kitchen from the classrooms? Measure the distance.g) What kind of roof does the kitchen have? Thatched/asbestos/concrete/none?h) What kind of walls does the kitchen have?i) Do dogs/cows/pigs stray in the school grounds?j) How many Dalit cooks are there? If there are Dalit cooks, do all the children eatk) How many women cooks are there?l) Do children engage in cooking / firewood collection/distribution/cleaning activity?(information to be obtained through physical observation or interaction with children)7. Classrooma) What is the availability of blackboard, duster, chalk etc in the school?b) Check the teacher-student ratio by examining the attendance in the Head Master’s book,and cross check with children, or visit thrice over two monthsc) Is it barrier-free?8. Medium of Teachinga) What is the majority of student population – Dalit/Tribals/Lambada/Muslim?Where are schools going? 78b) What is the medium of instruction?c) Which language used in the classroom during question and answer sessions and explanations?d) Barrier free
  • 20. 9. Accessibilitya) How do most students reach school?b) What is the average distance between home and school?c) Barrier freed) Are there any visible gangers outside the school – forest/highway/canal/river?We didn’t discuss this, but this seems important too:10. Are there any forms of violence inside the classroom, such as:a) Verbalb) Physicalc) Abuse by peers and older childrend) Sexuale) Can little children relax their limbs and move around without being scolded?f) Can little children look outside the window or door without being scolded?Kedareswar Choudhury, Darabar Sahitya Sansad, OrissaInteresting discussion is going on Safer schools-Indicators. The indicators may be categorized into 3 segments viz the structure, the practice and preparedness. It is good that we can havesome standards. But we need to be practical in designing the standards. While designing, wemust keep in mind, the education policy environment, resource allocation to schools, status oflocal management and most importantly the status and quality of teachers in schools.Mike Feerick, ALISON, IrelandI have followed many of your valuable contributions over the past few weeks. Clearly this subjecthas a lot of interest and there is significant commitment to raise awareness of the issues ofsafety in the school environment.Our experience at ALISON - which is a free online learning website for basic and essentialworkplace skills and education with about 500,000 registered learners worldwide, is that most ofthe issues of safety are international in nature. Certainly, India has its local issues - such asprecautions with respect to the monsoon season, which we of course appreciate far from India,however with growth in India, our classroom environments are becoming very similar indeed.Through 2009, with the co-operation of the Health & Safety Authority of Ireland, we created fourhighly relevant courses which are available for free public access. An important part of ALISONsparticipation in the development of this free school safety content is that it was developed withthe international school community in mind also.Our course content is addressed to both principals and School Board Members and Managementas well as Studnets. For the part which is for management functionaries of teh schools we coverissues such as what are the overall risks and hazards and how can these be managed. The partaddressed to Students describes what do they need to know as they face the world outside -focused on the older /near graduation students. Third part is related to technology and the fourthone is for Science Teachers. What goes on in IT Labs and Science labs is the same worldwide. Iappreciate the poorest parts of India may not yet have the facilities, but it is likely that thereare as many science and information technology labs in India as in the biggest European Unioncountries.Should anyone wish to view the free the interactive content, please refer to the following
  • 21. resources.http://alison.com/course/category.php?id=3 and/or http://alison.com/course/category.php?id=20We would also like our school safety content be made better known and used freely inIndia. We are appreciative of the fact that India has cultural and social aspects that need to beintegrated into our courseware and would be willing to work with organisation who are interestedin working with us to customise our courses in such a manner that it caters to Indianaudience and really become a useful learning tool for safety in schools.Naveen Gupta, DHV India Pvt. Ltd., New DelhiEverything starts from Individuals, if you have proper plan , proper execution , monitoring ,feedback methods eg. strict control, right measurement , study & re-implementation tools thaneverything is possible.India is always safe but yes there are many limitations to various implementation tools and tothat we people have to find ways & meansAnthony Chettri, Caritas India, Jalpaiguri, West BengalThe discussion on Disaster Management and Education community is really important. Accordingto me it has two aspects, firstly the preparedness, mitigation and other DRR components andsecondly and the most important is the process of socialisation of the students in DisasterManagement. I would like to highlight my thoughts with regard to the second aspect.The education system, basically the school needs to play a great role in making the childrensocialised in the process of disaster risk reduction mechanism from their primary level. We needto have participatory approach in eliciting new ideas from the students to make the school safefrom any kind of disaster. As a development agents we need to focus on the pedagogy ofreduction during disaster. As the way we took initiative for "Life Skill Education" we need tointensively focus on the pedagogy of risk reduction during and after disaster.We need to give importance to the sustainability of the initiative taken now regarding the disastermanagement and update it with new ideas from the students. The type of disaster and itsmomentum is changing fast due to the fast impact of global warming. Hence we need to startteaching our future generation the ways to save them and their assets (both social as well asfinancial) from the effect of disaster.All our initiative will only survive during the project period and will fade as the NGO or GO exit.Hence for a safer school we need to work on the pedagogy of the DRR for the children fromprimary to higher secondary level. The process of evolving the pedagogy should be totallyparticipatory, and not be imposed by us. I feel that we need to think about it.Abha Mishra, United Nations Development Programme, New Delhi (Response 2)The discussions have been very enriching and educative.Both the Disaster Management as well as the Education Community have contributed todeveloping a huge data base of indicators for a safe school which not only provides an enablingenvironment for learning but is also a safe place for the students but it is important not to mixthe two objectives of safe environment in a school with enabling environment for education andchild rights.
  • 22. What I propose is that organization of consultation meeting to further formalize this discussionthrough face to face interaction and coming out with doable indicators as part of achieving goalsset under the Hyogo framework.B.L. Kaul, Progressive Educational Society and Society for Popularization of Science,JammuThe present discussion on Disaster Management in the educational institutions is quite timely andinteresting. Disasters, as all of us know, come suddenly and cause devastation. So everycommunity must be prepared to face disasters. This needs advance preparation.Anybody visiting the western countries cannot escape noticing sign boards everywhereprominently showing escape routes in case of fire etc. These are called FIRE EXITS and aremeant for use for any emergency situation such as fire, earthquake etc. Outside all lifts there is aclear message written-NOT TO USED IN CASE OF FIRE. We must have such signs written orindicated in hospitals, schools, hotels etc. in our country.In fact our school buildings hardly have fire exits. If there be any these are not prominentlyshown and children and staff do not know about them. So what is their use?School buildings including other public buildings should compulsorily have fire exits and theseshould be prominently indicated. This is very important.I personally feel we need to follow these rules: • Whenever school and other public buildings are built these must provide fire exits. • Fire exits must be prominently indicate with arrows and signs. • School authorities in cooperation with fire fighters must make mock drills at least twice a year for the benefit of students, teachers and other staff. Such drills will prepare our children and staff to meet any eventuality in case of an unfortunate event like fire, earthquake or floods. Providing Firemans poles would be an added benefit and children should be taught to use them in emergencies. • Staff of hospitals, hotels, municipalities must be given training to meet any emergency situation and cope with emergencies. • To take care of health of the children no hawkers should be allowed near the schools. The unhygienic food served by hawkers results in infection of the children. • There should be strict adherence to cleanliness of W.Cs in the school and hospital premises. • Garbage and dirt serves as breeding ground for flies and other insects. Garbage bins with lids should be provided in school and hospital premises and also at all public places. • School authorities must regularly invite medical professionals to speak to the children on the benefits of personal hygiene and health care. • Above all we need to teach our people and children in particular how to remain cool in a disaster and face it coolly.I am sure if we follow these simple rules and procedures we can meet any eventuality arising outof disasters.Harichandan Mishra, Project Concern International, New Delhi
  • 23. This discussion on school safety and indicators for practice under the themes Policy, Curriculum,Structural Mitigation, Preparedness, Sustainable Practices and Health and Environment ispertinent. Members have also helped enrich the document (a guide to practice) through theirvaluable and well focused persepctive.I would like to share some of my opinion with the members.• Sector specific disaster preparedness plans are most required. Developing indicators for school safety will ensure continuity of education, safety of children (identified as most vulnerable during any disaster) and foster a culture of disaster preparedness among children. However, synchronizing a number of sector specific DRR plans is needed to feed on each others capacity to prepare against disasters, and this synchronization is often a challenge met with limited dexterity. Looking at school preparedness as a component of Community Based DRR would offer us a perspective where school preparedness is an integral part of a community preparedness plan and action. The school management committees and teachers should be active participants in any village level planning on preparedness, and thus their role must be devised and monitored by the village level disaster management committees. This also facilitates the process of integrating school with government, higher educational institutions, local government and corporate on DRR; the village level action forums (such as Disaster management committees) on DRR often trying to achieve this convergence during preparedness, response and recovery. Project Concern International (PCI)s experience in Bihar has demonstrated that the schools linked to district and state level disaster management cells through Village Disaster Management Committees(VDMC) have the advantage of planning locally, leveraging resources for response in short time and channelizing response through VDMC, besides realizing structural mitigation plan in some cases.• The risks perceived in rural communities should be understood in a broader perspective. Apart from recurrent and major natural disasters, there exist a set of resultant risks such as snakebite, safety of women during disasters and in absence of electricity, village ponds, dilapidated electric infrastructure, unsafe roads and bridges, seasonal but fatal diseases among children etc that make the children more vulnerable to any approaching disaster and has a direct impact on continuity of education. The draft document should also address the means through which school action on DRR can reduce overall back-school vulnerability of children.• I agree to many members suggestion that the gender component is to be strongly incorporated. Discriminatory plan for physically challenged, children belonging to marginalized families etc is also called for.• The culture for disaster preparedness and a clear action plan at district education departments, along with offering curriculum on disaster management during B.Ed/M.Ed would also help in not only preparing a cadre of teachers prepared against disaster but also re-infuse their knowledge among the communities they are employed with.MP Sajnani, Independent Consultant, New DelhiFrom the manner in which the proposed Indicators have been drafted, it gives an impression thatrelevant information based on these indicators has to be maintained by each school. In that case,it may be a tall task. The functions to be entrusted to schools should be restricted to structuraland non structural measures, directly relevant to schools. In other words, schools should be ableto take the specific recommended actions at their level.Policy
  • 24. It may be too much to expect each school to have a DRR Policy and ensure inclusive approach.School safety parameters should normally be covered in State Disaster Management Policy andthe District Education Department of each district may include specific measures to be taken intheir respective District Disaster Management Plan. This can be included briefly in Teacherstraining Programmes to familiarise them with the overall framework determined under the policyfor school safety.Therefore relevant questions at school level, in my view, may be restricted to following from thelot: 5. Does school have written guidelines on structural mitigation? 6. Does school have written guidelines on non structural mitigation? 7. Does school have written manuals for training and capacity building for school teachers, non teaching staff, and children? 9. Does school have contingency plan for different emergencies? 16. Does school have mandatory safety compliance certificates and licenses for different utilities? 18. Does school have Standard Operating Procedures (SOP’s) as clear line of communications with multi level authorities?In addition, add a question "is there a school disaster management plan in place?"These guidelines/manuals are NOT TO BE PREPARED by schools; it should be done at districtlevel by DDMA and schools given a copy each and SENSITIZED about these guidelines/ manuals.The District Education Officer or Inspector of Schools should undertake the assignment ofsensitizing school teachers about school safety measures including the relevant guidelines/manuals.Structural MitigationThe relevant questions for school authorities may be: 1) Has the school been certified for structural safety? 2) If so, when? If no, has the matter been taken up with District level education authorities? 3) Is a copy of approved structural designs of school available with school authorities? 4) Which agency is responsible for ensuring structural safety of school and its maintenance?The questions related to retrofitting, detailed evaluation, institutional mechanism for ensuringstructural safety, compliance with building regulations etc should be addressed to district leveleducation department/ engineering department.Non structural measuresAll other issues, other than structural mitigation may be covered under non structural measures,which may also include heavy moving objects which need to be fixed, fittings and appliances etc.In case of schools having physics/ chemistry/ biology labs, additional measures are required tobe taken depending on type of chemicals/ materials being used and ensuring lab equipments arefixed to the tables.Preparedness (Part of non structural measures)Only following questions/ points may be included 3. School is prepared to handle any disaster in close partnership with community and other stakeholders( Specify other stakeholders) 4.School Disaster Management Plan (SDMP)
  • 25. has been prepared and is available with clear objectives, activities, roles & responsibilities, and timeline. 5. The staff members and students above class III have been familiarised with the SDMP. Students upto class III have been trained in basic dos and donts, commensurate with their age. 6. Children, teaching and non-teaching staff are capacitated through trainings, mock drills, essay/painting competitions etc 11.School has directory of emergency contacts with emergency services, government departments, and locally working NGOs. 8 School has an active SDMP committee comprising PTA/MTA/VEC/PRI, honorary technical experts and other stakeholders.In brief, we should not lose sight of the fact that while schools are required to take necessarysafety measures, their main focus is on teaching. Why not integrate DM with the teachingprocess? It can be done by adding simple stories containing simple messages as lessons inlanguages; few components in social/ environmental studies etc. The indicators need to bedivided in three groups A. Indicators to be included at district level (Distt Education Officers/Engineers/ concerned Departments/ DDMA B. Indicators to be included in B. Ed./ M. Ed./ Teachers Induction and In-service training programmes C. Indicators to be included and monitored at each school level.Aditi Umrao, United Nations Development Programme, LucknowHere are some of my observation about the indicators for school safety:-Under the policy category, It seems that the policies are designed for schools and by schools. Ithink it would be more appropriate to develop a state wide policy by education department for allthe schools of the state. And there shall be compliance mechanism which ensures theimplementation of the policy at the local level. Similarly for structural mitigation, It is importantthat state should formulate guidelines and draw a financial mechanism for this. There are fewquestions which can be put like “Does education department have……?” The policies should bedecided at higher level but the implementation should be done locally.There should be a question which talks about compliance mechanism because most of the timepolicies become ineffective due to poor compliance mechanism.Under curriculum category it is mentioned “School has benchmarks to evaluate through testsand assignments of understanding of DRR knowledge.” Here I think it should also be evaluatedwhether School authorities and children have knowledge of Do’s & Dont’s or not and to evaluatethis there should be a practical test.Under structural mitigation category, there are a few responsibilities like “Schools are allocatingeconomical resources for ensuring structural safety of building to provide safety of staff andchildren.” which I think should be the responsibility of the state education department but theircompliance shall be done at school level. In this category, questions regarding capacitydevelopment of engineers and masons regarding structural safety, also should be asked toevaluate.In preparedness it is mentioned “School has done their hazard, vulnerability, capacity, andneed assessment.” Here I think this also is very important to know whether all the stakeholders
  • 26. are aware about these or not. For preparedness this also is very important to know that howmany times they have conducted the mock drills.Under the Sustainable Practices category, It is important to know whether DIET has includedDRR into its core training curriculum or not.Himadri Maitra, Department Of Disaster Management West Bengal, KolkataRecently I have got one document, which I think is useful for this purpose. I attach it.ftp://ftp.solutionexchange.net.in/public/drm/cr/res08071006. pdfPoothullil John Mathew Martin, Department of Outreach & Extension Services, AliYavar Jung National Institute for the Hearing Handicapped, MumbaiI understand lot many things are done for persons without disability in times of disasters andcrisis. I feel there is much need this direction for persons with disabilities, with reference toinformation, communication and accessibility. I suggest you include indicators for disables alsoRatnakar Gedam, Retd Adviser, Planning Commission, New DelhiSafe school needs to be reckoned not only from natural disasters like earthquake, suddenchanges in climate (heavy rain, floods, snow storm etc.), but also how safe are children fromphysical and mental attack as well as sexual exploitation of children. Corporal punishment createsfear and scare in the mind and makes student evade school and studies. Thus harsh acts onchildren will result in drop out and future citizen which is not a law abiding. Records shows thatteachers often resort to corporal punishment. Therefore indicators should also include suchrecord of each of teaching and non-teaching staff as well as past record of teachers andprincipal. Schools are institution for shaping futures of kids during their formative years thereforededication and affection the teachers have for students’ care, imparting knowledge, buildingcharacter and inculcating good habits, welfare should also be indicators Many thanks to all who contributed to this query!If you have further information to share on this topic, please send it to Solution Exchange for theDisaster Management Community in India at se-drm@solutionexchange-un.net.in or SolutionExchange for the Education Community in India at se-ed@solutionexchange-un.net.in with thesubject heading “Re: [se-drm][se-ed] Query: Indicators for Safe Schools - For Comments.Additional Reply.”Disclaimer: In posting messages or incorporating these messages into synthesized responses,the UN accepts no responsibility for their veracity or authenticity. Members intending to use ortransmit the information contained in these messages should be aware that they are relying ontheir own judgment. Copyrighted under Creative Commons License “Attribution-NonCommercial- ShareAlike 2.5”. Re-users of this material must cite as their source Solution Exchange as well as the item’s recommender, if relevant, and must share any derivative work with the Solution Exchange Community.
  • 27. Solution Exchange is a UN initiative for development practitioners in India. Formore information please visit www.solutionexchange-un.net.in

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