A two-day Second Consultative Dialogue on National Policy Guidelines for School Safety against Disasters concluded on Friday. The event was aimed at building the capacity of schools across the country to prepare against and respond to disasters in an effective and efficient manner with minimal damage and loss of life.
National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) in collaboration with United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and Asian Disaster Preparedness Centre (ADPC) organised the second Consultative Dialogue to develop comprehensive school safety guidelines at the national level.
The Gender and Child Cell (GCC) of the NDMA, with the support of the UNICEF and ADPC is in the process of developing a set of national school safety policy guidelines to be used by public and private schools across the country in the event of natural and man-made disasters.
On the occasion, NDMA Chairman Major General Asghar Nawaz recalled how helpful the input from the first dialogue had been, stating that he had great faith in his team who was working day and night to develop the guidelines and gave his own input regarding the implementation of the guidelines.
The chairman also said that NDMA aims at launching the finalised document by January 2017.
The School Safety Guidelines will cover establishment and training of a school disaster safety team and development of a school safety and security plan.
Additionally, it will help create awareness regarding possible disasters, analysis of the specific vulnerability and hazards of the school environment, evacuation routes and identified safe places, developing cooperation with the community; and practical exercises and evacuation mock drills to enable the school community to be prepared and to act adequately to save lives in case of an emergency.
The purpose of the guidelines is to build the capacity of schools across the country to prepare against and respond to disasters in an effective and efficient manner with minimal damage and loss of life.
The sustained implementation of the guidelines would involve structural and non-structural interventions, establishment of a coordination mechanism amongst stakeholders and capacity building.
Participants of the two-day activity comprised a select group of people who provided their valuable input for the development of the document. The participants were from ADPC, UNICEF, UNESCO and Hope ’87.