By Merlina Hernando-Malipot
In an effort to ensure education in times of disasters and emergencies, to Department of Education (DepEd) continues to partner with various agencies.
To devise improved disaster resiliency measures in education, the DepEd and the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization (SEAMEO) recently gathered education leaders and policymakers from Southeast Asian countries for the Regional Workshop on Education in Emergencies (EIE) and Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM): Towards the Development of a Regional Guide.
The workshop was held at the SEAMEO Regional Center for Educational Innovation and Technology (INNOTECH) in Diliman, Quezon City. It was attended by representatives from the Philippines, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR), Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, and Timor Leste.
United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) found that the challenges which hinder countries in Southeast Asia from achieving Sustainable Development Goal 4 (Ensure quality education for all) include not only household economic and cultural factors; in some countries, natural calamities and armed conflicts also cause a significant impact. Thus, this regional workshop aimed to “provide opportunities for the EIE and DRRM experts and policymakers to share their best practices and learn from one another; and contribute to the development of a regional guidebook and framework for EIE and DRRM.”
Undersecretary for Planning and Field Operations Jesus Mateo, in his speech, highlighted the various efforts of the Department in addressing concerns in times of calamities, including the issuance of the DepEd Order No. 37, series of 2015, or the Comprehensive Disaster Risk Reduction and Management in Education Framework.
“This policy aims to protect our learners and personnel, as well as to plan for educational continuity during disasters,” Mateo said.
Mateo also noted that there are three key pillars. “First is the provision of safe learning facilities; second is the establishment of organizational support structure for disaster management; and third, the mainstreaming of the risk reduction and resilience education in the curriculum, as well as its integration in school extracurricular activities,” he added.
Mateo also underscored the importance of community participation in building and sustaining safety and resiliency, and conveyed his hope in further devising strategies “to address disasters and calamities through sharing good and even bad practices among all the participants.”