By Roy Mabasa
Several select pilot schools in Cebu province are making its way to become models for disaster management in the country by mainstreaming disaster risk reduction (DRR) education through their respective curriculums.
The pilot schools in Cebu are part of the “Promotion of School Disaster Risk Reduction and Management in Cebu Province” project being supported by Japanese non-profit group SEEDS Asia, the Department of Education (DepEd) Office for Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Service (DRRMS), DepEd Region 7, Japan’s Hyogo Prefectural Board of Education, and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
JICA identified the pilot schools involved in the project as the City of Bogo Science and Art Academy, Carcar City Central Elementary School, Cebu City Central Elementary School, Daanbantayan Central Elementary School, Beatriz D. Durano Memorial National High School in Danao City, Marigondon National High School in Lapu-Lapu City, Pakanaan National High School in Mandaue City, Uling Elementary School in City of Naga, Tabonuc Central Elementary School in Talisay City and Talevera Elementary School in Toledo City.
To date, JICA said at least six of the 10 pilot schools have already mainstreamed the DRR education in their curriculum.
By 2019, participating schools are expected to establish a disaster response system in coordination with local government units and community members. Started in 2017, the project will end on 2020.
“The experiences of the Cebu schools are worth emulating as they’ve involved multi-stakeholders in their disaster management and integrated DRR in the curriculum,” said JICA Senior Representative Ayumu Ohshima.
Ohshima expressed hope that other schools will learn from the best practices emanating from the project, adding that in Japan, “schools play a significant role in disaster management as seen during the torrential rains that affected western Japan.”
Japan is known for its advanced systems in DRR, as exemplified during the 1995 Kobe earthquake where schools became evacuation areas. It was during that incident when the Hyogo Prefecture Board of Education was encouraged to create the DRR system in schools.
As part of the project, a group of educators from Cebu Province have undergone training in Kobe, Japan on the set-up of DRR in schools.
“DRR education in Region 7 created an effective link between and among education stakeholders to ensure that new set of schools and barangays can avail of focus group discussions, assemblies, fora and orientations annually,” said DepEd Region 7 Director Juliet Jeruta.
DepEd data for school years 2009 to 2014 showed that out of 46, 739 public schools, 39,662 had experienced natural and human-induced hazards such as tropical cyclones, floods, and earthquakes.