New schooling year will see disaster risk reduction incorporated in all Georgian schools
Conference reviews and summarizes achievements for improving disaster preparedness in education systemTBILISI, Georgia, 1 July 2010 – Children in Georgia will be better informed about how to respond to disasters thanks to the special curriculum produced by the National Curriculum and Assessment Centre of the Ministry of Education and Science with the support of UNICEF. This initiative is a part of the year long project “Supporting Disaster Risk Reduction amongst Vulnerable Communities and Institutions in South Caucasus” funded by the European Commission Humanitarian Aid department (ECHO).
The achievements of the above project were reviewed at a special conference that was held in Tbilisi Marriot Courtyard Hotel today. The participants from the Ministry of Education and Science, National Curriculum and Assessment Centre, Emergency Management Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Ministry of Environment Protection, UNICEF and the European Commission analyzed the progress achieved so far and outlined the future directions regarding mainstreaming disaster risk reduction in Georgian education system.
“This is the first time in Georgian schools the Ministry has introduced disaster risk reduction”, said Benjamin Perks, UNICEF Deputy Representative in Georgia. “I think it’s an important step in doing everything we can do as a society to protect our most precious and vulnerable citizens – namely, children from any natural disaster. The importance of this was demonstrated by the recent flooding. I hope we can build on this momentum by expanding disaster risk reduction to all schools in Georgia”.
The main achievements of the project include the following: review of the Georgian education policy vis-à-vis disaster risk reduction, development of the school curriculum, teacher training, development of teacher manuals and interactive education kits for children, piloting of the curriculum in 25 schools throughout Georgia, incorporation of the disaster risk reduction curriculum into the Head of Class Hour Programme for grades V-IX countrywide starting from the new school year of 2011-2012, community awareness about disaster risk reduction and mine risk education in Samegrelo region of Georgia.
The conference participants also outlined the way ahead to ensure the safety and resilience of vulnerable communities during disasters. The future agenda should reinforce further mainstreaming disaster risk reduction in educational activities, both at the policy and operational levels including outreach to even greater number of communities and schools throughout Georgia.
Georgia is part of a highly disaster-prone region and natural hazards such as earthquakes, floods, landslides and droughts pose a threat to thousands of people in the country. Particularly vulnerable are children and their caregivers, who often lack the knowledge and life-skills that would enable them to better prepare for disasters.
For further information, please contact: