Joint Statement on Education in Emergencies after Typhoon Pablo
Davao City, Southern Philippines, January 2013 - The resumption of classes this January will not be the usual return from the holidays for children here, when schools and Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) centers re-open after the Christmas break. Thousands of children will continue to be displaced with up to 95% of school buildings, classrooms and day care centers damaged or destroyed in the 4 most affected provinces following Typhoon Pablo in Mindanao, Philippines. Consequently, these children have no school buildings, interrupting their education.
The Department of Education has declared that classes will resume on 3rd January, for both elementary and secondary schools. Children will be given informal sessions (psychosocial support involving games, drawing, singing, dancing), until formal academic classes begin on the 14th January. This will also give people time to re-locate, for teachers to track children, and for schools and classrooms to be repaired and cleaned up.
Education in Emergencies
• Disasters disrupt the schooling of children and adolescents. Children and adolescents may get involved in hazardous work; become vulnerable to the risks of trafficking and early marriage; and later on be forced to drop out from school. When a child is in a safe learning environment, he or she is less likely to be exposed to these risks. In addition, education can convey life-saving information to strengthen critical survival skills and coping mechanisms such as protection from violence and abuse including trafficking and sexual exploitation and essential health/sanitation/hygiene information.
• Schools should only be used as evacuation centers as a last resort and for the shortest possible time. In situations when schools have been destroyed or damaged, or when schools are used as evacuation centers for longer periods of time, children’s right to education should be promoted by setting-up Temporary Learning Spaces, which includes training teachers on how to run these spaces, providing back-to-school kits and teaching-learning kits.
• Temporary Learning Spaces are also used as a convergence point for other services especially those provided by Education, Child Protection, WASH, Health and Nutrition and Shelter Clusters. Temporary Learning Spaces include psychosocial support and awareness sessions on child and adolescent protection (including gender-based violence) and health (including proper nutrition and adolescent sexual and reproductive health). All Temporary Learning Spaces must have access to water and sanitation services including separate latrines for boys and girls.
• Apart from physical support, the immediate psychosocial support services for all displaced and affected education workers in the worst-hit areas is also critical to help them recover from stress. In turn, this will enable them to restore the learning environment for affected children.
• Setting up of Temporary Learning Spaces, and planning the provision of necessary back-to-school supplies is being undertaken.
• Plan International, Save the Children, World Vision and UNICEF will continue to work closely with the Philippine Government, the Department of Education and other humanitarian partners who, with their commendable efforts, are addressing the urgent and pressing needs of children in emergencies.
Plan International Save the Children UNICEF Philippines World Vision Development Foundation