Centre for Effective Learning Environments (CELE)

"Earthquake Safety of School Children"


"Earthquake Safety of School Children", Regional Development Dialogue, Vol. 28, No. 2, UNCRD.


Earthquakes in Pakistan in October 2005 and China in May 2008 caused many schools to collapse, killing thousands of school staff and students who were fulfilling the human right to education. But what of the human right to safe schools? School is not just the product or object of a specific building or place, but is a social process in which education occurs; that process, by definition, should be safe. How can we make it so?

To address this question, the United Nations Centre for Regional Development (www.uncrd.or.jp) recently published a special issue of its journal, Regional Development Dialogue, devoted to "Earthquake Safety of Schoolchildren" (Vol. 28, No. 2). The volume, edited by Dr. Ilan Kelman from Risk Reduction Education for Disasters (www.riskred.org), details examples of school safety successes with the hope of providing inspiration and guidance to ensure a safe education for everyone. The authors come from all six inhabited continents and represent academics, government employees, private consultants, international organisations and non-profit workers. The topics range from evaluating disaster education material to using school safety as a route to a culture of disaster prevention. Case studies include Bogotá, Iran and Japan.

In this issue, PEB's Hannah von Ahlefeld comments on the chapter about seismic risk for Algerian school buildings by Djillali Benouar and Abdelghani Meslem. She notes that the challenges faced in Algeria appear elsewhere around the world and that while the cost of school earthquake safety is frequently assumed to be unaffordable, calculations show it is inexpensiveness.

For more information on Regional Development Dialogue and to download the table of contents of the "Earthquake Safety of Schoolchildren" issue, see www.uncrd.or.jp/pub/rdd.htm.



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