The Asian Development Bank (ADB), the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) and the United Nations (UN) on Tuesday praised the efforts of the Ministry of Education for promoting structurally safer schools and disaster risk education among children, teachers and local communities.
Led by Member Parliament, Australian Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs, the heads of the three organisations, representatives of the government and Lalitpur municipality jointly visited Tripadma Higher Secondary School, which was recently retrofitted against the risk of major earthquake.
They also met students and teachers who have been trained for safe behavior during earthquake.
“Safe schools are critical, not only for children who rely on these structures to learn and develop, but also for society as schools are the doorway to development and social cohesion,” ADB press release quoted its country director Kenichi Yokoyama as saying.
The school is one of 15 that have been retrofitted in the last two years under ADB’s technical support to the Department of Education provided through National Society for Earthquake Technology.
“Nepal is vulnerable to natural disasters, and earthquakes pose a major threat to the large number of children studying at schools, the future generation of Nepal. I am pleased Australia is part of a collective donor effort to reduce the risk to Nepali school children,” Richard Marles, the visiting Australian parliamentary secretary for foreign affairs, said.
In fiscal year 2011 to 2014, the Department of Education is retrofitting 260 school buildings in the Kathmandu Valley and providing training in school safety best practices to around 4,000 teachers and 50,000 students.
The initiative also includes conducting safety assessments; training of masons and engineers in safe school construction; and awareness raising among local communities. Disaster education is also an important element of the programme.
Earlier this year, AusAID provided AU$3.9 million in partnership with ADB who has also committed US$5 million for the School Safety programme in Kathmandu Valley.
AusAID is further providing US$500,000 technical assistance to support the capacity building to institutionalise building safe schools, reads the statement.
The program is implemented as part of the School Sector Reform Programme, a 5-year nationwide programme to enhance access and quality of entire school education, which was initiated in fiscal year 2010 with the financial support of nine donors, including ADB and AusAID. nepalnews.com