Philippines: Japan offers lessons on value of integrating disaster management in school curriculum

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MANILA, Philippines — Philippine education officials visiting Japan were given a lesson on the value of integrating disaster management in the school curriculum.

The two countries lie on the Pacific Ring of Fire, which makes them prone to natural disasters.

“Japan takes seriously the lessons learned from disasters that hit their country,” said Ronilda Co, Department of Education director for Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Service, one of the officials who visited Kobe and Sendai recently.

Kobe was the site of the earthquake in 1995 and its Board of Education (BOE) has published a manual and held a teachers’ training program on disaster management. Sendai, on the other hand, was severely affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami in 2011 and has successfully conducted DRR education in its schools.

“The study visit to Japan’s disaster-stricken areas allowed us to observe and learn from various disaster risk reduction measures of Japan and how we can apply them in our schools,” Co was quoted in a statement from the Japan International Cooperation Agency, which organized the study tour with the non-profit group SEEDS Asia and Hyogo Prefectural Board of Education.

The trip was part of JICA’s capacity building project on DRR education, which it piloted in Cebu province.

“We saw how infrastructure building is important in disaster recovery in Japan such as the massive engineering used in Tamba City, but we also saw their commitment to DRR by remembering and passing on memories and lessons on disasters to reduce loss of lives and property,” Co said.

Aside from the study tour, JICA has also supported disaster awareness activities in Philippine schools through the publication of a handbook featuring survival stories of Filipino children in disaster-stricken areas.

Data from DepEd Basic Education Information System showed that from 2009 to 2014, showed that 39,662 of 46,739 public schools experienced natural and human disasters.

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