23 Oct 2013 12:00pm
WINDHOEK, 23 OCT (NAMPA) - A manual on emergency preparedness and responses for schools was launched here on Wednesday.
The manual is part of government's efforts to prepare the education sector to reduce the impact of natural disasters such as floods, drought and epidemics on teaching and learning.
The target audience is education personnel, primarily teachers.
The 124-page manual promotes the school as a vital tool for reducing disaster risks in Namibian society.
It encourages a culture of safety and resilience through initiatives involving learners in and out of school, and empowers learners to be active agents of change for disaster risk reduction.
Speaking during the official launch of the manual, Deputy Minister of Education Silvia Makgone said Namibia has been experiencing disasters in various forms such as floods, droughts, veld fires and epidemics.
During times of hardships, the education sector is badly affected.
We find our schools flooded, learners and teachers have to cross rivers and floodplains to reach schools and their lives are endangered, and our communities are displaced, either temporarily or permanently.
In instances of droughts and epidemics, learners go hungry or sick, and do not attend school regularly. We need to equip ourselves to be resilient to cope with the potentially dangerous situations, said the deputy minister.
She said education is a right of every Namibian citizen, and should be delivered to all children without fail, in spite of any catastrophe which they find themselves in.
In times of disasters, all hard-to-reach children should be reached, demanded the deputy minister.
We can only be able to deliver on the education promise, and be guided on what to do during emergencies. We can build resilience if we will study the content of this manual to help us to prepare ourselves properly, she noted.
The school manual was piloted and adapted by the Namibian College of Open Learning (Namcol) for eight educational radio programmes on Disaster Risk Reduction from April 2011.
The programmes are available in English, Oshindonga and Silozi, and translations have been broadcast nationwide through the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) and community radio stations.
Speaking at the same occasion, the United Nations Childrens Fund (UNICEF)s Representative to Namibia, Marques de Sousa congratulated the Ministry of Education and other development partners, including the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), in making the manual a living document today.
She said UNICEF recommits itself in supporting and working with the government and the Ministry of Education in particular to ensure that through the implementation of this manual, no child will miss school because of any natural disaster.
The four-chapter publication sponsored by UNICEF deals with disaster management and risk reduction; hazards; risk assessment; early warning; contingency planning; and emergency management.