$3b Needed for Safe School Implementation

$3b Needed for Safe School Implementation$3b Needed for Safe School Implementation

About $3 billion is needed to extend school safety across the country, said Education Minister Ali Asghar Fani at the Second Meeting of Safe School Leaders.

“One-third of all schools are unsafe, and the ministry lacks funds to address the problem,” ILNA quoted him as saying.

Hosted by the Education Ministry in cooperation with the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), and attended by representatives from 23 countries, the international conference took place October 4-5 at Tehran’s Parsian Azadi Hotel.

The meeting aimed to build on the commitments made to the Worldwide Initiative for Safe Schools and school safety implementation at the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction and the outcome of the first meeting of Safe School Leaders that was held in Istanbul, Turkey in October 2014.

First Vice-President Eshaq Jahangiri took stock of Iran’s accomplishments in securing schools and equipping them with digital systems in the past two years. “We plan to equip all schools with standard heating and cooling systems to avert any potential mishaps.”

Fani pointed out that between 2006 and 2014 Iran spent $4 billion on securing schools and promoting school safety.The Global Alliance for Disaster Risk Reduction and Resilience in the Education Sector defines a safe school as combining three components: safe learning facilities (disaster-resilient infrastructure), school disaster management, and disaster risk reduction and resilience education.

 Urban Resilience

Starting with the new academic year (began September 23) Tehran’s Disaster Management and Mitigation Department spearheaded a plan to increase urban resilience in primary and high schools in the capital that will train over 1.1 million students and their families as well as over 60,000 school teachers and staff in relief operations.

Earlier this year, the department improvised safety and crisis management plans for 1,000 schools in Tehran. Schools are planned to be upgraded with “a state of emergency” system by the end of the current year (March 20, 2016).

“Regular earthquake drills are held in schools to prepare students for the sudden onset of disasters and their aftermaths,” Fani noted.

“We are doing our best to provide funding for securing the remaining number of schools, but that will come about with an improvement in the economy.”

The case has been made out with Mohammad Bagher Nobakht, president’s adviser for supervision and strategic affairs and head of the Management and Planning Organization, he said.

UNDP Resident Representative in Iran Gary Lewis noted Iran’s success in reducing unsafe schools by 40% during 2006-2014 by constructing earthquake-resistant structures, and said it was the highest rate globally in school safety promotion.

“The United Nations Development Program intends to assist Iran in completing the tasks in this regard. The program’s 2017-2021 targets include helping reduce school accidents and disasters,” he added.

Representatives of the participating countries and nine international organizations affiliated to the UN also visited two safe schools.