Elements of disaster risk reduction should to be incorporated into school curricula.
Project Coordinator for: Strengthening the Regional Tsunami Early Warning System, Preparations in Colombia, Chile, Ecuador and Peru project, Giovana Santillan, has stressed that various Ministries of Education have to become involved with the dissemination of educational material to students.
She made these points during her presentation at the Tsunami Public Awareness and Educational Stakeholders Consultation meeting in the Dominican Republic earlier this week.
Ms. Santillan suggested that instead of introducing disaster risk reduction as a separate subject on the curriculum for schools, it could be incorporated into existing subjects. "[For instance], tsunami risk reduction was included in all subjects across schools in Chile including Maths," she explained.
The Project Coordinator explained that during the case study in Chile, phase one dealt with enhancing learning and community participation, while phase two dealt with the strengthening of phase one and regional coordination.
Meanwhile, Director of the International Tsunami Information Centre, Laura Kong, pointed out that it was a challenge to get teachers to incorporate such teaching into an already packed curriculum.
However, she noted that officials in some countries have developed materials which contained classroom activities for teachers to use. "New Zealand has ???What’s The Plan Stan‘, an activity book which contains activities for teachers that will not take up additional time," she said.
Ms. Kong pointed out that such materials would allow teachers to open the various tool kits and teach from them. However, she also told participants that informal teaching materials such as comics, toys and games could also be developed to assist with the process.
At the same time, she stressed that it was important not to reinvent the wheel, but rather to look at what currently exists and seek to fill in the gaps.