ASEAN Safe Schools Initiative

Support the implementation, facilitate the scaling up and ensure sustainability of ASEAN Safe Schools Initiative across the region to have a safe and secure learning environment for children in ASEAN.

Why Safe Schools in the ASEAN region?

The ASEAN Region is highly exposed to a wide range of adverse natural hazards such as cyclones, monsoons, volcanic eruption, earthquake and drought. In the last decade alone, more than 100 million people in the region has been affected by different catastrophic events brought about by these natural hazards.

These disasters have a devastating effect not only to communities but to schools and the education sector, in general. Disasters can damage school infrastructure, disrupt education cycles, and thereby affect the most vulnerable, particularly the children, who spends half of their waking hours in school (Sorensen, 2013).

While education is one of the most adversely affected sectors during disasters, it can also be a powerful tool for reducing risks and losses (Sorensen,, 2013). Teaching children in schools on risks in their local areas helps build awareness and capacities not only for the child but also for the whole community.

ASEAN Safe Schools Initiative: its contribution to the ASEAN Agreement on Disaster Management and Emergency Response (AADMER)

The ASEAN Agreement on Disaster Management and Emergency Response (AADMER), a disaster risk reduction legally binding instrument, was put into force in 2009 by ASEAN Member States (AMSs) identifying school safety as a strategic component. In order to achieve the objectives of AADMER Work Programme 2010-2015 in Education sector, the ASEAN Safe Schools Initiative (ASSI) was established in 2013 under the purview of the ASEAN Committee on Disaster Management Working Group on Prevention and Mitigation (WG on P&M). Under the new AADMER Work Programme 2016-2020, ASSI remains a priority initiative in Priority Programme 2: Build Safely – Building Safe ASEAN Infrastructures and Essential Services. Its output 2 addresses the scaled up ASEAN Safe Schools Initiative.

  • Identified schools using the ASSI common indicators for school safety performance including dialogues with relevant stakeholders including Ministries of Education (MOEs), National Disaster Management Offices (NDMOs), private sector to incentivize the use of common indicators;
  • Retrofitted schools including building partnership with the private sector to support the retrofitting of the schools;
  • Showcase of model ASEAN safe schools that includes public awareness through safe school
    champion in the region;
  • Pool of ASEAN practitioners and professionals for promoting, building, and retrofitting safe schools.

In ASEAN Education sector, Priority 5.2 of the ASEAN Work Plan on Education 2016-2020 promotes the inclusion of disaster risk reduction in national curriculum and supports the development of the ASEAN Safe Schools Initiative (ASSI).


In alignment with the AADMER Work Programme, to scale up the ASEAN Safe Schools Initiative (ASSI), ASSI has identified these following underpinning technical thrusts:

  1. Supporting development of a member state-driven inter-sectoral leadership and coordinating
    structure for ASSI
  2. Strengthening National capacities on school safety
  3. Facilitating and supporting the country and regional monitoring and assessment of CSS progress using identified CSS indicators
  4. Building communities of practice
  5. Information and knowledge management

Who are involved?

ASSI is driven and implemented by the ASEAN governments (Ministry of Education and National Disaster Management Agencies) partnering with:

  • ASSI consortium partners (Plan International, World Vision, Save the Children, Mercy Malaysia) and AADMER Partnership Group (APG), a consortium of non-governmental organisations that agree to cooperate with ASEAN in the implementation of AADMER Work Programme
  • Coalitions and like-minded organisations (the Asia-Pacific Coalition on School Safety (APCSS), International Federation of Red Cross/Red Crescents, GADRRRES (Global Alliance on Disaster Risk Reduction and Resilience in Education Sector).
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