At the 3rd ASEAN Regional Conference on School Safety on 3-4 April 2019 in Bangkok, Thailand, the ASEAN Governments recognised 12 committed individuals, organizations, and schools from Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand, and Viet Nam that had demonstrated their long-standing commitment to promote school safety and generate significant positive impacts on their schools or communities in the past years. Here they are, please meet the 2019 ASEAN School Safety Champions.
I. Individual Category
Meet Mr. Ratana, the school principal of the Boeuvang Trav Primary School in Cambodia. He has introduced and promoted the comprehensive school safety framework and its three pillars to the students and school community. Thanks to him and the active participation of the children, students can now engage in school disaster management committee.
This is Mr. Lorn Rith and the members of the student council at the Boeung Kachhang primary school in Koh Kong, Cambodia. Mr. Lorn Rith, the school principal, was awarded the 2019 ASEAN School Safety Champion for his continuous promotion of school disaster preparedness and saving scheme in the community and school due to the risk of storm. The saving scheme is to ensure continued student learning quality and fund community affairs such as funeral, loan, school safety programme and environmental management. The money saved is used to give loans and 15 percent of the interest will be allocated for the school development programme including emergency response contingency fund.
“After we completed the school safety programme led by Mas Andrianto, we became more aware of disaster preparedness and more motivated to continue the programme by ourselves”, said a student at Muhammadiyah Insan Kreatif Kembangan Primary School.
“Mas Andri”, as he normally is called by his friends, is one of the Indonesia National Disaster Management Office’s national facilitators. He has been an active advocate for school safety since 2011 and has trained 1000 teachers and students on disaster risk reduction. He also took a part in developing guidelines on school safety on the island of Java.
Ms. Cho Cho Win is one of a few female government officials that actively promote school safety in ASEAN. Working for the Department of Basic Education, the Ministry of Education, Myanmar, she engaged with different stakeholders in different platforms to advocate the roll out of school safety plan under the Myanmar Action Plan on Disaster Risk Reduction (MAP DRR).
That’s how Mr. Montri engages with his students, creating a unique method to teach them on the life-saving and physical activities using playground equipment. He mixes enjoyment with exercise for health improvement, making sure students have a physical fitness to be ready for disasters. Such a playground has even transformed into a disaster learning centre for community, other schools, and organisations that are interested in replicating the initiative in their community.
II. School Category
Muhammadiyah Insan Kreatif Kembaran Primary School in Bantul has implemented DRR activities since 2006 in the aftermath of earthquake in Jogjakarta. The school principal acknowledged the contribution of school safety programme that had promoted evacuation drills, disaster risk reduction campaign, and SOP for earthquake.
“It feels great to be able to take part in disaster risk reduction activities at school as I received a lot of knowledge on disasters and how to cope with them. Bells are there to signal us when earthquake happens and now we have evacuation map and routes”, said Hafizh,12 year old student of the school.
The school built the capacity of school community in conducting drills, providing disaster risk reduction equipment, and improving school facilities for students, teachers, parents, promoting climate change adaptation education, and preparing the emergencies response. It also includes gender perspectives in its school disaster management programme.
Students and their teachers were grateful when their school, Chumchon Baan Pa-kor-dam School, received the 2019 ASEAN School Safety Champion Award. Located in Chiang Rai, the school piloted a model school for disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation, technically supported by Plan International Thailand since 2016 until now. Students and the school developed school risk mapping, set up an earthquake resistant bamboo building, and developed disaster lessons plan and DRR/CCA teaching and learning materials.
Phu Mau Primary School in Huei City, in Viet Nam trained students on a life-saving skill to survive floods, a risk that exposes the school. Swimming lesson is part of the training to all students. In this picture, Ms. Nguyen Thi Kim Hue, the school principal received the award on behalf of the whole school.
III. Local organisations or Groups/Consortiums Category
The Provincial Education and Sports Service in Ban Viengmai, Laungphabang district has promoted disaster risk reduction in 52 villages under its authority, including providing school disaster management capacity building, appointing school disaster management focal points, and developing school disaster management handbooks. Ms. Boualoy Ithyphone as the Head of Section at the PEES received the award on 3 April 2019.
This civil society organisation based in East Nusa Tenggara (NTT), the so called “Perkumpulan Masyarakat Penanganan Bencana NTT”, has promoted disaster risk reduction across the province, fostered the establishment of Provincial Secretariat for School Safety in Nagekeo, NTT, and carried out disaster risk mapping in the school environment at Oeletsala Elementary School, a government-owned school in NTT, Indonesia.
“Through school safety interventions, teachers have improved their awareness and skills on disaster prevention and control and built the students’ capacity in school safety. I feel that even the programme only lasted for a short period of time, teachers were able to train their students and integrated DRR theory and practices into the school curricula. Teachers managed to develop teaching tools and designed outdoor games on disaster prevention at school”, expressed the school principal of Tran Thi Kim Dung school, Nguyen Thi Minh Khai.
That is a testimony from the school representative that the Viet Nam Red Cross is actively engaged with to promote disaster risk reduction in school. It started with the introduction on the concept of school safety, then establishment of disaster management board, and implementation of Safe School Action Plan.