Technology application is getting more used in the disaster management and resilience building. In Vanuatu, an archipelagic country, logistics for disaster relief, vaccine and health supply are expensive, risky, and unreliable. To solve this challenge, UNICEF started to use drones to bring life-saving vaccines to children living in the most remote rural islands (ESCAP, 2019). Capitalising on these advances in weather and climate science and forecasting, work is underway to improve the capacity of countries in the use of long-range climate information to mitigate the potential impacts of hazards (ESCAP, 2019).
The region of ASEAN is no exception to benefiting technology advance in the context of disaster risk reduction in Education sector or school safety. With 65% internet penetration that has grown over the last years due to increased internet infrastructure, the region has a room to benefit the usage of technology and innovations in risk assessment and need assessment within 72 hours post-disasters. This is one of many topics that ASSI intended to bring about at the Regional Learning Exchange Event, on 29-30 October 2019 in Bangkok, Thailand. The objectives that the 70 participants tried to achieve were:
- provide a platform for AMSs, key partners and stakeholders to share the overall achievement and progress of school safety in ASEAN, especially their innovative approaches to promote school safety;
- take stock of all the innovative approaches, innovations, and technology utilizations in school safety, including online learning modules, online baseline survey, digital database, games, and child-friendly education materials;
- support the strengthening of community of practices, pool of expertise, and strengthen the networking, learning among actors in school safety.
This two day engagement is divided into different sessions: plenary session, learning corners, interactive and experiential learning booths, a school visit, and sharing of preliminary results of the ASSI multi-hazard research in education continuity. Topics discussed are among others, Education Management Information System and Data Integrated into National Risk Maps (Ina Risk), Ecosystem for Comprehensive Safe Schools in the Philippines through DRR Information Management System (DRRMIS) and digital hub (e-learning system), online national baseline survey in Thailand.
Experiential learning was held among others featuring a virtual reality of flood and fire simulations participants could be immersed into, digital group games, mini earthquake-resistant macket, new guideline on education continuity in Philippines, and new child-friendly safe school construction guidelines in Myanmar. Students from Thailand with their teacher guardian, academes, ASSI consortium partners, in addition to the invited the MOE and NDMO representatives, IFRC and ASEAN Secretariat participated in this event. A school visit to gain first-hand observation on how a school is prepared and ensures education continuity was also conducted. Flood water frequently affects the school and the participants learnt in brief the following:
- school has a stand-by boat to transport students and school community to and from school
- procedure is in place to move the learning activity on the second floor and make-up classes take place right after the disaster
- hygiene and water system is in place on the second floor
Wrapping this learning event, researchers commissioned to conduct a multi-hazard research on education continuity in ASEAN presented their preliminary findings to gather inputs from the audience. Participants basically increased their knowledge on different innovations to bring to their home countries all the learnings around DRR games, adaptive raised schools, CSS self-assessment, smoke-free schools, and online survey platform on school safety.