Resilient communities through safer schools

Dina D'Ayala, Carmine Galasso, Arash Nassirpour, Rohit Kumar Adhikari, Luis Yamin, Rafael Fernandez, Dexter Lo, Lessandro Garciano, Andres Oreta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Access to education is a basic human right. It is the 4th of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and education is strongly associated with poverty reduction. Providing facilities to educate children requires construction of school buildings and rapid expansion of curricula. However, in the rush to fulfil the right to education, are children being put at risk? What attention is being given to structural safety during the construction of new school facilities? The growing consensus among stakeholders is that public school infrastructure in developing countries worldwide is particularly susceptible to natural hazards. This highlights a compelling need for developing and implementing effective, integrated, and ‘ground-real’ strategies for assessing and radically improving the safety and resilience of schools across those countries. To this aim, the paper explores two main issues: effectiveness at scale and the relevance of multiple hazard effects on the resilience of school infrastructure. Specifically, the paper first discusses the challenges associated with the World Bank Global Program for Safer School (GPSS) and the development of its Global Library of School Infrastructure (GLOSI), highlighting the issues associated with producing a tool which can be effective at scale and support nationwide risk models for school infrastructure across the world, so that fairness and relevance of investment can be achieved. This is followed by the illustration of a number of specific tools developed by the authors to expand the risk prioritization procedures used for seismic hazard, to other hazards such as flood and windstorm and to quantify the reduction in seismic fragility obtained by implementing specific strengthening strategies. Rapid visual survey forms, a mobile app, a multi-hazard risk prioritization ranking, and numerical fragility relationships are presented and their application discussed in relation to a case study in the Philippines. The proposed tools represent a first step toward a detailed multi-hazard risk and resilience assessment framework of school infrastructure. The aim is to allow stakeholders and decision-makers to quickly identify the most vulnerable structures among the surveyed stock, to guide more detailed data collection campaigns and structural assessment procedures, such as analytical vulnerability approaches, and ultimately to plan further retrofitting/strengthening measures or, if necessary, school replacement/relocation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101446
JournalInternational Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction
Publication statusPublished - May 2020


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