, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 26 – The Ministry of Education has launched the Education Sector Policy on Disaster Management.
Speaking during the launch, Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed stated that its main objective is to establish an inclusive institutional framework for disaster management in educational institutions in Kenya.
She pointed out that the launch comes at a time when the education sector is confronted by the effects of heavy rains as well as the spate of fires that have destroyed school infrastructure in various parts of the country.
“The policy will guide efforts in mitigating these and other risks in future and in promoting the safety of teachers and students in our learning institutions,” she said.
“The development of this policy was the culmination of a consultative process between the Ministry of Education, development partners and other stakeholders.”
She explained that in Kenya, disasters more specifically, droughts, floods, fires, and conflicts have often disrupted learning and damaged essential education infrastructure.
“The lack of early warning systems and disaster preparedness plans such as fire drills, First Aid Kits and basic training on safety has exposed our schools to greater damage occasioned by disasters,” she said.
She further observed that in the past, disasters and emergencies have impacted the education sector in a number of ways; “disruption of school calendar, damage to school structures and equipment, inaccessibility of schools due to destruction of roads and bridges, psychological trauma on children leading to poor concentration and focus in the classroom.”
She stated that disasters also cause negative impacts on learning and achievement due to children missing schools and learning in substandard environments.
“They expose children to various forms of exploitation and in the more unfortunate cases, loss of lives of students and teachers.”
She stated that the policy aims to reduce these unfortunate eventualities in the education sector.
The interventions outlined in the policy include, but are not limited to the development and strengthening of capacities at all levels on disaster management in the education sector.
The policy provides a framework to guide collaboration, coordination and management of emergencies in the education sector.
It further reinforces other policies and guidelines such as Thehe Education Sector Policy on Peace Education (2014), The Education Sector Policy for Education for Sustainable Development, and the Health and Safety Standard Guidelines for schools, which are currently being implemented in learning institutions.
Following this launch, the policy will be disseminated for implementation in all the 47 Counties under the overall leadership of the Director General as the Chairperson of the Ministry of Education Disaster Management Committee.