FEEDBACK FROM THE FIELD Promotion of Disaster Education in Nepal: The Role of Teachers as Change Agents

November 2006 (VOL. 24, NO. 3)

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Disaster education allows community members to initiate pre-disaster measures at the individual level. The National Society for Earthquake Technology (NSET) has initiated a school safety program in selected government schools in Nepal, one of the most disaster prone countries. This study outlines the current condition of disaster education in Nepal, identifies teachers’ levels of awareness and evaluates the effect of NSET’s work. A survey of 130 teachers was conducted in over 40 schools in which it was found that while a level of disaster education in Nepal is widespread, it has not been implemented systematically but depends on the awareness of individual teachers. More teachers in NSET project schools provided disaster education than in the typical government and private schools that were observed. However, the quality of education provided was found to be the same. The teaching focused particularly on the effects of disasters in which the teachers had personal experience. These topics were often covered even if they were not included in the textbooks. The majority of teachers surveyed reported a need for curriculum development in this area. However, considering the results listed above, it can be considered that teacher training is the most important step to improve disaster education in Nepal.