Dec 12, 2011

Unexplored role of Education System in Urban Disaster Preparedness

By- Anoop Jha  

They could have taught survival tricks in school!

How prepared an average person in a city is, to face disaster situations of varying type, degree and scale, whether being trapped inside a distressed car, a minor road accident or fire situation in a multistory building or urban flood or earthquake. Even if there are required lifesaving physical infrastructure in place, how many of them know how to operate them, how to use them for their own and others safety, whom to contact in emergency situation, where to look for help, where to report immediately, what immediate measures to take, how to use first aid gadgets and CPR, which are the life saving drugs, where to buy first aid kit, personal safety and rescue tools, what important things to keep ready at hand in emergency situation. These are the simple facts and techniques which could have been taught in the school which would prove vital for survival of individual and society in general.

In a developing country like India majority of population in any city, in terms of disaster preparedness is illiterate. It is an acute need of time due to ever growing urban complexity and has been ignored since time immemorial in the education system. Parents cannot teach these life saving tricks to their children because neither their own parents taught them the same nor the school. Media also fails to spread the information on disaster preparedness because either they simply show the fact that disaster happened or they keep on harping the same old string of political blame game and debate. Neither media nor the politicians know how to tackle those urban disaster situations apart from allocating money for the required support infrastructure and strict and vigilant governance. Surely they are important but the vital missing part is the disaster management education curriculum in the hierarchy of educational system.

There are just a handful of experts on the subject of disaster preparedness. Point is, when it comes to survival education, each and every citizen, not only have to be aware of the ways to tackle basic disaster situations but they have to be expert on that subject. Our current education system is focused on personality building and mass producing technical hands for the growth of country which is of course a great idea but they should equally focus on teaching of survival methods throughout education system and should be made compulsory for the well being of individual and masses.

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