Guidance Notes on Safer School Construction

Worldwide, approximately 1. 2 billion students are enrolled in primary and secondary school; of these, 875 million school children live in high seismic risk zones and hundreds of millions more face regular flood, landslide, extreme wind and fire hazards. Although these children spend up to 50 percent of their waking hours in school facilities, all too often schools are not constructed or maintained to be disaster resilient. The Guidance Notes on Safer School Construction present a framework of guiding principles and general steps to develop a context-specific plan to address this critical gap to reaching EFA and the MDGs through the disaster resilient construction and retrofitting of school buildings. The guidance notes consist of four components: 1. General information and advocacy points (Sections 2-4) briefly address the need and rationale for safer school buildings as well as the scope and intended use of the Guidance Notes. They also feature several success stories and list a number of essential guiding principles and strategies for overcoming common challenges. 2. A series of suggested steps (Section 5) that highlight key points that should be considered when planning a safer school construction and/or retrofitting initiative. Each step describes the processes, notes important decision points, highlights key issues or potential challenges, and suggests good practices, tools to facilitate the actions, and references resources to guide the reader to more detailed and context-specific information. 3. A compilation of basic design principles (Section 6) to identify some basic requirements a school building must meet to provide a greater level of protection. These principles are intended to facilitate a very basic understanding of the measures that can be taken to make a school building more resilient to hazard forces. 4. A broad list of references to resources (Appendix 3) for more detailed, technical and context-specific information.