(PRESS RELEASE) — Project Brief: Throughout the Caribbean region, the education sector is highly vulnerable to the range of natural hazards that threaten its countries. Over the last two decades, the sector has experienced significant damage and losses due to the impact of natural hazards.
The passage of Hurricane Ivan on 7 September 2004—what can be considered to be a landmark event in the history of Grenada—resulted in damage to 75 of the 78 schools on the island, disrupting their operations for up to three months (The World Bank, 2005).
More recently, the passage of Hurricane Maria on 18 September 2017 wreaked havoc on the entire island, flattening schools and leaving more than a third of government-owned schools out of operation even two months after the initial impact (United Nations, 2017). The threat that accelerated climate change poses to the increased frequency and intensity of such hydro-meteorological hazards is expected to have a direct bearing on the education sector.
On July 20, the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) approved grant funding of EUR 746,000 to the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency Coordinating Unit (CDEMA- CU) to further implement the Model Safe School Programme (MSSP) toolkit in four countries: Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, St. Kitts and Nevis and St. Lucia. In order to address some of the evident vulnerabilities of the education sector, the toolkit was developed by the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) to guide governments on the development of National Safe School Policies and to offer tools for assessing the level of safety and greening of schools.
The Implementation of the Model Safe School Programme in the Caribbean (MSSP) was designed to, among other things, enhance the capacity of Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, St. Kitts and Nevis and St. Lucia to incorporate and mainstream comprehensive risk and disaster management considerations in education sector policies, planning and operations.
The Project components consist of:
converting the existing paper-based MSSP tool to an electronic format and testing the electronic tool;
reviewing, elaborating and enhancing the building condition assessment element of the MSSP tool-kit and to provide training for assessors in four CDB Borrowing Member Countries (BMCs);
developing/enhancing national socially and gender-inclusive policies on school safety, delivering training of trainers/assessors on the tools and standards for school safety, conducting hazard risk assessments in 31 schools on the four selected BMCs; and preparing individual costed action plans for reducing or eliminating the risks identified during the school assessments;
supporting project management and project visibility actions in four BMCs.
The project will be executed by CDEMA through its CU. The project will be implemented in collaboration with the Ministries of Education and the Ministries of Public Works or the agency responsible for school construction and maintenance, school administration and the NDMO in each country.
Funding is being provided under the African Caribbean Pacific-European Union-Caribbean Development Bank Natural Disaster Risk Management (ACP-EU-CDB NDRM) in CARIFORUM Countries Programme.
Enhancement of the Building Condition Assessment Tool
The University of Technology, Jamaica (UTech) has been contracted by the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) to provide the services of faculty and administrative staff to review and enhance the Building Condition Assessment Tool of The Model Safe School Programme (MSSP) and to deliver national training courses for MSSP assessors in six (6) Borrowing Member Countries (BMCs).
The Consultant (UTech) is specifically required to:
Review the MSSP Condition Assessment Toolkit;
Elaborate an enhanced Physical Assessment Tool for the MSSP that considers the specific vulnerabilities of each territory with particular consideration given to schools for recommendations to retrofit schools that have been designed as shelters; and
Delivery of in-country training workshop on structural assessment in six (6) Borrowing Member Countries.
Consistent with the requirements the mission visit to Barbados was done during the period with the following as objectives specific to the BMC:
To consult with Ministry of Education focal points in each country
To Consult with Meeting with National Safe School Project Committee
(NSSPC) in each Country
To Consult with the National Disaster Office in each country
To Consult with architects, engineers and building practitioners in each country
To Conduct site visits to a selected school in each category (early childhood, primary, secondary)