The chief of the Davao City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office is proposing to institutionalize disaster preparedness in the school curriculum. There should be a subject on disaster risk reduction and management (DRRM) in all levels,? said Emmanuel Jaldon, referring to the provisions stated in the countrys DRRM Act.
According to Republic Act 10121 (or the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010), DepEd has an important part to play in the countrys approach to DRRM. The secretary of DepEd is also a member of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.
Sec. 14 of the act requires stakeholders DepEd, CHED, Tesda integration of disaster risk education education in school curricula.
Local DRRM bodies shall also encourage community, specifically the youth, participation in disaster risk reduction and management activities, such as organizing quick response groups, particularly in identified disaster-prone areas, as well as the inclusion of disaster risk reduction and management programs as part of youth programs and projects.a
Jaldon said that many students have low awareness on DRRM and he attributes this to how disaster education is not yet institutionalized. DRRM education is not a school subject itself but only a component of subjects like science and social science.
He said that while students have knowledge on basic on what to do during certain disasters like earthquakes, these skills do not stick to them for a long time.
He added that there is a need to inculcate DRRM through frequent practice, like in Japan where students are made to do drills daily before classes start.
Practice needs to be frequent until students reach a level of unconscious compliance, Jaldon said, referring to application of DRRM skills by reflex.
There is also a need to involve students in hazard-mapping within school environments. These can range from identifying potential risks or hazards in campuses. These include unsound structures, electrical wirings, and flammable materials.
Students, Jaldon said, should also have good understanding of access to exit points in school establishments. He said these can vary depending on school location some are situated next to highways, while others are near bodies of water.
Once you identify these risks, you can put in measures to prevent disasters from happening, he said.
Dr. Janette Veloso, Department of Education Curriculum and Learning Management Division head, said that senior high school students under the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) track take up only one specialized subject on DRRM.
Junior high school students also get lessons on DRRM because this is embedded in what she refers to as spiral lessons.a
Veloso said that, in science for example, teaching is no longer structured by the discipline. Instead, each disciplines (chemistry, physics, biology, etc.) are taught to students in all levels but with varied difficulties.
This allows every student in any level to learn about sciences as early as grade three. The same method is applied in teaching DRRM where science is used as an entry point. Lessons are taught in amounts suited for students in different levels.
Veloso said that DRRM should be taught to students as young as preschool. This gives makes them familiar with their environment and how it affects them, she said, adding that scouting activities also reinforce values and make them apply theory in real life situations.
Veloso said that disaster drills are conducted every semester.
DRRM lessons in K-12 curriculum are acontextualized according to local situations. In Manila, students are taught how to respond to frequent typhoons. Students in the Davao Region are taught how to respond to earthquakes, the important of taking care of the environment, forest fires (in light of the Mt. Apo incident earlier this year), and what to do during flash floods.
She added that in terms of preparation, there is a need to collaborate with local partners and parents to ensure that DRRM teaching goes beyond the classroom and is applied in the community. (Mindanao Times