What is disaster resilience education?
Disaster resilience education (DRE) is the development of knowledge and skills which enable learners to assess danger in the environment and take protective action before, during and after a potential disaster or emergency event. Also known as disaster risk reduction, DRE enables learners to identify hazards in context and explore opportunities to reduce the harmful impacts of disasters on communities. Disaster resilience education is informed by the risk management cycle and encompasses learning linked to prevention, preparedness, response and recovery phases.
Australian schools have an important role to play in the implementation of DRE for the benefit of their students and the community. Schools and youth organisations provide vital hubs for collaborative learning, social engagement and information sharing, bringing together diverse communities with a common interest in the safety and development of young people.
The primary aims of DRE for children and young people are to:
- build knowledge, skills and capabilities to reduce the risk of disaster
- promote community engagement for disaster resilience through collaborative learning, information sharing and practical action.
Effective DRE empowers learners to:
- recognise hazards and conditions that threaten the safety of their environment
- plan a course of action to follow in a disaster or emergency event
- participate in decision making related to their own safety
- apply practical skills for keeping safe during and after a disaster or emergency
- engage in activities that promote mental health and wellbeing
- participate in personal and community recovery in the aftermath of a disaster or other traumatic event.
Effective DRE supports schools and educators to:
- develop resilient, confident, successful and responsible learners
- address Australian Curriculum learning content in Health & Physical Education; Geography; Science; Civics & Citizenship; and the General Capabilities
- engage with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures
- connect with experts in the science and geography of disasters
- collaborate with practitioners in health and emergency services
- engage with community groups for authentic and purposeful learning
- explore global education themes of sustainability, climate change and human rights.
The Australian Institute for Disaster Resilience (AIDR) Education for Young People Program promotes the development of disaster resilience education (DRE) as a vital component in children and young peoples' learning. This resonates with the National Strategy for Disaster Resilience which advocates for the inclusion of this type of knowledge in school education programs.
DRE is guided by the following principles:
- Children have a right to protection and care, as well as to seek and receive information
Articles 3, 13.1, UNCRC, 1989
- Disasters rank in the top ten major fears of childhood — educating children about disaster risk reduction helps them and their communities
Ronan, 2015, Fire Australia
- Children and young people can be enabled as 'agents of change,' depending on their capabilities
Towers, 2016, Disaster Resilience Education Practice Framework
- Disaster management policy and practice can better meet children's needs when they are involved in decision making
GADRRRES, 2017, Comprehensive School Safety Framework