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Regional News of Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Source: GNA

Consider Disasters as subject of study - Professor Buatsi

Dormaa-Ahenkro (B/A), June 1, GNA - Professor Paul Buatsi, a former Chief Director of the Ministry of Education and Consultant of the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) has appealed to the Ministry of Education to consider disaster as a subject of study in schools. He said this was necessary in view of the apparent low knowledge and approach to disaster-related issues in schools. Mr Buasti was speaking at the end of a workshop in Dormaa-Ahenkro to assess the extent to which disaster risk reduction issues are prioritized and addressed in school curricula. The one-day workshop brought together selected school children, Parent-Teacher Associations, School Management Committee members, experts on education, teachers, NADMO staff and the media. The participants brainstormed to answer a 16-page questionnaire designed to collect data on the subject for use by NADMO to advocate for the immediate inclusion of disasters in school curricula. The workshop, a collaboration between NADMO and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), also delved into the level of disasters and their impact on teaching and learning, as well as potentials of extra-curricula activities in disaster risk reduction. Prof. Buatsi noted that disasters had the potential to derail the whole development agenda of nations, citing the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan that resulted in loss of lives and properties. He noted that disasters, particularly man-made ones such as wars, ethnic conflicts, bushfires and water pollution, 93can be avoided to spare the next generation the task of re-organising to replace facilities vandalized earlier without any justification". The former chief director underscored NADMO's commitment to disasters being made a subject of study in schools in the near future and lauded the UNDP for its support. Dr Kingsford Asamoah, Head of NADMO's Research Unit, took participants through Disaster Risk Reduction, with particular reference to risk assessment and management. He explained that any sudden destructive situation that required more than local resources alone to solve was considered a disaster. Dr Asamoah observed that apart from their risky, hazardous and vulnerable characteristics, disasters also 93unleash indelible trauma on the minds of victims and sometimes paralyze some for the rest of their lives". He said NADMO had the conviction that the teaching of Disasters as a subject in schools would enable the subject to exert more desirable impact than the current experience where disaster is only mentioned as a sub-division of existing subjects at various levels of education. Mr Joseph Blankson Nyarko, Brong-Ahafo Regional NADMO Coordinator, announced that five more districts in the region would benefit from similar workshops and the aim was to provide a common platform where disasters could be taught, learnt and assessed with training provided to prevent or manage man-made ones. Mr Vincent Oppong Asamoah, Dormaa Municipal Chief Executive, described the decision to advocate for the study of Disasters in schools as laudable and agreed that this should begin with children in their formative years.