What We Do
  • Work to make schools and the communities they serve more resilient to natural hazards. Resilient schools result in reduced physical impact on school infrastructure, minimized disruption to educational services, and lives saved in the event of a disaster.
  • Leverage support by linking activities directly to large school investment programs. Bring together governments, the private sector, and civil society to enable countries to access the best experience and technical expertise.
  • Use technology and data analytics to quantify the level of risk and prioritize actions in order to guide risk-reduction investments.
Our Approach

Developing Global, Evidence-based Knowledge

GPSS is at the forefront of generating global, evidence-based knowledge on the safety and resilience of school infrastructure.

  • At the global level, the Program is developing the Global Library of School Infrastructure (GLoSI) a repository of data and information about the structural performance of school buildings and alternatives to reduce their seismic vulnerability.
  • At the country level, the program is working with governments to make schools and the communities they serve more resilient to natural disasters – from targeted policy reforms and investment in physical infrastructure to national strategies focusing on risk reduction and quality learning environments. The program’s goal is to promote solutions at scale by supporting governments In the design and implementation of long-term national strategies focused on reducing the vulnerability of new and existing school infrastructure.

Integrating Risk Reduction into Education Projects

GPSS is working alongside education teams at the World Bank to integrate risk reduction considerations into projects that finance school infrastructure. The program has developed guidance notes like the Roadmap for Safer Schools, which provides governments and development partners with tools and resources to improve the safety of schools. To support teams working in post-disaster contexts, the GPSS will launch the Recovery and Reconstruction Roadmap for Safer Schools in 2018.

Providing In-country Technical Assistance

The program has provided countries with an estimated US10 million to design and implement safer school activities. GPSS also works to diagnose school safety at a country level through state-of-the-art technical approaches and in-country visits. The program has carried out rapid, country-level diagnostic visits in Afghanistan, Armenia, Indonesia, Fiji, Mongolia, Samoa, Tonga, and Vanuatu.

Technical assistance begins with diagnostic field visits, which provide a rapid assessment of the vulnerability of existing school infrastructure to natural hazards, and identify factors that contribute to risk. This includes collecting available school infrastructure baseline data, mapping key stakeholders in charge of managing school infrastructure, and understanding the local construction and financing environments. Such visits help to identify potential opportunities where GPSS technical assistance could support countries in the design of risk reduction strategies and investments in safer education facilities.

Sharing Knowledge

GPSS is also developing a web-based platform and e-learning courses to disseminate knowledge and results from the Program to a wider audience, and to reach policy makers, project leads, educators, development partners, civil society members, and other stakeholders. By working to develop tools that make data easily accessible and available worldwide, GPSS aims to inform investments at scale that reduce the vulnerability of schools, and to promote a long-term, systematic approach to improving the safety of school infrastructure.

Building Partnerships

The Global Program for Safer Schools is building partnerships with academia, the private sector, and development partners to advance the safer school agenda. The program has partnered with University College London, University of Los Andes from Colombia, and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Switzerland to establish a working group to develop the Global Library of School Infrastructure. The GPSS is also developing in-country partnerships with stakeholders working on the ground, including United Nations agencies such as UNICEF, and development partners such as the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).