Comprehensive School Safety (CSS) has become an important policy design framework to help reduce disaster impacts in the education sector, and practitioners have a crucial role to play. Here, we review how policies are developed and the roles practitioners can have in developing and implementing policies. We then discuss how the CSS Framework was developed through both top-down and participatory policy development processes, and highlight how practitioners can be involved in implementing, monitoring and improving the CSS Framework.
Every community struggles with how to deal with unintended risk. Within the education sector, these unintended risks have profound impacts. Decisions made about where schools are built, and how they are constructed and maintained, have resulted in children dying and being injured in collapsed schools. Oversights, such as lack of fire suppression equipment, have resulted in injuries to students and staff. Not planning in advance about how to protect equipment and supplies from rising water has led to repeated destruction of these assets in annual flooding. Many small actions and omissions combine in ways that risk student safety and educational continuity.
Risks to children’s rights to safety, survival, and education are beginning to be addressed in policies. The policy process takes many forms across different communities, but there are common challenges and successes. Recent research highlights the important role practitioners have as facilitators and mediators in realizing policy goals. A fuller understanding of the policy-making process will enable practitioners to take on more effective roles in policies that seek to protect children’s rights.