The United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) will join with two local agencies in improving the educational sector’s capacity in the next two years to help it ensure quality education for children in case of natural disasters.

Under a tripartite agreement for the 2011-13 period signed in Hanoi on June 1, the Ministry of Education and Training will integrate education on disaster risk reduction into the Government’s 10-year strategy, as well as into the educational sector’s annual and five-year plans. The ministry will also help local administrations prepare programmes on education during emergency situations as part of the plans on natural disaster control, and education on emergency responses.

For its part, UNICEF will help the ministry raise funds and improve managerial staff capacity in preparing for, coping with and overcoming natural disasters, in order to ensure education during emergencies.

The Save the Children Vietnam will be responsible for maintaining connections with international organisations and networks, to share experiences and disseminate good examples in education about emergencies. The domestic non-profit organisation will also join the Ministry of Education and Training (MET) in providing material and equipment for emergency education.

MET Deputy Minister Tran Quang Quy said to cope with natural disasters, every school should become a “citadel” to protect children and other members of the community.

“Children have therefore to be educated in environmental protection, current climate change problems and measures to cope with climate change impacts to protect themselves,” said the senior educational manager.

He added that school children should also be equipped with skills to help victims and parents just in case.

Both UNICEF Resident Reprsentative Lotta Sylwander and Save the Children Vietnam Director Pham Sinh Huy pledged strong assistance to MET in this scheme in an effort to mitigate school shutdowns caused by natural disasters./.