Why do we need GLOSI?

Safer school projects have taught us that there are three main challenges to global dissemination  of knowledge surrounding school building performance: communication to decision makers, the lack of a common language, and facilitation of quantitative risk assessment.

Global knowledge about school infrastructure performance needs to reach decision makers

The engineering community has achieved immense progress in the past few decades towards understanding building performance against natural hazards and devising scalable risk-reduction solutions. However, this knowledge has not reached decision makers nor has it been used to drive school infrastructure investments. Without this knowledge, the opportunity to maximize benefits from intervention and optimize investments in school safety can be lost.

Many people know that a damaging earthquake hit Mexico in 1985, but perhaps only a few are aware that the country put in place a seismic retrofitting program after this disaster to improve the performance of many school buildings. In the recent 2017 earthquakes there, the retrofitted buildings proved to be much safer than those that had not. Developing countries in different parts of the world have school buildings with a similar performance to the Mexican buildings but are not aware that solutions exist. How we can make vulnerability data on school infrastructure available globally?

The first objective is to create a universal “language”

School buildings tend to follow standard designs, yet buildings with similar vulnerability are still difficult to identify in different countries, or even within a country. This is largely due to the lack of a systematic classification system and consistent vulnerability assessment framework.

The GLOSI offers a solution by making a taxonomy and vulnerability assessment framework for school buildings globally applicable, and oriented to produce quantitative risk information that will inform large investments in school safety and resilience.

The GLOSI is a tool to mainstream quantitative risk assessment in investment planning

By using a systematic taxonomy, the GLOSI includes a catalog of typical school building types found in different parts of the world with the respective vulnerability data needed to conduct quantitative risk assessments. Countries can map their school facility portfolios with the catalog and use the GLOSI data to perform quantitative risk assessments or vulnerability analyses to identify cost-efficient retrofitting solutions. The availability of this information will ensure that results are scalable across countries and safer school engagements in each country begin with a solid existing technical foundation.

The GLOSI is a living global one-stop-shop which will evolve over time and where partners all over the world can access and contribute to the most up-to-date data about school infrastructure vulnerability. This is a goal without precedent to answer the call to reduce school infrastructure risk at scale in developing countries.

How to use GLOSI?


GLOSI is an open access library. The in-country data section is limited to country data sharing policies. The most common queries in the GLOSI are the following:


  • Collecting data on school buildings. The GLOSI provides tools to collect data on the structural, architectural and functional conditions of school facilities, which will help develop the school infrastructure baseline to be used in quantitative risk assessments.
  • Classification of school buildings. In the taxonomy section, the user can learn how to use the GLOSI taxonomy to classify school buildings and assign a taxonomy string. There are available guidelines explaining how to evaluate each of the taxonomy parameters, as well as application examples.
  • Understanding school building vulnerability. Countries can map their own school buildings with the representative GLOSI index buildings, and obtain information on the index buildings’ fragility and vulnerability. This allows school infrastructure managers to gain a first understanding of the school buildings’ vulnerability, and to assess the need for further structural assessment.
  • Facilitating quantitative risk assessment. Use of the GLOSI index buildings’ fragility and vulnerability data can facilitate national/sub-national quantitative risk assessments which provide a quantitative estimation of expected economic losses, fatalities, and service disruption in school infrastructure under different hazard scenarios. The GLOSI provides guidance and input to support and facilitate the process.
  • Guiding development of scalable and cost-efficient vulnerability reduction solutions to maximize safety for children. The GLOSI offers technical notes and examples of applications of engineering solutions to reduce school infrastructure vulnerability at scale. It includes economic analyses conducted under several World Bank-financed projects which evaluate the impact of risk reduction interventions on school safety and resilience.
  • Learning and sharing knowledge from global experience to make schools safer and resilient at scale. Systematically capturing and giving access to global experiences of safer school programs in developing countries is perhaps the GLOSI’s biggest contribution. Through country case studies, the GLOSI presents the approaches used, the results obtained and lessons learned.

How to contribute to GLOSI?

The GLOSI is an evolving library of which information and data will be enriched and updated over time to integrate the contributions of partners from various regions of the world. As the GLOSI administrator , the World Bank will facilitate and guide contributions through the Global Program for Safer Schools. We would particularly encourage input on the following topics:

  • School building survey data from different regions/countries
  • Data on typical school infrastructure building types and respective vulnerability from different regions/countries
  • Examples of retrofitting solutions on school infrastructure used in different parts of the world, and lessons learned
  • Efficient data collection methodologies and tools
  • Examples of disaster risk reduction programs for school infrastructure implemented all over the world, results and lessons learned

How to collect data?

In our experience, the following data collection framework allows school infrastructure managers to obtain information on the structural, architectural and functional conditions of large school portfolios in a systematic and sustainable way. On the Toolkit[CFF1]  page, you will find tools and guidance to facilitate data collection using the GLOSI framework. Those tools were developed to assist in the desktop processing of collected data and creation of an exposure database for quantitative risk assessments following the GLOSI taxonomy.

The figure below illustrates the overall GLOSI data collection framework. It includes three Tiers, or data collection levels, with increasing levels of technical detail. Typically, Tier 1 and Tier 2 are required to build and update a baseline of school infrastructure for risk assessments, or to conduct a post-disaster damage assessment. Tier 3, on the other hand, would generally be required when the index buildings identified in a specific case are not included in the GLOSI Catalog of Building Types[CFF2] , or when some specificities of those index buildings require detailed fragility/vulnerability assessments.

 [CFF1]Link to the Toolkit page under Data Collection

 [CFF2]Add hyperlink to the catalog of building types