The intervention options available to improve the performance of school infrastructure are numerous and correlated. For example, replacement of school buildings as a unique intervention option for existing vulnerable school infrastructure tends to reduce the Government’s ability to address disaster risk in schools at scale.
In our experience, the design of intervention strategies that combine tailored intervention lines to maximize safety for most children enable infrastructure managers and decision makers to move forward with realistic, affordable and sustainable solutions.
The resources and methodologies proposed in the RSRS and GLOSI can be key to achieving this objective. Approaches and experiences of safer school activities worldwide are shared here as case studies.
From an engineering perspective, reducing the vulnerability of school infrastructure at scale requires the optimization of engineering solutions.
A performance-based assessment approach can be applied to identify retrofitting solutions that improve the performance of a given index building up to several performance levels. Those solutions are applicable and can be customized to school buildings with a performance similar to the respective index building.
The identification of optimal solutions for all index buildings representative of a portfolio of school buildings allows one to devise an intervention strategy that grants the greatest safety benefits for children with the most cost-efficient investment. The optimization of engineering solutions is therefore a critical step toward making interventions in a large number of existing school buildings affordable, while promoting the use of local knowledge and construction technologies.
This section offers examples of optimization of engineering solutions in the context of World Bank-financed projects.
Cost-benefit analysis is a powerful tool to determine the economic viability of safer school investments. Benefits are estimated by comparing pre- and post-intervention scenarios considering: (i) avoided fatalities, (ii) avoided economic loss due to inflicted damage on school buildings, (iii) avoided economic loss due to school facility downtime in the disaster aftermath, and (iv) additional benefits such as upgrades of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) facilities, and improved energy efficiency.
When combined, the four indicators offer a comprehensive picture of the expected impact of the project. In fact, the higher the post-investment benefits, the more successful the safer school project.
Cost-benefit analyses can also be conducted to select among different intervention options for a given school facility, inform the prioritization of the schools to be subject to intervention, and identify where investments have the greatest impact. This analysis based on technical and objective indicators enables decision makers to implement efficient intervention solutions, and optimize investment planning at scale. The GLOSI offers technical notes on how to conduct a cost-benefit analysis for safer schools and risk reduction investment operations.