Step 1

School Infrastructure Baseline

To establish a baseline and determine the condition and capacity of existing school infrastructure.  

Normal Condition

At the end of this step, the team should be able to do the following:
a) Establish the baseline of school facilities to be analyzed.
b) Identify the main characteristics, condition and capacity of existing school facilities
c) Identify opportunities to manage school infrastructure information within the sectors Management Information System (MIS)  

 

Module Activity Output
1.1 Inventory of existing school facilities 1.1.1. Compile and organize available information about school facilities 1.1.1. Compile and organize available information about school facilities in the disaster affected area
1.2 School facility baseline 1.2.1. Define the structure of the baseline and create a field inspection plan 1.2.1. Define the structure of the baseline and create a field inspection plan for the damage assessment.
1.2.2. Carry out a field inspection campaign  1.2.2. Perform damage assessment of school facilities in the disaster-affected area
1.2.3. Identify building types and index buildings 1.2.3. Identify building types and index buildings
1.2.4. Establish the baseline of school facilities to be analyzed 1.2.4. Establish the baseline of school facilities to be included in the recovery and reconstruction plan
1.3 School infrastructure network integration  1.3.1. Compile and organize available geospatial information about the urban/rural context in which school infrastructure operates 1.3.1. Compile and organize available geospatial information about the urban/rural context of the disaster-affected area
1.4 Exposure of existing school facilities to natural hazards 1.4.1. Identify the natural hazards to which school infrastructure is exposed 1.4.1. Identify the natural hazards to which school infrastructure is exposed
1.4.2. Identify the building types exposed to natural hazards 1.4.2. Identify the building types exposed to natural hazards
1.5 Management of school infrastructure data 1.5.1. Integrate the baseline into an existing or new MIS 1.5.1. Integrate the baseline into an existing or new MIS

 

Local partners and technical expertise

The table below presents a list of suggested local partners and technical expertise required to contribute to or lead the activities of this step.

Key agencies

  • Ministry of Education and any other agency involved in school management
  • Local governments (in decentralized political systems)
  • School principals (for schools included in the inspection campaign)

 Contributing agencies

  • Geological Service agency or similar (hazard maps provider)
  • Statistical agency (if playing a role in the infrastructure inventory)

Technical Expertise

  • Senior structural engineer (usually external advisor)
  • Senior hazard specialist such as an engineer or geologist from Geological Service agency
  • Ministry of Education: engineers and architects in charge of school infrastructure
  • GIS specialist
  • Information management specialist in charge of EMIS (if available)
  • Engineering firm(s) to conduct field inspection campaign (for large portfolios)

 

Module 1.1. Inventory of existing school facilities

Activities under this module will gather existing information on school facilities and evaluate its usefulness for implementation of the roadmap. 

 

Activity 1.1.1. Compile and organize available information about school facilities

The focus of this first activity is on understanding the availability, quality, and reliability of the existing school infrastructure inventory. A database is to be created from available information that includes basic identification, location, and education-level (preschool, primary, secondary, and so on) data about school facilities. Such information will usually be found in the sector’s education management information system (EMIS). This database will provide a framework for organizing the existing information and adding more to it—for example, the school facilities can be classified by location using georeferenced data. This review of the infrastructure inventory will also help with identifying existing mechanisms for collecting and updating data and any information technology (IT) systems and software available to manage them. 

Guidance:

Capacity, occupancy, and condition attributes should be integrated into the database. When an existing inventory is available, the task will be to identify and understand the definition and coverage of the school infrastructure’s attributes and the reliability of this information. If these data are not available or not feasible to collect, the team should compile related information from other reliable sources and populate the database using a predefined template. This can be facilitated by, for example, identifying relevant agencies at the national and subnational levels that are involved, directly or indirectly, in school infrastructure management. Normally, information is shared among these agencies. With the help of senior architects and engineers, documentation can also be collected on the evolution of school building designs over time.

Keep in mind the purpose of this activity is not to conduct an inventory, but to gain a better understanding of the status of the school infrastructure inventory (if available). This activity focuses on identifying gaps, summarizing results, and identifying key sources of information to support the implementation of activities. Hence, it’s important to make sure the data are consistent, complete, and reliable. If a school inventory is not available, this activity will concentrate on collecting all existing information from a wide range of sources.

After the emergency phase, a rapid visual assessment (RVA) is conducted by government agencies to guide initial recovery actions. Results from the rapid visual assessment of affected schools should be organized and cross-checked with existing information. The RVA is generally conducted in such a way that data quality issues and inconsistencies are quite common. Indeed, in most cases no standard template or methodology is used for the inspections. Evaluators have heterogeneous profiles, and teams must operate under very difficult time and resource constraints in a complex environment. Task teams should evaluate the reliability of the RVA information as input for the baseline.

 

Module 1.2. School facility baseline

Activities in this module will allow task teams to define the baseline of the stock of school facilities that will be included in the plan. Subsequent modules and activities will rely on the quality of the baseline.

 

Activity 1.2.1. Define the structure of the baseline and create a field inspection plan

This activity concentrates on filling information gaps and completing the school facility baseline for planning purposes. It consists of selecting from the school inventory (if available) the facility and building attributes that will be required in the analysis and planning phases. Usually, the team will need to collect information that is missing or outdated. This can be done by carrying out field inspections of a group of representative building types and looking for additional information, such as the buildings’ structural or architectural drawings. Since field campaigns are resource and time consuming, a realistic and efficient plan that defines the scope and objective of the campaign and identifies the human, technical, and financial resources needed to carry it out is essential. 

Guidance:

The attributes included in the school infrastructure baseline are important for the analysis and planning phases. As tradeoffs always exist among input data, analysis resolution (see activity 1.2.4, below), and expected results, designated core team members and technical experts who have a key role in this activity should participate in guiding the discussions to guarantee consistency in the approach and methodology used. Ultimately, analysis resolution is strongly determined by the quality, reliability, and coverage of the baseline information.

The baseline for reconstruction planning following a disaster is a function of both the impact to the school network and the government’s timeline to restore service. A common mistake is to use the RVA as the sole basis for reconstruction planning. Post-disaster conditions require a more detailed damage and vulnerability assessment of school facilities in the affected areas. The damage assessment for reconstruction purposes should be planned carefully and, in large-scale disasters, can take up to one year to complete. The task teams’ main challenge is to deliver results in line with the government’s needs and expected time frame to inform the reconstruction planning process. Based on our experience, the better the quality of the inventory before the disaster, the faster it may be possible to conduct the damage assessment after it.

The quality of the baseline of affected school infrastructure is critical for the definition and optimization of reconstruction interventions. The focus of this activity is to ensure consistency among the damage assessment, baseline, analytical process, and expected results. In large-scale disasters, the team will usually start with very rough baseline information that will be finetuned over time as new data become available. To that end, task teams should set up a framework to integrate new information systematically into the baseline. Furthermore, given that information is usually scattered in post-disaster conditions, task teams should map the key sources to be used during this process.

 

Activity 1.2.2. Carry out the field inspection campaign

This activity involves inspecting a group of representative school facilities as part of the planning process. The inspection of a large group of school facilities is a resource-heavy task, so data collection templates, IT tools, inspection teams, logistics, quality assurance, and coordination among institutions and local governments must be carefully planned and organized. If a school inventory is available, the initial field inspection process will consist of selecting the facility and building attributes required to establish the baseline (see activity 1.2.1, above). The information collected through the field inspection will be used to verify or update the existing data. The time frame for the field inspection campaign is usually determined by the number and location of schools to be inspected, the human and financial resources that are needed and available, and the time needed to deliver the intervention and investment plans. Carrying out the inspections can take from a few months to up to two years. 

Guidance:

A successful field campaign relies on the collection of pertinent data, the deployment of trained task teams, and having in place an information management strategy and quality assurance process. The data collection templates used should build on existing information as much as possible. “Pertinent data” means the data called for by the analysis methods and planning activities. An initial effort to identify and focus the task teams’ survey on them will save on resources and improve efficiency significantly. Also essential is to ensure the teams have a common understanding of the inspection plan and methodology, basic engineering concepts, standard terminology, data collection templates, and IT tools to be used. They should also be familiar with the local context, in particular its construction practices, language, and cultural norms.

To gather data in a systematic and structured manner and ensure smooth information flow, the task teams should follow and use agreed-on protocols and IT tools throughout the entire field campaign. While the use of technological innovations, such as mobile apps and smart tablets, has facilitated the information management process, the volume of data to be collected and the lack of Internet access in some rural areas may be a challenge for large campaigns. The GPSS is developing an app that addresses these issues. A key recommendation is to establish a “live help desk” to support task teams during the entire field campaign.

For the quality assurance process, a dedicated team should be assigned to monitor and review the results from the field and conduct validation tests on selected school facilities. This will help identify any issues with the data early on and ensure they are addressed. Furthermore, it will put the team in charge of quality assurance in a much better position to evaluate the overall reliability of the campaign results.

On-the-job training strengthens the capacity of local engineers and school infrastructure managers to carry out the inspections. Providing training to the task teams during the inspection campaign facilitates the discussion of key concepts, the sharing of international experience, and the fostering of a common understanding of disaster risk management. Moreover, the learning experience provides an opportunity to engage with young professionals and create incentives to boost their participation and interest in this field.

The field campaign to assess damage to school facilities from large-scale disasters might unfold in several phases and require special provisions. As mentioned earlier, one challenge posed by reconstruction planning is the need to make informed decisions under severe time constraints. This is why damage assessment in large-scale disasters should be approached progressively rather than as a single-phase activity. The number of schools to be inspected, their accessibility (typically in rural areas), the spatial distribution of damage, the number of affected communities, and even political conditions are factors to be considered when planning a field inspection campaign. Compliance with legal provisions (for example, the formal certification of surveyors, as in Mexico), the role of local governments, and the participation of nongovernmental organizations must also be taken into account.

During the recovery phase, it is necessary to coordinate activities with local authorities and communicate about activities with affected communities. Local authorities play a central role throughout the recovery and reconstruction process, usually providing permits, liaising with school principals, and engaging with communities. It is important to secure their ownership of and participation in this activity.

Communities should also be notified before the field inspection campaign takes place and details shared with them about the objective, scope, expected results, time frame, and participants involved in the activity. The effort to keep them informed also provides an opportunity to manage their expectations about future interventions and next steps.

During the field inspection campaign, task teams should take advantage of local logistical efforts already underway during the recovery phase to gain access to remote schools, arrange trips, enhance security and safety measures, and so on.

 

Activity 1.2.3. Identify building types and index buildings

This activity helps define school building types and index buildings, based on the analysis of existing information and results of the field inspection campaign. A team of structural engineers will go through the data on structural characteristics of school buildings and classify each of them. For the classification of school buildings, a taxonomy was developed under the Global Library of School Infrastructure (GLOSI).

The activity will be conducted in two stages. In the first, building types will be identified according to three main parameters. In the second, each category of building types will be analyzed in terms of nine additional parameters to identify different representative buildings. These are called index buildings and can be understood as subcategories of a given building type that are representative (statistically) of the school buildings stock under analysis.

 

Table 1. GLOSI taxonomy parameters

Taxonomy Parameters
Primary 1 Main Structural System
2 Height Range
3 Seismic Design Level
Secondary 4 Diaphragm Type
5 Structural Irregularity
6 Wall Panel Length
7 Wall Opening
8 Foundation Type
9 Seismic Pounding Risk
10 Effective Seismic Retrofitting
11 Structural Heath Condition
12 Non-Structural Components
Building Type:
GLOSI Taxonomy String:

 

Guidance:

This activity requires the participation and leadership of senior local engineers. Despite the use of a standard classification, building types can only be classified by senior engineers with extensive experience in local design and construction practices. In this type of activity, task teams made up of junior engineers and led by senior ones operate very efficiently. The participation of international experts may also be needed when task teams do not have experience in this area or local capacity is limited. As the outcome of this activity will have an impact on the RSRS steps that follow, the selection of a strong core team, advisors, and international partners (if needed) is vital to success. 

Further activities and steps will be based on the analysis of the performance of the selected index buildings. Note that, through this approach, the effort will be focused on understanding the current performance of the index buildings and identifying the intervention needs; then, results can be extrapolated across the whole stock of school buildings. This approach has proved efficient in analyzing large stocks of school buildings and planning interventions. Moreover, it is common to find that vulnerability and risk are concentrated in a small number of index buildings. The 80/20 rule1 is a practical reference to identify index buildings—that is, those with the highest frequency within the stock, the lowest values in the GLOSI parameters, and records of poor performance in historical hazard events (if that information is available).

Task teams will find in GLOSI a comprehensive set of information about index buildings in different countries.  GLOSI is composed of five sections: taxonomy, catalog of index buildings, vulnerability, risk reduction solutions, and country databases. In these sections, users will find technical documents, tools (for example, applications for data collection), and a catalog of index buildings with specific information about failure modes, vulnerability functions, and documented retrofitting projects. This provides local structural engineers with plenty of information to facilitate their tasks.

GLOSI also applies to the classification of school buildings affected by disaster events. In fact, damage assessment results provide additional evidence about typical ways in which buildings fail and the overall performance of building types and index buildings. In addition to building characteristics, the classification will identify failure modes under each group of building types, their frequency, and the spatial distribution of damage within the disaster area. Different damage levels within the same index building will also indicate how the hazard differs in intensity by location. 

 

Activity 1.2.4. Establish the baseline of school facilities to be analyzed

Establishing the baseline requires setting up a database with the attributes of the school facilities that will be analyzed. In it must be defined and organized basic information about the school facilities and index buildings, as defined previously. The data (attributes) in the baseline relate to the location, capacity, and functional condition of each facility and the index building information.

Guidance:

The reliability of the baseline is crucial, as it serves as the basis for the planning process and informs decision making. Although this task may seem straightforward, the challenge will be to ensure the available information is complete, reliable, and consistent. Task teams should then decide upon the final content of the database to meet the requirements for information in subsequent steps of the RSRS.

The scope of the plan and resolution of the analytical work drives the baseline requirements. The higher the resolution, the more detailed the baseline requirements. At this stage, task teams might need to present the final version of the baseline to the specialists involved in further activities so they can adjust the methodology and resolution of the analytical work to the actual available baseline.

For large school infrastructure portfolios, proxies normally are used to fill information gaps in the baseline. Problems should not arise as long as the proxies, any assumptions made, and their effect on the final results are clearly described, communicated to, and agreed on with the key stakeholders and decision makers involved.

In post-disaster conditions, the baseline might have to be updated several times as new and complementary information becomes available. When a damage assessment is carried out in phases, results from each phase will inevitably lead to modifications of the baseline. Changes can also originate from interventions undertaken in school facilities by local stakeholders, communities, or nongovernmental organizations. Task teams should plan the analytical work progressively, running the analysis as many times as needed. Proper documentation of changes in the baseline is essential to ensure the consistency and replicability of results. 

 

Module 1.3. School infrastructure network integration

The activity in this module provides an understanding of how the network of schools is integrated into the territory (urban versus rural) and other infrastructure. Aspects such as accessibility and land adequacy, among others, are analyzed.

 

Activity 1.3.1. Compile and organize available geospatial information about the urban or rural context in which school infrastructure operates                                              

Task teams must gain an understanding of the school infrastructure network within the context of the territorial (urban or rural) environment by analyzing the way in which school infrastructure, like other social infrastructure, is integrated into the territory and communities it serves. This integration can be analyzed by investigating the adequacy of school facility locations in relation to land use regulations, school accessibility in terms of the road network, proximity to other key public infrastructure, such as emergency health facilities, and the classroom supply-to-demand ratio. This analysis requires access to georeferenced information on, for example, transportation, health, sports, and emergency, utility, and communication infrastructure, as well as demographic data, land use maps, and so on. 

Guidance:

This activity is key, as the information and output(s) generated throughout the RSRS should have a geographical representation. Throughout the RSRS activities, geospatial information is either collected or produced at different levels: school facility, municipality, region, and country. Task teams should plan to have resources—such as a geographic information system (GIS) specialist and software—to manage geospatial information throughout the implementation of the RSRS steps.   

As this activity is especially relevant for the recovery and reconstruction process following a disaster, recovery and reconstruction planning should be based on both the condition of affected school facilities and the territorial and demographic characteristics of the disaster area. The intervention strategy will be strongly correlated to accessibility conditions. In the early emergency phase, for instance, getting access to the schools is a challenge for response teams. In addition, large disasters usually have a negative impact on households’ assets and income and can result in forced displacement and migration. Therefore, the reconstruction of school infrastructure should go hand in hand with the recovery of other social services and the restoration of livelihoods and economic activity.

In the context of this activity, task teams should not only identify sources of information but also establish communication channels with relevant parties involved in recovery and reconstruction.  

 

Module 1.4. Exposure of existing school facilities to natural hazards

Activities under this module will identify the natural hazards to which school facilities are exposed. The activities rely on the existing hazard information and relate to one or more hazards.

 

Activity 1.4.1. Identify the natural hazards to which school infrastructure is exposed 

This activity aims to ascertain the exposure of school infrastructure to hazards in hazard-prone areas. Task teams are to gather all information relevant to natural hazards (maps, studies, databases, and so on), as well as on the historical impact of hazard events on the education sector and on land use regulation in disaster-prone areas. 

Guidance:

This activity should not focus on generating new hazard maps, since this is a huge endeavor. Based on our experience, in the case of most developing countries, this information may not exist or is incomplete and lacks the required resolution. Collecting, reviewing, and organizing this information will be important for step 5. Open access to specialized websites may help complement local information or provide general insight into natural hazards in a given country.

It’s important to understand local hazard events. In general, earthquakes, cyclones, hurricanes, tsunamis, and large floods are likely to have catastrophic, large-scale effects on the education sector. Local hazard events, such as landslides, small floods, snow avalanches, or liquefaction, might also have fatal impact, although concentrated in small areas. In terms of the analysis, the difference is that the larger events will be addressed at scale and the local ones on a case by case basis. Thus, the school infrastructure plan should encompass schools exposed to local hazard events as well as large-scale ones.

Task teams must rely on the knowledge of local experts. Work in many topic areas requires expert advice—for example, regarding the resolution of hazard maps, the reliability and interpretation of hazard categories, hazard assessment methodologies, and so on. Senior specialists with extensive experience in natural hazards and knowledge of the local context can be found in government agencies, universities, or private firms. Even in the cases where hazard maps do not exist, local experts will be in a position to provide valuable input and guidance. 

Resilience sometimes means addressing more than one hazard. The reconstruction process provides an opportunity to reduce the vulnerability factors that led to the disaster, as well as vulnerability to other natural hazards to which school infrastructure could be exposed. Events in Haiti provide a good example. In 2010, when a magnitude Mw 7.0 earthquake struck the country, over 200,000 lives were lost, and about half of the nation’s 15,000 primary and 1,500 secondary schools were affected. Then, in 2016, Hurricane Matthew (Category 4) struck southwestern Haiti, affecting close to 2 million people in one of the country’s poorest regions and leaving an estimated 450,000 children out of school. Schools that had been reconstructed after the earthquake were damaged by the hurricane winds six years later.

Addressing the multihazard conditions to which some schools are exposed is ultimately about improving planning, design, and construction practices and implementing mitigation and vulnerability reduction measures. Specific hazard and risk assessments have to be conducted separately (in step 5) and intervention measures tailored to meet specific performance improvements (step 6). A phased approach is usually the best way to proceed.

 

Activity 1.4.2. Identify the building types exposed to natural hazards

Based on input from the previous activity, exposure maps are to be created by overlaying the location of building types and hazard maps in a GIS. As the hazard maps and locations of building types have been defined in previous activities, the main task now is to identify the building types located within the boundaries of each hazard category. In a GIS, this consists of a simple overlay analysis. Some technical considerations, however, need to be taken into account.

Guidance:

Do not generate or work with multihazard maps. The overlay analysis should be hazard-specific. Multihazard maps are limited in use because they combine and aggregate a variety of information that cannot be used to guide or inform any processes. Since, for RSRS activities, the aim is to conduct analytical work that guides risk reduction intervention strategies, all maps must be hazard-specific. 

Clarify hazard categories on the map. Hazard maps generally use a color code (red-yellow-green) to represent different hazard categories. Unfortunately, this code does not include physical hazard parameters (like intensity or frequency) associated with each category. Task teams should address this issue with the support of local experts.

Ensure consistency in the level of resolution between hazard map(s) and school building type location(s). The resolution of hazard maps is conditioned by the characteristics of the natural phenomenon. Phenomena that affect large areas, like earthquakes, hurricanes, and some products of volcanic eruptions, can be represented on low-scale (for example, national) maps, while phenomena that affect areas more limited in extent, like landslides, tsunamis, or minor flooding, can be represented on high-scale (such as basin) maps. The overlay analysis resolution should be adjusted accordingly.   

Understand the local concepts and terminology. The concepts of risk, hazard, vulnerability, mitigation, and resilience are often misinterpreted. It is common to see the terms “hazard” and “risk” used interchangeably or historical damage maps considered hazard maps, which is not correct and can lead to damaging consequences if used to inform interventions. The team should work at this stage with hazard maps, not risk maps. 

In post-disaster conditions, this activity looks at the exposure of building types to hazards other than the one that caused the disaster. Task teams should inquire about other hazards to which the school facilities are exposed—for example, following earthquake events, the team should ascertain exposure to landslides, floods, or hurricanes so measures to reduce these vulnerabilities can be integrated into the reconstruction intervention, in addition to measures to reduce vulnerability to earthquakes.

 

Module 1.5. Management of school infrastructure data

The activities in this module will help to define how the information generated for the formulation of the plan will be integrated into the existing information system.

 

Activity 1.5.1. Integrate the baseline into an existing or new MIS

This activity aims to define how the baseline can be integrated into an existing or new management information system (MIS). An extensive amount of information will be collected throughout the RSRS implementation. The baseline defines the structure of the plan’s database. Task teams are asked to figure out how this new baseline can be integrated into the existing MIS.    

Guidance:

Ideally, the baseline should be integrated into the country’s education management information system. Unfortunately, in developing countries, the education management information systems usually lack an infrastructure component. While an EMIS may include basic information about school facilities (name, location, number of students, number of shifts, and so on), it cannot be considered an infrastructure inventory. In other cases, an inventory of school facilities is available but is not integrated into the EMIS.

This makes this activity challenging for task teams, who have the following options: 

  • To manage the RSRS information in an external database as a temporary solution until integration into the EMIS is feasible. In this option, task teams should work closely with EMIS administrators to agree on the tasks and time frame for the integration. 
  • In the absence of a proper EMIS, the implementation of the roadmap provides an opportunity to promote the development of an information system and to organize and maintain up-to-date information about school infrastructure. A recommendation to do so can be included as an action item in the school infrastructure plan (see step 8 for further guidance)2.  

 

Output 

The completion of activities under each module will result in one or more output(s). For post-disaster conditions, the arrows in the chart below highlight the additional information that should be included in the output. 

Module Output(s)
1.1. Inventory of existing school facilities
  • Database and report: Available information about school facilities

  Include results of rapid visual assessments conducted in the disaster-affected area (after disaster)

  • Mapping of agencies involved in school infrastructure data management
1.2 School facility baseline
  • Database and report: Georeferenced attributes of school facilities that are required for the vulnerability and risk assessments

~ Include georeferenced attributes of the condition and capacity of school facilities after disaster to inform the recovery and reconstruction plan

  • Catalog: Building types and index buildings
  • Training materials
1.3 School infrastructure network integration
  • Database and report: Georeferenced attributes of the school infrastructure territorial integration
1.4 Exposure of existing school facilities to natural hazards
  • Maps and report: Overlapping layers of hazard maps and school facilities
  • Maps and report: Overlapping layers of hazard maps and school facilities in the disaster-affected area
1.5 Management of school infrastructure data
  • Baseline accessible in a management information system

 

1The Pareto principle (also known as the 80/20 rule, the law of the vital few, or the principle of factor sparsity) states that, for many events, roughly 80 percent of the effects come from 20 percent of the causes.

2 The actual design and implementation of an EMIS is beyond the scope of the roadmap.

 

Post-disaster Condition

At the end of this step, the team should be able to do the following:­

a) Consolidate the damage assessment data relative to affected school buildings and facilities
b) Establish the baseline of school facilities to be included in the recovery and reconstruction plan in the affected area
c) Identify the main characteristics, condition and capacity of existing school facilities                                                 d) Identify opportunities to manage school infrastructure information within the sectors Management Information System (MIS) 

 

Module Activity Output
1.1 Inventory of existing school facilities 1.1.1. Compile and organize available information about school facilities 1.1.1. Compile and organize available information about school facilities in the disaster affected area
1.2 School facility baseline 1.2.1. Define the structure of the baseline and create a field inspection plan 1.2.1. Define the structure of the baseline and create a field inspection plan for the damage assessment.
1.2.2. Carry out a field inspection campaign  1.2.2. Perform damage assessment of school facilities in the disaster-affected area
1.2.3. Identify building types and index buildings 1.2.3. Identify building types and index buildings
1.2.4. Establish the baseline of school facilities to be analyzed 1.2.4. Establish the baseline of school facilities to be included in the recovery and reconstruction plan
1.3 School infrastructure network integration  1.3.1. Compile and organize available geospatial information about the urban/rural context in which school infrastructure operates 1.3.1. Compile and organize available geospatial information about the urban/rural context of the disaster-affected area
1.4 Exposure of existing school facilities to natural hazards 1.4.1. Identify the natural hazards to which school infrastructure is exposed 1.4.1. Identify the natural hazards to which school infrastructure is exposed
1.4.2. Identify the building types exposed to natural hazards 1.4.2. Identify the building types exposed to natural hazards
1.5 Management of school infrastructure data 1.5.1. Integrate the baseline into an existing or new MIS 1.5.1. Integrate the baseline into an existing or new MIS

Local partners and technical expertise

The table below presents a list of suggested local partners and technical expertise required to contribute to or lead the activities of this step.

Key agencies

  • Ministry of Education and any other agency involved in school management
  • Local governments (in decentralized political systems)
  • School principals (for schools included in the inspection campaign)

 Contributing agencies

  • Geological Service agency or similar (hazard maps provider)
  • Statistical agency (if playing a role in the infrastructure inventory)

Technical Expertise

  • Senior structural engineer (usually external advisor)
  • Senior hazard specialist such as an engineer or geologist from Geological Service agency
  • Ministry of Education: engineers and architects in charge of school infrastructure
  • GIS specialist
  • Information management specialist in charge of EMIS (if available)
  • Engineering firm(s) to conduct field inspection campaign (for large portfolios)

 

Module 1.1. Inventory of existing school facilities

Activities under this module will gather existing information on school facilities and evaluate its usefulness for implementation of the roadmap. 

 

Activity 1.1.1. Compile and organize available information about school facilities

The focus of this first activity is on understanding the availability, quality, and reliability of the existing school infrastructure inventory. A database is to be created from available information that includes basic identification, location, and education-level (preschool, primary, secondary, and so on) data about school facilities. Such information will usually be found in the sector’s education management information system (EMIS). This database will provide a framework for organizing the existing information and adding more to it—for example, the school facilities can be classified by location using georeferenced data. This review of the infrastructure inventory will also help with identifying existing mechanisms for collecting and updating data and any information technology (IT) systems and software available to manage them. 

Guidance:

Capacity, occupancy, and condition attributes should be integrated into the database. When an existing inventory is available, the task will be to identify and understand the definition and coverage of the school infrastructure’s attributes and the reliability of this information. If these data are not available or not feasible to collect, the team should compile related information from other reliable sources and populate the database using a predefined template. This can be facilitated by, for example, identifying relevant agencies at the national and subnational levels that are involved, directly or indirectly, in school infrastructure management. Normally, information is shared among these agencies. With the help of senior architects and engineers, documentation can also be collected on the evolution of school building designs over time.

Keep in mind the purpose of this activity is not to conduct an inventory, but to gain a better understanding of the status of the school infrastructure inventory (if available). This activity focuses on identifying gaps, summarizing results, and identifying key sources of information to support the implementation of activities. Hence, it’s important to make sure the data are consistent, complete, and reliable. If a school inventory is not available, this activity will concentrate on collecting all existing information from a wide range of sources.

After the emergency phase, a rapid visual assessment (RVA) is conducted by government agencies to guide initial recovery actions. Results from the rapid visual assessment of affected schools should be organized and cross-checked with existing information. The RVA is generally conducted in such a way that data quality issues and inconsistencies are quite common. Indeed, in most cases no standard template or methodology is used for the inspections. Evaluators have heterogeneous profiles, and teams must operate under very difficult time and resource constraints in a complex environment. Task teams should evaluate the reliability of the RVA information as input for the baseline.

 

Module 1.2. School facility baseline

Activities in this module will allow task teams to define the baseline of the stock of school facilities that will be included in the plan. Subsequent modules and activities will rely on the quality of the baseline.

 

Activity 1.2.1. Define the structure of the baseline and create a field inspection plan

This activity concentrates on filling information gaps and completing the school facility baseline for planning purposes. It consists of selecting from the school inventory (if available) the facility and building attributes that will be required in the analysis and planning phases. Usually, the team will need to collect information that is missing or outdated. This can be done by carrying out field inspections of a group of representative building types and looking for additional information, such as the buildings’ structural or architectural drawings. Since field campaigns are resource and time consuming, a realistic and efficient plan that defines the scope and objective of the campaign and identifies the human, technical, and financial resources needed to carry it out is essential. 

Guidance:

The attributes included in the school infrastructure baseline are important for the analysis and planning phases. As tradeoffs always exist among input data, analysis resolution (see activity 1.2.4, below), and expected results, designated core team members and technical experts who have a key role in this activity should participate in guiding the discussions to guarantee consistency in the approach and methodology used. Ultimately, analysis resolution is strongly determined by the quality, reliability, and coverage of the baseline information.

The baseline for reconstruction planning following a disaster is a function of both the impact to the school network and the government’s timeline to restore service. A common mistake is to use the RVA as the sole basis for reconstruction planning. Post-disaster conditions require a more detailed damage and vulnerability assessment of school facilities in the affected areas. The damage assessment for reconstruction purposes should be planned carefully and, in large-scale disasters, can take up to one year to complete. The task teams’ main challenge is to deliver results in line with the government’s needs and expected time frame to inform the reconstruction planning process. Based on our experience, the better the quality of the inventory before the disaster, the faster it may be possible to conduct the damage assessment after it.

The quality of the baseline of affected school infrastructure is critical for the definition and optimization of reconstruction interventions. The focus of this activity is to ensure consistency among the damage assessment, baseline, analytical process, and expected results. In large-scale disasters, the team will usually start with very rough baseline information that will be finetuned over time as new data become available. To that end, task teams should set up a framework to integrate new information systematically into the baseline. Furthermore, given that information is usually scattered in post-disaster conditions, task teams should map the key sources to be used during this process.

 

Activity 1.2.2. Carry out the field inspection campaign

This activity involves inspecting a group of representative school facilities as part of the planning process. The inspection of a large group of school facilities is a resource-heavy task, so data collection templates, IT tools, inspection teams, logistics, quality assurance, and coordination among institutions and local governments must be carefully planned and organized. If a school inventory is available, the initial field inspection process will consist of selecting the facility and building attributes required to establish the baseline (see activity 1.2.1, above). The information collected through the field inspection will be used to verify or update the existing data. The time frame for the field inspection campaign is usually determined by the number and location of schools to be inspected, the human and financial resources that are needed and available, and the time needed to deliver the intervention and investment plans. Carrying out the inspections can take from a few months to up to two years. 

Guidance:

A successful field campaign relies on the collection of pertinent data, the deployment of trained task teams, and having in place an information management strategy and quality assurance process. The data collection templates used should build on existing information as much as possible. “Pertinent data” means the data called for by the analysis methods and planning activities. An initial effort to identify and focus the task teams’ survey on them will save on resources and improve efficiency significantly. Also essential is to ensure the teams have a common understanding of the inspection plan and methodology, basic engineering concepts, standard terminology, data collection templates, and IT tools to be used. They should also be familiar with the local context, in particular its construction practices, language, and cultural norms.

To gather data in a systematic and structured manner and ensure smooth information flow, the task teams should follow and use agreed-on protocols and IT tools throughout the entire field campaign. While the use of technological innovations, such as mobile apps and smart tablets, has facilitated the information management process, the volume of data to be collected and the lack of Internet access in some rural areas may be a challenge for large campaigns. The GPSS is developing an app that addresses these issues. A key recommendation is to establish a “live help desk” to support task teams during the entire field campaign.

For the quality assurance process, a dedicated team should be assigned to monitor and review the results from the field and conduct validation tests on selected school facilities. This will help identify any issues with the data early on and ensure they are addressed. Furthermore, it will put the team in charge of quality assurance in a much better position to evaluate the overall reliability of the campaign results.

On-the-job training strengthens the capacity of local engineers and school infrastructure managers to carry out the inspections. Providing training to the task teams during the inspection campaign facilitates the discussion of key concepts, the sharing of international experience, and the fostering of a common understanding of disaster risk management. Moreover, the learning experience provides an opportunity to engage with young professionals and create incentives to boost their participation and interest in this field.

The field campaign to assess damage to school facilities from large-scale disasters might unfold in several phases and require special provisions. As mentioned earlier, one challenge posed by reconstruction planning is the need to make informed decisions under severe time constraints. This is why damage assessment in large-scale disasters should be approached progressively rather than as a single-phase activity. The number of schools to be inspected, their accessibility (typically in rural areas), the spatial distribution of damage, the number of affected communities, and even political conditions are factors to be considered when planning a field inspection campaign. Compliance with legal provisions (for example, the formal certification of surveyors, as in Mexico), the role of local governments, and the participation of nongovernmental organizations must also be taken into account.

During the recovery phase, it is necessary to coordinate activities with local authorities and communicate about activities with affected communities. Local authorities play a central role throughout the recovery and reconstruction process, usually providing permits, liaising with school principals, and engaging with communities. It is important to secure their ownership of and participation in this activity.

Communities should also be notified before the field inspection campaign takes place and details shared with them about the objective, scope, expected results, time frame, and participants involved in the activity. The effort to keep them informed also provides an opportunity to manage their expectations about future interventions and next steps.

During the field inspection campaign, task teams should take advantage of local logistical efforts already underway during the recovery phase to gain access to remote schools, arrange trips, enhance security and safety measures, and so on.

 

Activity 1.2.3. Identify building types and index buildings

This activity helps define school building types and index buildings, based on the analysis of existing information and results of the field inspection campaign. A team of structural engineers will go through the data on structural characteristics of school buildings and classify each of them. For the classification of school buildings, a taxonomy was developed under the Global Library of School Infrastructure (GLOSI).

The activity will be conducted in two stages. In the first, building types will be identified according to three main parameters. In the second, each category of building types will be analyzed in terms of nine additional parameters to identify different representative buildings. These are called index buildings and can be understood as subcategories of a given building type that are representative (statistically) of the school buildings stock under analysis.

 

Table 1. GLOSI taxonomy parameters

Taxonomy Parameters
Primary 1 Main Structural System
2 Height Range
3 Seismic Design Level
Secondary 4 Diaphragm Type
5 Structural Irregularity
6 Wall Panel Length
7 Wall Opening
8 Foundation Type
9 Seismic Pounding Risk
10 Effective Seismic Retrofitting
11 Structural Heath Condition
12 Non-Structural Components
Building Type:
GLOSI Taxonomy String:

 

Guidance:

This activity requires the participation and leadership of senior local engineers. Despite the use of a standard classification, building types can only be classified by senior engineers with extensive experience in local design and construction practices. In this type of activity, task teams made up of junior engineers and led by senior ones operate very efficiently. The participation of international experts may also be needed when task teams do not have experience in this area or local capacity is limited. As the outcome of this activity will have an impact on the RSRS steps that follow, the selection of a strong core team, advisors, and international partners (if needed) is vital to success. 

Further activities and steps will be based on the analysis of the performance of the selected index buildings. Note that, through this approach, the effort will be focused on understanding the current performance of the index buildings and identifying the intervention needs; then, results can be extrapolated across the whole stock of school buildings. This approach has proved efficient in analyzing large stocks of school buildings and planning interventions. Moreover, it is common to find that vulnerability and risk are concentrated in a small number of index buildings. The 80/20 rule1 is a practical reference to identify index buildings—that is, those with the highest frequency within the stock, the lowest values in the GLOSI parameters, and records of poor performance in historical hazard events (if that information is available).

Task teams will find in GLOSI a comprehensive set of information about index buildings in different countries.  GLOSI is composed of five sections: taxonomy, catalog of index buildings, vulnerability, risk reduction solutions, and country databases. In these sections, users will find technical documents, tools (for example, applications for data collection), and a catalog of index buildings with specific information about failure modes, vulnerability functions, and documented retrofitting projects. This provides local structural engineers with plenty of information to facilitate their tasks.

GLOSI also applies to the classification of school buildings affected by disaster events. In fact, damage assessment results provide additional evidence about typical ways in which buildings fail and the overall performance of building types and index buildings. In addition to building characteristics, the classification will identify failure modes under each group of building types, their frequency, and the spatial distribution of damage within the disaster area. Different damage levels within the same index building will also indicate how the hazard differs in intensity by location. 

 

Activity 1.2.4. Establish the baseline of school facilities to be analyzed

Establishing the baseline requires setting up a database with the attributes of the school facilities that will be analyzed. In it must be defined and organized basic information about the school facilities and index buildings, as defined previously. The data (attributes) in the baseline relate to the location, capacity, and functional condition of each facility and the index building information.

Guidance:

The reliability of the baseline is crucial, as it serves as the basis for the planning process and informs decision making. Although this task may seem straightforward, the challenge will be to ensure the available information is complete, reliable, and consistent. Task teams should then decide upon the final content of the database to meet the requirements for information in subsequent steps of the RSRS.

The scope of the plan and resolution of the analytical work drives the baseline requirements. The higher the resolution, the more detailed the baseline requirements. At this stage, task teams might need to present the final version of the baseline to the specialists involved in further activities so they can adjust the methodology and resolution of the analytical work to the actual available baseline.

For large school infrastructure portfolios, proxies normally are used to fill information gaps in the baseline. Problems should not arise as long as the proxies, any assumptions made, and their effect on the final results are clearly described, communicated to, and agreed on with the key stakeholders and decision makers involved.

In post-disaster conditions, the baseline might have to be updated several times as new and complementary information becomes available. When a damage assessment is carried out in phases, results from each phase will inevitably lead to modifications of the baseline. Changes can also originate from interventions undertaken in school facilities by local stakeholders, communities, or nongovernmental organizations. Task teams should plan the analytical work progressively, running the analysis as many times as needed. Proper documentation of changes in the baseline is essential to ensure the consistency and replicability of results. 

 

Module 1.3. School infrastructure network integration

The activity in this module provides an understanding of how the network of schools is integrated into the territory (urban versus rural) and other infrastructure. Aspects such as accessibility and land adequacy, among others, are analyzed.

 

Activity 1.3.1. Compile and organize available geospatial information about the urban or rural context in which school infrastructure operates                                              

Task teams must gain an understanding of the school infrastructure network within the context of the territorial (urban or rural) environment by analyzing the way in which school infrastructure, like other social infrastructure, is integrated into the territory and communities it serves. This integration can be analyzed by investigating the adequacy of school facility locations in relation to land use regulations, school accessibility in terms of the road network, proximity to other key public infrastructure, such as emergency health facilities, and the classroom supply-to-demand ratio. This analysis requires access to georeferenced information on, for example, transportation, health, sports, and emergency, utility, and communication infrastructure, as well as demographic data, land use maps, and so on. 

Guidance:

This activity is key, as the information and output(s) generated throughout the RSRS should have a geographical representation. Throughout the RSRS activities, geospatial information is either collected or produced at different levels: school facility, municipality, region, and country. Task teams should plan to have resources—such as a geographic information system (GIS) specialist and software—to manage geospatial information throughout the implementation of the RSRS steps.   

As this activity is especially relevant for the recovery and reconstruction process following a disaster, recovery and reconstruction planning should be based on both the condition of affected school facilities and the territorial and demographic characteristics of the disaster area. The intervention strategy will be strongly correlated to accessibility conditions. In the early emergency phase, for instance, getting access to the schools is a challenge for response teams. In addition, large disasters usually have a negative impact on households’ assets and income and can result in forced displacement and migration. Therefore, the reconstruction of school infrastructure should go hand in hand with the recovery of other social services and the restoration of livelihoods and economic activity.

In the context of this activity, task teams should not only identify sources of information but also establish communication channels with relevant parties involved in recovery and reconstruction.  

 

Module 1.4. Exposure of existing school facilities to natural hazards

Activities under this module will identify the natural hazards to which school facilities are exposed. The activities rely on the existing hazard information and relate to one or more hazards.

 

Activity 1.4.1. Identify the natural hazards to which school infrastructure is exposed 

This activity aims to ascertain the exposure of school infrastructure to hazards in hazard-prone areas. Task teams are to gather all information relevant to natural hazards (maps, studies, databases, and so on), as well as on the historical impact of hazard events on the education sector and on land use regulation in disaster-prone areas. 

Guidance:

This activity should not focus on generating new hazard maps, since this is a huge endeavor. Based on our experience, in the case of most developing countries, this information may not exist or is incomplete and lacks the required resolution. Collecting, reviewing, and organizing this information will be important for step 5. Open access to specialized websites may help complement local information or provide general insight into natural hazards in a given country.

It’s important to understand local hazard events. In general, earthquakes, cyclones, hurricanes, tsunamis, and large floods are likely to have catastrophic, large-scale effects on the education sector. Local hazard events, such as landslides, small floods, snow avalanches, or liquefaction, might also have fatal impact, although concentrated in small areas. In terms of the analysis, the difference is that the larger events will be addressed at scale and the local ones on a case by case basis. Thus, the school infrastructure plan should encompass schools exposed to local hazard events as well as large-scale ones.

Task teams must rely on the knowledge of local experts. Work in many topic areas requires expert advice—for example, regarding the resolution of hazard maps, the reliability and interpretation of hazard categories, hazard assessment methodologies, and so on. Senior specialists with extensive experience in natural hazards and knowledge of the local context can be found in government agencies, universities, or private firms. Even in the cases where hazard maps do not exist, local experts will be in a position to provide valuable input and guidance. 

Resilience sometimes means addressing more than one hazard. The reconstruction process provides an opportunity to reduce the vulnerability factors that led to the disaster, as well as vulnerability to other natural hazards to which school infrastructure could be exposed. Events in Haiti provide a good example. In 2010, when a magnitude Mw 7.0 earthquake struck the country, over 200,000 lives were lost, and about half of the nation’s 15,000 primary and 1,500 secondary schools were affected. Then, in 2016, Hurricane Matthew (Category 4) struck southwestern Haiti, affecting close to 2 million people in one of the country’s poorest regions and leaving an estimated 450,000 children out of school. Schools that had been reconstructed after the earthquake were damaged by the hurricane winds six years later.

Addressing the multihazard conditions to which some schools are exposed is ultimately about improving planning, design, and construction practices and implementing mitigation and vulnerability reduction measures. Specific hazard and risk assessments have to be conducted separately (in step 5) and intervention measures tailored to meet specific performance improvements (step 6). A phased approach is usually the best way to proceed.

 

Activity 1.4.2. Identify the building types exposed to natural hazards

Based on input from the previous activity, exposure maps are to be created by overlaying the location of building types and hazard maps in a GIS. As the hazard maps and locations of building types have been defined in previous activities, the main task now is to identify the building types located within the boundaries of each hazard category. In a GIS, this consists of a simple overlay analysis. Some technical considerations, however, need to be taken into account.

Guidance:

Do not generate or work with multihazard maps. The overlay analysis should be hazard-specific. Multihazard maps are limited in use because they combine and aggregate a variety of information that cannot be used to guide or inform any processes. Since, for RSRS activities, the aim is to conduct analytical work that guides risk reduction intervention strategies, all maps must be hazard-specific. 

Clarify hazard categories on the map. Hazard maps generally use a color code (red-yellow-green) to represent different hazard categories. Unfortunately, this code does not include physical hazard parameters (like intensity or frequency) associated with each category. Task teams should address this issue with the support of local experts.

Ensure consistency in the level of resolution between hazard map(s) and school building type location(s). The resolution of hazard maps is conditioned by the characteristics of the natural phenomenon. Phenomena that affect large areas, like earthquakes, hurricanes, and some products of volcanic eruptions, can be represented on low-scale (for example, national) maps, while phenomena that affect areas more limited in extent, like landslides, tsunamis, or minor flooding, can be represented on high-scale (such as basin) maps. The overlay analysis resolution should be adjusted accordingly.   

Understand the local concepts and terminology. The concepts of risk, hazard, vulnerability, mitigation, and resilience are often misinterpreted. It is common to see the terms “hazard” and “risk” used interchangeably or historical damage maps considered hazard maps, which is not correct and can lead to damaging consequences if used to inform interventions. The team should work at this stage with hazard maps, not risk maps. 

In post-disaster conditions, this activity looks at the exposure of building types to hazards other than the one that caused the disaster. Task teams should inquire about other hazards to which the school facilities are exposed—for example, following earthquake events, the team should ascertain exposure to landslides, floods, or hurricanes so measures to reduce these vulnerabilities can be integrated into the reconstruction intervention, in addition to measures to reduce vulnerability to earthquakes.

 

Module 1.5. Management of school infrastructure data

The activities in this module will help to define how the information generated for the formulation of the plan will be integrated into the existing information system.

 

Activity 1.5.1. Integrate the baseline into an existing or new MIS

This activity aims to define how the baseline can be integrated into an existing or new management information system (MIS). An extensive amount of information will be collected throughout the RSRS implementation. The baseline defines the structure of the plan’s database. Task teams are asked to figure out how this new baseline can be integrated into the existing MIS.    

Guidance:

Ideally, the baseline should be integrated into the country’s education management information system. Unfortunately, in developing countries, the education management information systems usually lack an infrastructure component. While an EMIS may include basic information about school facilities (name, location, number of students, number of shifts, and so on), it cannot be considered an infrastructure inventory. In other cases, an inventory of school facilities is available but is not integrated into the EMIS.

This makes this activity challenging for task teams, who have the following options: 

  • To manage the RSRS information in an external database as a temporary solution until integration into the EMIS is feasible. In this option, task teams should work closely with EMIS administrators to agree on the tasks and time frame for the integration. 
  • In the absence of a proper EMIS, the implementation of the roadmap provides an opportunity to promote the development of an information system and to organize and maintain up-to-date information about school infrastructure. A recommendation to do so can be included as an action item in the school infrastructure plan (see step 8 for further guidance)2.  

 

Output 

The completion of activities under each module will result in one or more output(s). For post-disaster conditions, the arrows in the chart below highlight the additional information that should be included in the output. 

Module Output(s)
1.1. Inventory of existing school facilities
  • Database and report: Available information about school facilities

==>  Include results of rapid visual assessments conducted in the disaster-affected area (after disaster)

  • Mapping of agencies involved in school infrastructure data management
1.2 School facility baseline
  • Database and report: Georeferenced attributes of school facilities that are required for the vulnerability and risk assessments

==> Include georeferenced attributes of the condition and capacity of school facilities after disaster to inform the recovery and reconstruction plan

  • Catalog: Building types and index buildings
  • Training materials
1.3 School infrastructure network integration
  • Database and report: Georeferenced attributes of the school infrastructure territorial integration
1.4 Exposure of existing school facilities to natural hazards
  • Maps and report: Overlapping layers of hazard maps and school facilities
  • Maps and report: Overlapping layers of hazard maps and school facilities in the disaster-affected area
1.5 Management of school infrastructure data
  • Baseline accessible in a management information system

 

1The Pareto principle (also known as the 80/20 rule, the law of the vital few, or the principle of factor sparsity) states that, for many events, roughly 80 percent of the effects come from 20 percent of the causes.

2 The actual design and implementation of an EMIS is beyond the scope of the roadmap.