The RSRS addresses a wide range of topics and activities. To guide the user on the application of the RSRS, this section presents its approach, scope, and structure.
Phases of the RSRS
The RSRS follows a sequence of three phases, starting with diagnosis, followed by analysis and planning at scale. The diagnosis phase aims to gather information and establish a structured database with quantitative data related to condition and capacity and to gain an understanding of school infrastructure policies. In the analysis phase, the construction and financial environments are analyzed, and risk is quantified. The planning phase integrates the results of the first two phases to determine what to do (intervention strategy), how much investment is needed (investment plan), and how solutions will be implemented (implementation strategy). The scope of these phases is described below.
Getting ready for implementation
The implementation process begins by prompting action at the highest political level. The minister of education, the minister of finance, and the mayor (in a municipality) are the chief decision makers and have a key role in advancing the safer schools agenda. The goal is to draw their attention to the importance of prioritizing school infrastructure and making schools safer and resilient at scale. Unfortunately, most of the safer schools programs around the world were triggered in the wake of natural disasters and the catastrophic loss of schoolchildren’s lives; these included Mexico in 1985, Turkey in 1999, and China in 2008, among others. Even though the safety of schoolchildren should be a priority for both communities and politicians, a perception that school interventions are expensive and complex to implement has led to inaction. The RSRS aims to promote change and promote action, along the lines of the recommendations outlined below.
Implementing the school infrastructure plan
Preparing, adopting, and communicating the school infrastructure plan. At this point, the formulation of the plan has been finalized. In this section, several activities are proposed to adopt and communicate the plan, as well as to facilitate engagement with key players.
Key considerations behind the RSRS
The roadmap is based on the experience of World Bank task teams working on the safer schools agenda in developing countries around the world. The need for a shared understanding about the problem, a common language, and the definition of key concepts led to the preparation of this guidance note. More important, having a methodological framework in place will help foster efficient stakeholder interaction. The following are the considerations underlying the design of the RSRS.
Nothing happens without the will of the government. The decision to invest and intervene in school infrastructure at scale presents both technical and political challenges. The RSRS focuses on addressing the former, while indirectly contributing to addressing the latter. Through this process, all agencies involved will gain a common understanding of the intervention needs and potential solutions, and an informed dialogue among decision makers is ensured. Leading this process should be the government’s entity in charge of managing school infrastructure, supported by relevant agencies. By no means can it be implemented by or transferred to a third party, such as a consultancy or nongovernmental organization.
School infrastructure safety is not a black and white issue. Perhaps the only common global understanding about safer schools is that no children should die or be harmed in the event of a natural disaster as the result of a failure of school infrastructure. This aspiration varies among countries in the realm of public policy, however. On one hand, there is no such thing as “zero risk,” and elements (that is, buildings, their contents, and people) exposed to natural hazards can never be absolutely safe in any given place or time. Disaster risk management is, therefore, focused on reducing the probability of adverse consequences, which means societies will always have to deal with some level of risk. On the other hand, risk encompasses not only physical consequences but also indirect impacts from the cumulative effect of alterations to the children’s physical, environmental, social, and emotional well-being. The concept of physical safety is nuanced, and the level of “acceptable risk” (that is, the socially accepted level of risk remaining once measures have been taken to reduce it) tends to vary across countries and communities.
Safety is just one of the conditions a good learning environment should meet. Provision of safer schools should not be a matter of standalone policy for two main reasons. First, safety is required but not sufficient to ensure a good learning environment. Second, the implementation of safety as a standalone policy is wrongly perceived by beneficiary communities. Under the term “functional condition,” the RSRS gathers along with safety all other aspects of school infrastructure, such as energy efficiency, water and sanitation, air quality or climate control, and so on. The implementation of the RSRS should either be integrated into a broader school infrastructure program, or it should address the improvement of functional conditions where a broader program does not exist.
Reducing the vulnerability of a large stock of school facilities is a medium- to long-term effort. Improving the performance of thousands of school buildings is, in itself, an enormous task in terms of resources, planning, and implementation. Competing needs, like functional improvements or new classrooms, can make the challenge for governments even more difficult, and in the many years it may take to complete these interventions, some schoolchildren will remain at risk. Maximizing the safety benefits and cost efficiency of the investments must, therefore, be a priority of a safer schools program. Through a risk-informed prioritization process, the RSRS makes it possible to target efforts and benefit children in the highest risk areas.
Reducing the vulnerability of school facilities is not only about physical interventions. Policy reforms and the engagement of school communities are indispensable. Policy reforms are needed to strengthen the institutional environment, the regulatory framework, and school infrastructure management. Hence, once the capacity and condition of existing infrastructure have been fully diagnosed, gaps need to be identified in such areas as planning and design regulation, institutional roles at different government levels, and information management, among others.
In low-income countries especially, communities have an important role to play in the construction and maintenance of school infrastructure. Their participation in and ownership of the intervention strategy is central to success. While discouraging their direct involvement in the actual design and construction activities, the RSRS provides recommendations for communicating and engaging with school communities.
This section describes the main aspects of the approach, methodology, and context of application for which the roadmap was prepared.
The RSRS provides a methodological framework that can be adapted to a local context and tailored to the specific needs and capacity of the government. The RSRS is not intended to be prescriptive; it is a guide through a process. Its eight steps follow a logical sequence, from diagnosis to analysis to planning at scale, with each step addressing the different factors contributing to disaster risk. The roadmap can be implemented in its entirety, or in phases when resources, capacity, or available information are limited. Two recommendations are key: do not skip a step, or you might lose information crucial to the design of the intervention strategy; and focus on identifying scalable solutions and maximizing benefits for the most children.
Interventions at scale: A strategy of affordable, articulated and prioritized interventions to meet safety and functional targets progressively for a large number of existing school facilities
Interventions at scale: A strategy of affordable, articulated and prioritized interventions to meet safety and functional targets progressively for a large number of existing school facilities
Capacity and condition are the two main characteristics of school infrastructure. Capacity refers to the ability of a school infrastructure network to respond to the demand for classrooms in line with national regulation. Condition refers to the physical state of a school facility in terms of safety, which relates to the expected performance of school buildings in the face of hazard events, and functionality, which relates to the quality and functioning of a wide range of components. These include water and sanitation, energy, Internet, food service, recreational areas, accessibility to children with disabilities, and gender-oriented provisions, among others. The RSRS methodology deals with representative statistical conditions rather than individual building assessments. While a building by building assessment might be needed in particular cases (for instance, for small island states or cultural heritage schools), this approach is neither affordable nor efficient for planning interventions for large stocks of school facilities. The identification of school building types (typically associated with standard designs) and classification of school buildings using GLOSI taxonomy allow the stock of schools to be sorted into groups with similar characteristics and performance in the face of hazard events.
Design capacity: The number of students a school facility was designed to accommodate in classrooms in a single shift, in line with the regulatory provisions. Adequate capacity means the facility offers the appropriate number and sizes of classrooms, laboratories, bathrooms, equipment, and recreational areas.
Occupancy: The ratio between the number of students in a school facility per shift and the design capacity. A ratio value higher than 1 means the school facility is overused, while a value less than 1 means it is underused.
Although the RSRS was initially developed in and applied to earthquake-prone countries, it can be applied to countries facing other natural hazards, as well. Given the catastrophic impact of earthquakes in the education sector, seismic risk was prioritized under the Global Program for Safer Schools (GPSS). So far, the RSRS has been implemented in countries around the world to reduce the seismic vulnerability of school infrastructure. The RSRS methodology is not restrictive, however, and key concepts are valid for addressing other natural hazards. New GPSS projects initiated recently include hurricane wind and seismic risk. In the near future, through the Global Library of School Infrastructure (GLOSI), the GPSS will enhance available tools and resources to guide users in applying it to other natural hazards. The key here is the use of quantitative risk assessment. The capacity of school infrastructure is commonly expanded by running more than one shift of students attending each day. Nonetheless, a trend is growing in developing countries to move toward a single-shift policy as part of the governments’ efforts to raise the quality of the learning process. Although the RSRS emphasizes safety, the proposed methodology also takes into account the challenges related to the capacity and functionality of the school infrastructure.
The RSRS can be applied at the national or local level. The RSRS methodology focuses on large school portfolios and on addressing the issue of scale. As a result, the roadmap has primarily been implemented at national scale, covering thousands of school facilities and buildings. Recently, though, implementations at the municipal level have shown promising results. Although some adjustments are required at this scale, the methodology provides a plan which municipalities can use to identify and prioritize school infrastructure interventions and investments, since local governments are usually directly involved in managing them. As mentioned earlier, for very small stocks of facilities (for example, of less than a hundred school buildings), the RSRS approach is not applicable.
The RSRS is a living document that is continually improved, based on the experience and results of its application in developing countries.
Context of application
The RSRS has been designed to be implemented under two conditions: normal and post-disaster. In normal conditions, the planning process takes place within the regular operations of the education system. In post-disaster conditions, it takes place in an exceptional situation, in which the governments’ priority is to restore educational (along with other) services affected by a hazard event. Conceptually, the approach and steps of the planning process in both conditions are the same. In practice, the post-disaster condition poses additional challenges in terms of carrying out a damage assessment of the affected infrastructure, implementing measures for temporary service provision, working under time constraints to restore the services fully, and responding to an increased demand from school communities.
Progress in reducing vulnerability, in normal or post-disaster conditions, brings benefits. It has been demonstrated that, in the aftermath of a disaster, a window of opportunity exists to move risk reduction policies forward. The reconstruction of damaged schools offers the opportunity to reduce the vulnerability of both affected and unaffected school buildings. On the other hand, any progress made on risk reduction before disasters happen not only leads to lower impact but also facilitates the reconstruction planning process after they strike. Although the aim of a safer schools program is to intervene in schools before a hazard event, capacity is often limited in developing countries to carry out interventions at a large scale. Thus, school infrastructure managers should have mechanisms in place to increase their capacity to respond to needs associated with post-disaster recovery. Implementation of the RSRS produces as its outputs a comprehensive set of data and intermediate results that can ultimately help increase school infrastructure managers’ ability to respond.
In post-disaster conditions, the RSRS can inform the design of both the recovery and reconstruction plans. Recovery and reconstruction are interconnected phases, and, therefore, the planning process must integrate decisions regarding both. How the recovery phase is managed may either pave the way for a successful reconstruction process or generate an adverse environment with long delays. The RSRS provides tools to navigate this dynamic decision-making process. We know from experience that governments tend to face difficulties in managing the planning process while coping with the complexities of a post-disaster situation. The RSRS provides a roadmap to help them make informed decisions under the extreme conditions and social pressure that usually exist after a disaster.
Structure of each step
All steps in the Roadmap are organized into modules and activities. The purpose, objectives (under normal and post-disaster conditions), structure, local partners, and required technical expertise are presented at the beginning of each step. Activities are described as follows: guidance and outputs.
In addition, each step is linked to a toolkit offering related technical notes, terms of reference, country cases, videos, apps and templates (if applicable), as well as references.
The diagnosis phase covers two steps: School Infrastructure Baseline (step 1) and School Infrastructure Policy (step 2). Step 1 focuses on collecting data about the condition and capacity of existing school infrastructure and on establishing a structured database of school facilities with a selected group of attributes. Step 2 focuses on the institutional and policy framework for school infrastructure and on estimating the future demand for classrooms.
A high-quality baseline is the foundation for a high-quality planning process. As in other infrastructure sectors, a proper and updated inventory of the assets (school facilities, buildings, campus, and so on) is the primary source of the data required to create a baseline for the planning process. The completeness and reliability of the baseline will significantly affect the quality of the analytical work performed.
Inventory: The gathering of data about capacity, condition, and location of school facilities that is required to manage the school infrastructure network.
Baseline: The subset of inventory data that is required to conduct analysis (such as risk assessment or cost-benefit analysis) and serves as the basis for the formulation of the plan.
If no inventory is available or the data are incomplete or out of date, the opportunity should be taken to make progress in closing those gaps. Without an updated inventory, it is impossible to manage infrastructure, let alone build an investment plan. Furthermore, the inventory should be in a dynamic information system that allows data to be updated systematically and improved over time. A specific action plan that includes resource allocation for data collection activities will be required. For a large portfolio of school facilities, the action plan for the inventory can be broken down into two or more phases, the first of which can focus on collecting the basic information necessary to create the baseline.
The RSRS indicates the use of quantitative methods in all aspects of the process. Structural engineering models can be used to assess the vulnerability of school buildings, while a probabilistic or deterministic approach will be taken to evaluate risk. Cost-benefit analyses are based on quantitative indexes derived from vulnerability and risk assessments. Estimation of the future demand for classrooms and the accessibility assessment are other processes to which quantitative analysis can be applied. Also, sensitivity and scenario analyses can be conducted to define an intervention strategy and build an investment plan.
Education policy should be the primary driver of school infrastructure policy. The learning process takes place in physical spaces that should meet specific requirements in terms of location, comfort, accessibility, occupancy, and so on that are ultimately defined by education policies. As a country implements the one-shift policy, it faces the challenge of enhancing the capacity of the school network while responding appropriately to demographic changes. In that respect, estimating the future demand for classrooms in line with the investment plan’s time frame is a crucial aspect of the diagnosis phase. One of the biggest challenges for the school infrastructure policy will be to find a balance between the condition and capacity needs of the infrastructure and the demands of education policy and demographic evolution. This provides a unique opportunity to optimize investments in large school infrastructure networks.
The analysis phase centers on three steps: Construction Environment (step 3), Financial Environment (step 4), and Risk and Resilience Assessment (step 5). The objective is, first, to understand the context in which school infrastructure is planned, designed, built, operated, and maintained. Second, it is to evaluate the government’s current and future financial capacity to allocate resources to school infrastructure. Third, it is to quantify the damage and loss (together with their spatial distribution) likely to be caused by future natural hazard events. In post-disaster conditions, the focus of step 5 shifts from risk to resilience assessment to estimate the reconstruction time frame.
Analysis of the construction environment reveals vulnerability factors of poorly performing infrastructure. The focus of the analysis is to identify the contributing risk factors in the way school infrastructure is planned, designed, built, and operated. Weak planning and design, gaps in regulation, corrupt construction management, and even cultural practices commonly contribute to poor-quality construction and, therefore, poor building performance when hazard events occur. Understanding this is vital both to implementing interventions and to moving forward on policy reforms that are realistic, efficient, affordable, and sustainable. Our experience has shown that identifying the chain of causality in these factors has been instrumental in motivating decision makers to address these issues through policy reforms and medium-term plans.
The implementation of large-scale school infrastructure interventions presents financial challenges. Although the education sector tends to have the largest share of public funds within national budgets, spending on school infrastructure tends to be lower than other education expenditures. An understanding of the financing environment is important to identifying sources of funding, allocation mechanisms, types of expenditure, and opportunities for new financing mechanisms. Financial analysis is required to evaluate the efficiency of existing investments. Having in place a plan for school infrastructure will provide policymakers with a tool to guide public resources and investments toward articulated interventions—that is, interventions linked to form an intervention strategy—in line with the country’s education policy.
For public policy purposes, measuring risk is important to inform decisions and investments, particularly when dealing with large school infrastructure portfolios. We stress the use of quantitative methods to assess disaster risk. Quantitative metrics provide essential information about the magnitude of the problem (its potential impacts) and its spatial distribution. Analysis using these metrics can quantify the benefits from different intervention options in terms of safety and functionality and compare costs. Such analyses are also useful for prioritizing and monitoring the implementation of the plan.
Planning at scale
The planning at scale phase relates to three steps: Intervention Strategy (step 6), Investment Plan (step 7), and Implementation Strategy (step 8). These three steps integrate the results from steps 1 to 5 and should enable task teams to deliver a proposal for intervention, investment, and implementation of changes to school infrastructure, with the aim of maximizing benefits, increasing efficiency of investments, and facilitating interventions at scale. This proposal will serve as the formal planning instrument (called the plan, master plan, or program) by means of which the institutional, legal, and investment framework will be discussed and finally adopted. The plan will have a higher chance of success if this technical path is the basis for future political decisions, and if the results of this work are disseminated and communicated to key stakeholders.
In our experience, five drivers enable intervention at scale. These are risk-informed selection and prioritization of schools to have interventions; optimization of engineering solutions; maximization of benefits; cost-efficient investments; and the convening of IFIs and donors to leverage government efforts. The RSRS has been designed to facilitate each of them.
The intervention strategy and investment plan are linked, so the activities related to them need to be closely coordinated as they are formulated. The intervention strategy comprises intervention options with high benefit-cost ratios, while the investment plan indicates the allocation of available resources to enable the implementation of the intervention strategy. Rather than a straightforward process, their coordination is a tuning-up in which both sides are adjusted until the expected results are met. This process can be time consuming, involving the analysis of large datasets. Task teams should use robust data management software and tools to optimize processing time and minimize calculation errors to ensure consistency across intervention lines and cost estimates. In medium- and long-term infrastructure plans, the investment plan is likely to be adjusted over time, given changes in policies, budget allocations, and priorities. Thus, it is important that the investment plan’s structure, the cost estimates, data, and methodology used are transparent and replicable, that knowledge is transferred, and that information is made available to key stakeholders.
Prioritization, organization, capacity building, and communication are the main challenges when designing an implementation strategy. In our experience, the defining of implementation priorities is highly sensitive for decision makers, politicians, beneficiary communities, and other key stakeholders. Task teams can help by convening stakeholders and facilitating and guiding the discussion, using evidence-based arguments proceeding from steps 1 to 7. The implementation plan that emerges will likely pose challenges that require an additional effort on the part of the institutions and staff involved in managing the school infrastructure. Step 8 aims to identify detailed arrangements and capacity-building needs at different levels of government so as to put into place the technical, human, and financial resources necessary to start implementation of the plan. Finally, a critical factor for success is engagement and communication with beneficiary communities. No matter how technically strong the plan is, implementation will not be possible without ownership on the part of school communities and local stakeholders.
Making the case for decision makers
Lack of information and clarity on how to move forward is usually the first deterrent to implementing risk reduction programs for schools. The diagnosis and analysis phases laid out in this roadmap provide a framework and basic concepts that make it easier to identify and understand contributing risk factors and the need for interventions at scale for safer schools. The initial action is to conduct a preliminary diagnosis based on available information. The Global Program for Safer Schools, for instance, conducts a preliminary screening (a so-called rapid diagnostic) following the first four steps of the roadmap to get an overview of the main risk factors in school infrastructure and the overall capacity in a country for managing it. When the government agency in charge of school infrastructure leads the process and ensures the available information is provided to the designated task team, results are usually achieved within three months.
In our experience, evidence-based knowledge derived from quantitative analysis and the use of scientific methods provides a strong technical foundation for decision makers to advance policy reforms. Discussions of the need for disaster risk reduction investments tend to be based on stakeholders’ perceptions or their reluctance to consider changes to current practices. In such cases, evidence-based arguments have proved powerful in getting the attention of and facilitating an informed debate among those involved. These arguments provide a foundation for decision makers in charge of school infrastructure to neutralize an otherwise politically driven environment and ensure investments are informed by technical results.
Opportunities can come from existing investments in the education sector, even when the safer schools perspective has not already been incorporated. Usually, the education sector as a whole accounts for an important share of public budgets,receiving large investments annually. Although the smaller part is usually allocated to school infrastructure, the investment remains significant relative to the countries’ financial capacity. As economic losses associated with natural disasters jeopardize government efforts, the integration of risk reduction is crucial to ensuring the sustainability of these investments.
According to DataBank, education expenditure in 264 countries averaged 15 percent of total government expenditure in 2017. Minimum and maximum values ranged from 0.02 percent in Guyana to 30 percent in Costa Rica.
Once the decision has been made to address disaster risk in school facilities, several kickoff activities are required to begin implementation of the roadmap. A few key recommendations for these activities are presented below.
Define the specific objectives, output, and time frame for implementation of the RSRS. As stated earlier, the implementation of the RSRS should address specific needs to improve the safety and resilience of school infrastructure in line with education policies and targets. An initial meeting should be held with the government’s entity in charge of school infrastructure to identify and discuss these needs and priorities, based on which the objective, scope of activities, expected output, and estimated time frame for implementation of the RSRS can be determined. The time frame will depend on the expected output, as well as on the availability and quality of information to begin activities. The expected output may either be a school infrastructure plan (which requires full implementation of the RSRS) or intermediate results from one or more steps (which requires implementation in phases). A preliminary action plan should be prepared with a summary of all the points discussed at the meeting, which will serve as a basis for a detailed action plan and identify the human, technical, and financial resources required. In post-disaster conditions, this initial discussion should focus on understanding the recovery needs and priorities for school infrastructure in line with the recovery and reconstruction plan of the government and the education sector as a whole.
Define a core task team, contributors, and coordination mechanisms. Also key to successful implementation of the RSRS is to have in place a strong team with clear roles and responsibilities and to define the implementation arrangements and coordination mechanisms needed to ensure activities are implemented within the specified time frame. It will be necessary, first, to identify the core team and project coordinator who will lead implementation and oversee the entire process and, second, to determine what technical expertise (both within the government and among other local partners) will be required. IFIs can play a key role in support of the core team by facilitating knowledge sharing, access to the best global expertise, and the fostering of exchanges among developing countries.
Obtain endorsement from key decision makers of the action plan and their support for the resource requirements to begin implementation of the RSRS. A detailed action plan should include the following elements:
- Description of the expected output(s)
- Description of activities to be carried out in line with the expected output(s)
- Team composition (that is, core team members, technical experts, relevant government entities, and local partners) and coordination mechanisms
- Implementation arrangements
- Estimated time frame for implementation (particularly relevant in post-disaster conditions)
- Cost estimates for all activities
The last point is essential to determining if additional financial resources are required to carry out these activities. The core team should develop this action plan and ensure all activities during implementation are closely connected, as results will need to be integrated for the final output(s). The action plan should be presented to key high-level decision makers for endorsement and to secure their buy-in to the safer schools program.
Develop an information management strategy. Since a great deal of information will be gathered, shared, produced, and analyzed throughout the implementation of the RSRS, it is vital for the team to discuss and agree on a digital collaboration platform, such as OneDrive or Google Drive, that will be used during this process. The information should also be organized (preferably by step), and always kept up to date so all team members can have access to the latest information to carry out their respective activities.
Conduct a kickoff workshop. A kickoff workshop should be held to present, discuss, and agree on the overall objective, action plan, and next steps of the RSRS. Participants should include key stakeholders—that is, the core team, technical experts, relevant government agencies, and partners—who will play a role in the implementation. At the end of the workshop, all participants should have a common understanding of the overall scope of activities, their respective roles and responsibilities, and coordination mechanisms, and be in agreement on next steps to begin implementation.
To begin implementation, the plan must be formally adopted. The implementation of the RSRS and the formulation of the plan may leave task teams feeling overwhelmed by the volume of documents, databases, and information generated. The final step in this process is crucial, however, and it requires the team to work together to prepare the formal document (the plan) that will ultimately have to be adopted by key decision makers.
We recommend discussing, for example, the actual structure of the document, including the table of contents and key chapters, and defining how the supporting documents will be organized and presented. We also recommend a specific team be designated to write and integrate all outputs so as to deliver a cohesive document. Doing this will allow task teams to prepare the information, assign writing and reviewing roles, and identify the administrative and legal process and procedures to follow within an agreed timeline.
This task is particularly demanding in countries where governments and sectors are not accustomed to or do not use master plans. In such cases, task teams should anticipate needing additional time to prepare and adopt the plan.
Based on our experience, the formulation of the plan can start after the analysis phase of the RSRS has been completed. At this stage, task teams should have a good understanding of the main needs in terms of condition and capacity of the existing school infrastructure.
Since the plan will be formally approved, and in some cases become a legal document, the structure and content should be in line with the country’s regulatory framework for these types of documents. It can be divided into three parts: main document, annexes, and supporting documents.
The main document should present all the key information. Although a standard template is not available, we recommend the following approach to preparing it:
- Prepare an executive summary. It’s important to synthesize information for policymakers who often only have time to read this section.
- Follow a two-part structure: the first part presents the policy framework and diagnosis (summarizing results from steps 1 to 5), while the second describes the actual intervention proposals (summarizing results from steps 6 to 8). Each part can be divided into separate chapters, as needed.
- In part 1, clearly describe the policy drivers the plan has identified for school infrastructure improvement, report the diagnosis results (condition, capacity, and management), and discuss the findings. Part 2 can follow the same sequence as the RSRS: intervention strategy, investment plan, financing strategy, and implementation strategy.
- Keep the main document concise and as straightforward as possible. Include a summary box with key figures and messages at the beginning of each chapter for better readability.
Annexes are supplementary to the main document and will usually contain graphs, tables, figures, maps, and so on. The briefer the annexes, the better.
Finally, supporting documents will include the original versions of all the reports, databases, documents, and presentations produced over the course of the implementation.
Even though the implementation of the RSRS promotes the active participation of key stakeholders throughout, a final consultation may be important to secure approval of the plan. Consultation practices vary widely from one country to another. In the case of infrastructure planning at the national level, consultation emphasizes the institutional and political levels rather than the community level. Task teams should understand the context and prepare materials to communicate the plan accordingly, taking into account the target audiences. The following are among the key aspects to highlight:
- The gains for children’s learning environment are considerable.
- One must keep a long-term perspective.
- The plan is built on a robust technical foundation.
- The plan is aligned with the government’s policies.
- A clear link exists among diagnosis, strategy, and outcomes.
- The financial strategy is strong and the implementation strategy realistic.
Although the topic of safer schools enjoys wide political support globally, some stakeholders may be apprehensive that the plan’s recommended policy and investment reforms will go against their traditional approach. We encourage task teams to preempt this situation by means of evidence-based arguments and the presentation of benefits at scale.
The adoption of the plan is the materialization of political will to prioritize and modernize school infrastructure. As stated earlier, the decision to prioritize and make investments at scale in school infrastructure is both a technical and political process. Task teams should inform their management of and systematically discuss with them all findings and proposals generated during the implementation. This interaction allows the team to get feedback from decision makers while inducing them to take ownership of the plan.
The group of political stakeholders in this field goes far beyond the direct decision makers, such as the ministries of education or public works. Ministries of finance, energy, health, and social affairs, local governments, members of parliament, nongovernmental organizations dedicated to improving education, and religious institutions are also highly interested in such policy reforms and investments.
Not only must the plan be formally adopted by a legal instrument, but ancillary administrative actions generally need to be taken to make it conform to existing instruments or systems (such as public investment systems, land use instruments, and development plans). Therefore, task teams should share the details of this process with relevant agencies.
A communications campaign should be launched to announce the formal adoption of the plan and begin implementation. The communication strategy should aim to create an enabling environment for the government to engage with communities and begin to prepare for the implementation phase. The wide dissemination of this information will place an additional layer of pressure on the government to deliver results, so it is important to communicate clearly the plan’s objectives, timeline, and expected results and outcomes from the beginning and throughout implementation. Information is power, and a community that is continuously engaged and informed about the process can become an ally to move implementation forward. Citizen ownership is vital to guaranteeing the sustainability of the plan’s proposals to advance policy reforms and bring about structural change in how school infrastructure is managed. Civic participation can ensure continuity and foster an environment that promotes transparency and accountability, regardless of changes in government.
- Key considerations behind the RSRS
- Context of application
- Structure of each step
Phases of the RSRS
- Planning at scale
Getting ready for implementation
- Making the case for decision makers
- Kick-off activities
Implementing the school infrastructure plan
- Formal adaptation
- Stakeholder engagement
- Communication strategy