To create a strong student community capable to be potential catalysts of change to build resilience in their communities, a disaster risk reduction management course is to be introduced in the curriculum of higher education sector of the State.
It will help students understand how to foresee, engage and adjust to such events, learning the basic skills.
The course is being offered by the Institute for Hazard Mitigation and Planning, College of Built Environments, University of Washington, in association with Kerala State Disaster Management Authority (KSDMA).
The programme is a part of ‘America with Kerala’ project, set against the backdrop of the 2018 flood. The U.S. Consulate General, Chennai, following up with its workshops on disaster management held across Kerala in 2019, tasked Dr Himanshu Grover, co-director of the institute, to draft a disaster management course curriculum that is to be incorporated into existing academic programmes in universities, autonomous colleges, and other relevant governmental and non-governmental agencies across India.
Speaking to ‘The Hindu’, Mr. Grover said the online course would be launched in the coming academic year and a discussion was under way with the KSDMA for finalising the modules of the curriculum. This would be an introductory 40-hour online course to create awareness on the big picture of disasters and concept of disaster risk reduction management. The students pursuing various undergraduate and degree programmes can choose this course as an option and they would be provided a certificate at the end of the course, said Mr. Grover.
The U.S. Consulate is also in consultation with Tamil Nadu and Odisha governments to start the course that aims to equip multidisciplinary professionals and bureaucrats, apart from graduate students, with a comprehensive understanding of the disaster management process. The course is built upon relevant research on disaster management practices worldwide that can be adopted effectively to the Indian context.
The course will discuss the institutional arrangement for disaster management in India and introduce skills and techniques necessary to assess the existing prevention, rehabilitation, and reconstruction strategies for better preparedness and mitigation in the future. It will also discuss the impact of climate change on disasters and assess the potential role of disaster management policies in reducing the negative impacts of changing climatic conditions.
The students will also be equipped to become familiar with contemporary research, knowledge, issues, and effective approaches to reducing risk from both natural and man-made disasters apart from helping to develop skills and providing tools to enhance community resilience and reduce disaster losses, as part of the programme.