To further contribute to Nepal’s long-term economic and social development through an equitable, efficient, and relevant education system, the Government of Nepal designed a 7-year School Sector Reform Plan (SSRP) and began implementing the project in 2009. SSRP is supported by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and eight other development partners. SSRP aims to expand access and equity, improve quality and relevance, and strengthen the institutional capacity of the entire school education system. Under this plan, the Department of Education (DOE), Nepal also implemented a School Disaster Risk Reduction project funded by the ADB to address developing safer schools against seismic vulnerability.

In mid-June 2013, Dr. Naveed Anwar, AIT Consulting Executive Director and International Disaster Risk Management Specialist was selected to perform a review of the ongoing efforts led by ADB in Nepal on school disaster risk reduction, under SSRP, and to specifically present options to scale up the program implementation for this particular sector. Dr. Anwar has been assigned to provide technical inputs for strengthening and institutionalizing the ongoing school retrofitting works under Nepal’s DOE, as well as provide ways forward for scaling up the school safety program.

In mid-July 2013, Dr. Anwar traveled to Katmandu, Nepal and performed site visits to retrieve several relevant documents, meet with various stakeholders, visit three selected schools, and perform the initial analysis of the information gathered. Following the trip, a report detailed with preliminary observations was developed to aide in developing an understanding of the overall program, the project, and the assignment.

In September 2013, Dr. Anwar presented in several consultative meetings that were related to the overview and status of the School Earthquake Safety Program. The meetings were held in Katmandu Nepal, and were organized by the DOE, the National Society for Earthquake Technology (NSET), and ADB.

Subsequent activities under the project include developing a budgeted and comprehensive school safety action plan, providing overall guidance for the implementation of the school safety component, conducting independent reviews and monitoring of the retrofitting process, providing technical guidance about retrofitting of school buildings, and the review of the training and awareness-building program. The assignment is scheduled for completion by mid-January 2014.