Towards Pragmatic Community Centered Disaster Management Methodologies: Mainstreaming Disaster education through Open and Distance Learning Platforms

Shepard Mutsau, Julieth Mashatise


Over the past century there has been an increase in the rise of disaster incidents in the world. The emergence of climate change has increased the propensity for disasters. This development has increased the probability of disasters occurring across the globe. The interaction between climatic and human induced disasters across the globe has challenged all sectors to transform and question older dominant methodologies of service provision and make a paradigm shift towards risk management and research to suite the new challenge. Education has also responded to the challenge. Thus the rise of the ODL ushered a unique dispensation in the education topography to meet the increasing risk of disaster challenges. The ability of the Open and Distance Learning (ODL) to reach greater populations across the globe, its cost effectiveness, high level of interaction between what is learnt and the reality on the ground as well as its ability to create a permissible platform where people  can learn in their environment and work at the same time ,creates a just milieu for direct application of disaster education in their lives as well as at work, thus mainstreaming Disaster management knowledge into people’s lives to reduce levels of community vulnerability to hazards and disasters. This study examines the potential for mainstreaming disaster risk management into education to reduce the levels of vulnerability to disasters using Open and Distance learning platform. Data was obtained from 30 purposively selected key informants as respondents. Data were collected through in depth interviews and questionnaires. Key informants were selected from disaster management practitioners as well as key educationists. Data was analyzed using thematic analysis and the results were presented using tables, and narratives. Results found were configured into six themes which dovetail the wider dissemination of need - based knowledge of disaster education, the financial viability of ODL in disaster education, the flexibility of learning, ability to reach large populations as well as its unique utilization of multi-media platforms. Its utility was found to offer both formal and informal disaster education.

Key words: Disaster, disaster education, ODL, mainstreaming

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ISSN (Paper)2224-5766 ISSN (Online)2225-0484

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