Knowledge Note

Each year, natural disasters have devastating eff ects on children’s education in developing countries. The 2015 earthquake in Nepal resulted in the collapse of 5,000 schools, damaged 30,000 classrooms, and disrupted the education of 1 million children while Hurricane Matthew in October 2016 damaged over 730 schools in Haiti. These setbacks in educating children and keeping them safe while in school are not inevitable. Japan accelerated a large-scale retrofi tting initiative over the last decade to improve the structural safety of thousands of schools across the country, building on previous incremental eff orts. The experience of Japan in bringing its schools to earthquake-resistant standard off ers key lessons for developing countries across policy development, program design, fi nancing modalities, and program implementation.