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Enhancing post-disaster reconstruction capacity through lifelong learning in higher education.

Thayaparan, Menaha; Siriwardena, Mohan; Malalgoda, Chamindi Ishara; Amaratunga, Dilanthi; Lill, Irene; Kaklauskas, Arturas


Menaha Thayaparan

Mohan Siriwardena

Chamindi Ishara Malalgoda

Dilanthi Amaratunga

Irene Lill

Arturas Kaklauskas


Purpose “ Due to the complexities involved in disasters and due to the peculiar nature of post-disaster reconstruction, built environment professionals require continuous updating of their skills and knowledge to contribute effectively to disaster resilience. The purpose of this paper is to identify the ways in which higher education institutions (HEIs) can address this need through the provision of lifelong learning. Design/methodology/approach “ This paper is based on both a literature review and on empirical evidence obtained through interviews, a workshop and group validation. Findings “ The challenges faced by HEIs in accommodating lifelong learning are presented. Furthermore, good practice guidelines are provided to enable HEIs to respond effectively to industry requirements; to provide lifelong learning via through-life studentship; to promote collaboration amongst HEIs, industries, professional bodies and communities, and to promote the adoption, diffusion and exploitation of the latest learning and teaching technologies. Research limitations/implications “ The empirical focus of the research is limited to three EU countries, namely UK, Lithuania and Estonia. This paper focuses on role of HEIs in enhancing the disaster risk reduction (DRR) capacity in the built environment, especially at the stage of post-disaster reconstruction. Practical implications “ The recommendations provided on good practice suggest how HEIs can integrate disaster related knowledge into their curriculum faster than previously and how they are able to assist their educators and learners in building up their knowledge base on a continuous basis. Social implications “ Capacity building in enhancing DRR during the post-disaster reconstruction stage through the provision of lifelong learning will create social implications within the responsiveness of built environment professionals to cater for disaster resilience. Originality/value “ The appropriateness of lifelong learning as an approach to disaster management education is justified. The challenges HEIs face in accommodating lifelong learning and the recommendations on good practice guidelines in order to make the HEIs more responsive to educational needs are discussed. This paper is based on a project entitled Built Environment Lifelong Learning Challenging University Responses to Vocational Education (BELLCURVE), aimed at modernising HEIs in order to be more responsive to the labour market skills needs.


THAYAPARAN, M., SIRIWARDENA, M., MALALGODA, C.I., AMARATUNGA, D., LILL, I. and KAKLAUSKAS, A. 2015. Enhancing post-disaster reconstruction capacity through lifelong learning in higher education. Disaster prevention and management [online], 24(3), pages 338-354. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 20, 2015
Online Publication Date Jun 1, 2015
Publication Date Jun 30, 2015
Deposit Date Sep 22, 2015
Publicly Available Date Sep 22, 2015
Journal Disaster prevention and management
Print ISSN 0965-3562
Electronic ISSN 1758-6100
Publisher Emerald
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 24
Issue 3
Pages 338-354
Keywords Lifelong learning; Disaster risk reduction; Higher education; Built environment skills needs; Disaster management education
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