The Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace is funding a new project implemented by UNESCO's International Institute for Education Planning (IIEP). The project shall help safeguarding the right to education during emergencies.
Worldwide, natural hazards and conflict disrupt or destroy the education of more than 80 million children. Crisis-sensitive educational planning can help reverse this devastating statistic, and also leverage the sector’s role in preventing further crises.
The new project will help to ensure that every child and every young person gets a quality education, no matter the circumstances, and that education ministries have capacities to reduce risks and increase resilience. The three-year project combines training, technical cooperation and research activities for ministry staff and partners. It builds on the current international momentum to more effectively bridge humanitarian and development efforts. Focus is not only on quick fixes during times of crises, but rather on lasting improvements in education.
“In the crisis contexts, immediate response is necessary but there is a need to prevent or at least reduce the tragic impact of crisis in education ahead of time. Good planning in the education sector is crucial for crisis preparedness and conflict prevention,” said Hilde Hardemann, Director of FPI.
The overall goal of the project is to increase equitable access to quality education for children and youth in crisis situations – including refugees and internally displaced persons.
It will do this through the development and implementation of training courses – at the global level – for both ministry staff and humanitarian and development partners, technical cooperation in three regions (East and southern Africa, western Africa, Middle East), and by undertaking research, and contributing to evidence-based global public advocacy.
These different interventions will help ministries of education and their partners show leadership in crisis prevention, mitigation and response efforts; integrate risk reduction measures in their education sector plans and national education budgets; and apply knowledge and evidence to improve the performance of education systems during times of crisis.
Using crisis-sensitive planning in education
Crisis-sensitive planning in education involves identifying and analyzing existing risks of conflict and natural hazards. It aims to minimize the negative impacts of risk on education service delivery and to maximize the positive impacts of education policies and programming on preventing conflict and disaster or mitigating their effects. It also entails identifying and overcoming patterns of inequity and exclusion in education, as well as harmful cultural practices.
An increasing number of countries acknowledge that merely responding to crisis is no longer sufficient. Instead, ministries of education are looking for ways to strengthen their capacities to anticipate and address the causes of crisis. Planning for disruptions in education—whether due to natural hazards or conflict—can save the lives of students and teachers. It can also significantly reduce the cost of rebuilding or repairing expensive infrastructure, which frees up more resources for investing in prevention measures.