Education and conflict

research, policy and practice
July 2006

Oxford University and UNICEF co-convened a conference at Oxford University on ‘Education and Conflict: Research, Policy and Practice’ on 11-12 April 2006. The conference aimed to develop a better understanding of the interrelationship between education and conflict, with contributions from theory and research, and practical field-based examples of conflict resolution and post-conflict reconstruction. The conference brought together representatives from UN agencies, the World Bank, bilateral organisations, donors, NGOs and academia.

This supplement includes summaries of key presentations to the conference and includes additional contributions, in particular from the field. It complements the FMR issue on education and emergencies – ‘Education in emergencies: learning for a peaceful future’ – published in January 2005.

Contents

David Johnson and Ellen van Kalmthout

Education is increasingly accepted as an integral part of humanitarian response in emergencies. It can help restore normalcy, safeguard the most vulnerable, provide psychosocial care, promote tolerance, unify divided communities and begin the process of reconstruction and peace building.

Cream Wright

UNICEF supports education in all countries with natural disasters and civil conflict. Humanitarian response activities, including in education, are an essential part of UNICEF’s work because of its concern with children’s rights in all circumstances.

Peter Buckland

While education does not cause wars, nor can it end them, every education system has the potential either to exacerbate or to mitigate the conditions that contribute to violent conflict.

Jason Hart

How can children-focused research enhance understanding of the role and impact of educational provision in conflict and post-conflict settings?

Rebecca Winthrop

Armed conflict and natural disasters disrupt ways in which education is delivered and accessed. Disruptions may be traumatic but they provide opportunities.

Lynn Davies

There is an urgent need to improve understanding of education’s role in contributing to conflict. The Birmingham International Education Security Index is an attempt to generate qualitative and quantitative indicators to assess the contribution of education to human security/insecurity

Jeaniene Spink

Since the December 2001 Bonn Agreement, Afghanistan has adopted a new constitution, held democratic elections and established a national army. Education however has been treated as merely an ‘add on’ to the process of nation building.

Kathryn Touré

Since independence, few African countries have been spared violence and armed conflict. Two West African research networks recently organised an international colloquium to assess the impact and develop linkages between education, peace and democracy.

Diana Quick

After 14 years of on-off civil war, 150,000 deaths and the displacement of almost the entire population, Liberia’s education system lies in ruins. Donors must work with the recently-elected government to make education for all a reality.

Tim Brown

UNHCR’s education challenges in South Sudan highlight the gap between relief and development.

Sibeso Luswata

The Government of Southern Sudan’s Go to School Initiative, supported by UNICEF,  which seeks to get 1.6 million children back in school by the end of 2007, incorporates key elements of the INEE Minimum Standards for Education in Emergencies, Chronic Crises and Early Reconstruction.

Susan Nicolai

Timor-Leste is a classic example of a post-conflict fragile state. Political will and popular enthusiasm rapidly restored a shattered education system but as donor interest wanes the new state cannot deliver services.

Susan Nicolai

Development of a largely secular and modern education system in the Occupied Palestinian Territory over the past decade was mainly due to strong local leadership and external support.

Vijitha Eyango

Over the past five years USAID has learned lessons from critical education programmes in response to conflict and natural disasters in the Asia and Near East Region.

Shakir Ishaq and Atle Hetland

BEFARe – Basic Education For Afghan Refugees – administers the world’s largest and longest-running emergency education project for refugees.

Allison Anderson and Mary Mendenhall

In December 2004, the Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE) launched the first global tool to define a minimum level of educational quality and help ensure the right to education for people affected by crises.

Lyndsay Bird

NGOs working in education in conflict-affected areas have realised the importance of listening to children, encouraging their genuine participation in programmes and publicising and scaling up the innovations which often arise in the aftermath of war.

Isabella Kitari Feliciano

I am a student at Comboni Secondary School in the south Sudan capital, Juba. I am a leader in the local chapter of the Girls’ Education Movement. GEM is a pan-African initiative to bring about positive change in the lives of girls.

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