Participants at the recent Global Consultation on Education in Emergencies celebrated progress to date towards achieving Education for All. International collaboration and commitment are needed to maintain momentum towards mainstreaming education in emergencies.
There is growing interest in education in emergencies and reconstruction as a research field – and a pressing need for more research into some priority areas.
Due to the multiplicity of actors, we have no clear global picture of education programming in emergencies. The Women’s Commission for Refugee Women and Children has sought to plug the knowledge gap.
The Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE) builds on the work of its members – UN agencies, NGOs, practitioners, donors and researchers – to ensure the right to education in emergencies and post-crisis reconstruction.
A group of young girls, exercise books in hand, crowd the lamp-lit passageway between tents. They tentatively use the English they’ve learned in school: “I walked five kilometres tonight”; “We are studying for school in the morning”; “I’d rather sleep at home, but am scared of soldiers”. They are among the 50,000 children and adolescents in northern Uganda who commute to urban centres each night for fear of abduction by the Lord’s Resistance Army. Tonight the group is preparing for examinations. Amazingly, despite the dangers of travelling between home, schools and the night commuting centres, lack of time for study and the burden of poverty, the girls continue to struggle to gain an education.
Education in emergencies as a tool for protection is a popular advocacy argument – but is there hard evidence to support this statement? Can education programmes also place children at risk?
During emergencies and the early stages of reconstruction the roles and responsibilities of international and local stakeholders are poorly defined. What are the prospects for improving coordination and local ownership?
In areas of crisis, quality assessments – involving listening to young people – are imperative for quality educational programming and protection.
Improved support for teachers’ professional development is vital during emergency, chronic crisis and early reconstruction contexts as teachers can have a significant impact on their students’ well-being.
Education in emergencies still suffers from an emergency response approach despite increasing recognition that education should be considered as a developmental – rather than a relief – activity.
As displaced people are sheltered (some would say ‘warehoused’) in huge camps, is enough being done to help them acquire the life and survival skills to enable a future based on reconciliation, human rights and democratic governance?
Most accelerated learning (AL) programmes are ‘catch up’ initiatives to assist out-of-school youth into formal education. But what happens when adults join and complete AL classes?
Pamela Baxter discusses why peace education programmes are so important and Vick Ikobwa presents the methodology and lessons learned from the UNHCR/INEE Peace Education Programme in East Africa and the Horn.
Certification of formal and non-formal educational achievement, in the form of an internationally-recognised education passport, could provide continuity for children whose schooling is disrupted by conflict.
When deprived of post-primary education during prolonged conflicts, displaced communities are robbed of potential leaders and of hope for a better future.
Significantly fewer girls than boys attend schools in refugee camps. As the level of education increases, there is a corresponding decrease in the numbers of female participants. This has resulted in a severe gender imbalance in refugee secondary schools.
Parent-Teacher Associations and other community groups can play a significant role in helping to establish and run refugee schools; their involvement can also help refugee adults adjust to their changed circumstances.
Nutrition and learning go hand in hand. School feeding has positive effects on all aspects of schooling – enrolment, attendance and performance.
While nobody would deny children the right to food, school-feeding programmes fail to address important underlying issues.
As the Kosovar education system has been restructured under unchallenged international tutelage, what lessons does this innovative experiment in educational reconstruction offer for other post-conflict states?
Before the genocidal events of 1994, Rwanda’s education system mirrored and reinforced the country’s destructive trends. Has post-war education policy succeeded in promoting national unity, reconciliation and tolerance?
When international NGOs sponsor education programmes during and after a crisis they must also invest resources in planning for post-conflict transition.
In FMR 18 Jeff Crisp asked: “Why do we know so little about refugees? How can we learn more?” This article reflects on these questions as they relate to education and particularly to education for Afghan refugees in Pakistan.
The rebellion in Darfur cannot be viewed in isolation from events elsewhere in Sudan.
We are troubled by Graeme Rodgers’ criticisms (FMR21 pp48-49) of what he calls positive social research, i.e., attempts to make ‘value-free’ descriptive and causal inferences about an existing reality.
By the time Saddam Hussein’s regime collapsed in April 2003, thirty years of state-directed displacement had created over a million refugees and IDPs. As the insurgency continues, the occupation authorities, provisional government and the international community are unable to facilitate orderly return.
Rehabilitation of the Neirab camp in northern Syria shows how improving the living conditions of Palestinian refugees need not invalidate their legal status, nor prejudice their right to return or receive compensation.
UN agencies and other humanitarian organisations recently reiterated their commitment to the collaborative response and have been developing practical tools to assist its implementation.
The 1995 Dayton Accords may have brought peace to Bosnia-Herzegovina but by ignoring education they have failed as a blueprint for state-building.