Delivering Quality Education in Protracted Crises
A Discussion Paper
Based on a review of evidence and experience, this paper suggests that the international community needs a new approach to supporting the education of girls and boys whose lives are affected, often for many years, by conflict and displacement. That is, children living in "protracted crises." These children are witness to extraordinary levels of violence and suffering, are often forced to leave their homes and families in order to seek safety, and are also impoverished as economies and livelihoods are disrupted.
Until now, these girls and boys have depended largely on humanitarian assistance, not only to survive physically, but also to access an "emergency education." Despite this support, children in these contexts are nearly three times more likely to be out of primary school than in other low income countries, and even if they are in school are often challenged by language of instruction, safety, a curriculum and qualifications that are different from those found at home, and a lack of adequately trained and qualified teachers. This has led to fears of lost generations with little or no education and few prospects for the future.
This paper argues that business as usual is unlikely to meet the education needs of populations affected by crisis. While current approaches have undoubtedly played an important role in maintaining a lifeline to learning, the evidence indicates that they are not sufficient to meet the needs of these vulnerable children.
The paper discusses concepts and the need for action. It reviews what we know about where to invest and explores how the organization and financing of education for children living in these most difficult situations could be reconfigured. The paper concludes by suggesting five principles to guide the international community in the design and delivery of education initiatives in protracted crises.