Education Inequality and Violent Conflict
Evidence and Policy Considerations (Policy Brief)
Equity is at the heart of the new global development agenda, with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) prioritizing a fair, inclusive world, where futures are not determined by one's wealth, ethnicity, sex, or other socioeconomic factors. The promise of education is to provide a pathway to greater equity, while violent conflict threatens development, with the potential to undo years of progress and investments in development. Until now, limited evidence existed on the relationship between educational equity and violent conflict. A new study, commissioned by UNICEF and recently completed by the FHI 360 Education Policy and Data Center, sought to change this using the largest dataset constructed to date, with data from across nearly 100 countries and over a 50 year timespan.
The research project explored education inequality as a determinant and an outcome of internal conflicts, given the cyclical relationship between inequality and conflict. To investigate these relationships, FHI 360 examined inequality using the Education Inequality and Conflict Dataset (EIC), a new dataset developed for this research project. The EIC spans 1960–2010 and is global in scope, covering nearly 100 countries. It includes data on conflict incidence and onset from the Uppsala Conflict Data Program (UCDP) as well as several estimates of inequality in education, measured as disparity in average years of schooling among youth ages 15–24, extracted from household survey and census data. The study examined education inequality between culturally defined or constructed groups and socioeconomic divisions (e.g., ethnic, religious, etc.), referred to as horizontal inequality following Stewart (2000), as well as inequality across households or individuals, or vertical inequality.