Crisis-sensitive educational planning in Burkina Faso

23 May 2019

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Emily Johnston
Young girl raising her hand in a classroom in Burkina Faso.

In Burkina Faso, unrest and the escalating security situation – ongoing since 2016 – has had profound consequences on the country’s education system. In hardest-hit areas – the Northern, Sahel, and Eastern regions – mounting attacks and risks have led to the closure of over a third of local schools, totaling 1,088 out of 2,869.

Attacks by armed groups, coupled with increasing intercommunal violence in the North Central part of the country, have also forced thousands to flee their homes. Countrywide, the number of internally displaced persons has increased from 43,000 in December 2018 to over 148,534 in April 2019.

Faced with this situation – where hundreds of thousands of primary, post-primary and secondary students are deprived of regular education – the Ministry of National Education, Literacy, and Promotion of National Languages (MENAPLN) has ramped up efforts to prepare and plan for education in emergencies. Known as crisis-sensitive educational planning - a key area of IIEP-UNESCO support – initiatives from the MENAPLN have included the development of a new strategy for 2019-2024 for the education of children in high security situations, as a well as the decision to a create a Technical Secretariat for Education in Emergency Situations (ST-ESU).

In a new project to support Burkina Faso in these activities, IIEP recently conducted an exploratory mission to Burkina Faso, from 24 to 26 April 2019, as part of its three-year partnership with the European Commission's Service for Foreign Policy Instruments (FPI). 

The objective of the mission was to identify the crisis-sensitive planning capacity needs of the MENAPLN's directorates and to propose potential areas for collaboration between the MENAPLN and IIEP, including a support programme designed to address the needs of the Burkinabe education sector.

During the mission, IIEP delegates met with key stakeholders in crisis-sensitive educational planning, including staff of the MENAPLN, the National Emergency Relief and Rehabilitation Council (CONASUR), the Working Group on Education in Emergencies (WG-ESU), as well as technical and financial partners.


The mission built upon other activities carried out under the IIEP programme funded by the European Union, in particular the regional workshop on crisis-sensitive planning and the inclusion of displaced populations in national education systems, organized by IIEP, in collaboration with UNHCR, UNICEF and the Global Education Cluster (GEC) in Dakar from 29 January to 1 February 2019. Teams from Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, and Senegal participated.

IIEP delegates also met members of the Burkina Faso team (MENAPLN staff, UN partners, and members of civil society) who are currently participating in the IIEP distance-learning course on educational planning for risk reduction and forced displacement, which runs from 3 April to 11 June 2019.

IIEP has a long history of collaboration with the MENAPLN. Going forward, IIEP will expand upon this collaboration to address current challenges facing the Burkinabe education sector. Starting in the next month, IIEP will support Burkina Faso with a new phase of technical support using an integrated approach to strengthen the institutional, organizational, and individual capacities of MENAPLN and its partners.

The programme will include:

  • Direct support to MENAPLN to strengthen capacities for crisis-sensitive educational planning;

IIEP welcomes this new collaboration with Burkina Faso, and in particular with the MENAPLN and its partners.