Focus on Education in Emergencies

Teachers and learners

‘Quality teaching brings children into school and keeps them there.’

So concludes the 2006 UNESCO Institute of Statistics report on teachers and educational quality (UIS-UNESCO, 2006). Indeed, studies show that investment in teachers – specifically in their training and motivation – improves both access to education and quality of learning (see UNESCO, 2004; Save the Children, 2010; Shriberg, 2007).

The best teachers can inspire, lead, and educate children for the future of a nation. In situations of emergency, teachers have an even greater role to play, for they must not only impart knowledge, but also instill confidence and a sense of security and normality. Their role in such times is critical: they are responsible for the well-being of children both during and after an emergency (a fact widely overlooked). Yet – although in low-income countries their salaries can represent the largest expenditure in an education budget – teachers often have the lowest status and are the lowest paid of government employees (Brannelly and Ndaruhutse, 2008).

Are teachers the forgotten dynamic?  

In the rush to reconstruct, are teachers the missing link to achieving quality education? (see Kirk and Winthrop, 2007). Many children in post-conflict, post-disaster situations learn in poor-quality environments, often with no learning materials, and in conditions that may not be conducive to learning.
Sometimes the only thing they do have is a teacher. That is why these teachers need to be the very best they can be.

What is different about teacher training in situations of emergency?


  • Watch a short report on UNICEF’s Child-friendly schools (CFS) model and to read more on the experiences of learners in emergencies
    Click here >>
  • Find out more about UNICEF’s CFS model
    Click here >>
  • Read the OECD Report on this topic: ‘Teachers Matter: Attracting, Developing and Retaining Effective Teachers’
    Click here (PDF) >>
  • Read INEE Guidance Notes on ‘Teachers and Learning’
    Click here (PDF) >>

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