Developing capacities, protecting education

10 October 2017

A new IIEP-UNESCO project with the European Commission's Service for Foreign Policy Instruments (FPI) strives to ensure that every child and every young person gets a quality education, no matter the circumstances, and that education ministries have capacities to reduce risks and increase resilience.

Worldwide, natural hazards and conflict disrupts or destroys the education of more than 80 million children. Crisis-sensitive educational planning can help reverse this devastating statistic, and also leverage the sector’s role in preventing further crises.

The three-year project – which combines training, technical cooperation and research activities for ministry staff and partners–  builds on the current international momentum to more effectively bridge humanitarian and development efforts. This can ensure not only quick fixes during times of crises, but long-term development work that can lead to lasting change in education and beyond.

“By working together, we can ensure that the fundamental right to an education is not erased during emergencies. With support from FPI, we can now engage more countries in crisis-sensitive planning and together with ministries, development, and humanitarian partners, we can address root causes of crises and conflict and reach those furthest left behind,” said Suzanne Grant Lewis, the director of IIEP-UNESCO.

Global Education Cluster
Launch of the FPI-supported project at the Global Education Cluster's Annual Partners' Meeting in Brussels on 11 October 2017.


Project approach

The overall goal of the project is to increase equitable access to quality education for children and youth in crisis situations – including refugees and internally displaced persons – through improved planning practices that can reduce risk and vulnerabilities.

It will do this through the development and implementation of training courses – at the global level – for both ministry staff and humanitarian and development partners, technical cooperation in three countries, and by undertaking research, and contributing to evidence-based global public advocacy. 

These different interventions will help ministries of education and their partners show leadership in crisis prevention, mitigation and response efforts; integrate risk reduction measures in their education sector plans and national education budgets; and apply knowledge and evidence to improve the performance of education systems during times of crisis.

What is crisis-sensitive planning in education?

Crisis-sensitive planning in education involves identifying and analysing existing risks of conflict and natural hazards. It aims to minimize the negative impacts of risk on education service delivery and to maximize the positive impacts of education policies and programming on preventing conflict and disaster or mitigating their effects. It also entails identifying and overcoming patterns of inequity and exclusion in education, as well as harmful cultural practices.

An increasing number of countries acknowledge that merely responding to crisis is no longer sufficient. Instead, ministries of education are looking for ways to strengthen their capacities to anticipate and address the causes of crisis. Planning for disruptions in education—whether due to natural hazards or conflict—can save the lives of students and teachers. It can also significantly reduce the cost of rebuilding or repairing expensive infrastructure, which frees up more resources for investing in prevention measures.


Explore more of our work in this area at Education for safety, resilience and social cohesion and stay tuned for more updates on this project.