Education in emergencies: A roadmap for data-driven resilience

19 January 2024


Lucian Coman/

Three new resources, including a conceptual frameworktoolkit, and guidance note, to strengthen data systems for education in emergencies are now available, providing educational planners and partners with a critical building block for resilient education systems.

Amid the escalating impacts of climate change worldwide, robust data systems for education are critical to better understanding how learners are affected by climate change. Almost one billion children live in high-risk countries, susceptible to the impacts of climate change, including droughts, floods, and cyclones.

Ensuring quality education in crisis-affected settings is also essential for achieving Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG 4). However, many governments and partners lack disaggregated, reliable, and up-to-date data for effective preparedness, response, and recovery planning. This can hinder the development of strategic plans and programmes and hamper coordination among the many involved stakeholders.   

The new resources contribute to global efforts to enhance the resilience of education systems in crisis-affected regions. Integrating humanitarian and development data systems can improve accuracy in identifying vulnerable groups, ensure efficient allocation of resources, and support effective and coordinated policy and programme interventions. Furthermore, strengthened data systems not only facilitate monitoring education system resilience but also enhance government accountability for Education in Emergencies (EiE).

By using these resources, countries can lay the foundation for resilient education systems that withstand the challenges posed by emergencies, including climate change. This helps ensure that education and learning continue and that learners and other education personnel are protected before, during, and after a crisis, ultimately contributing to the realization of the broader SDG agenda.

When, by whom, and how should these resources be used?

These resources offer a strategic and hands-on approach to meeting mid- and long-term objectives of strengthening data systems. Unlike reactive responses to immediate data needs during crises, they establish a foundational framework for educational stakeholders, including national authorities, technical experts, and their development and humanitarian partners.

The intention is to enhance institutional capacity for proactive planning and management of education before, during, and after crises. Presented in four steps, the guidelines provide tools for understanding data needs, identifying sources, assessing quality, and addressing existing gaps.

What is EiE data?

EiE data covers all four risk management dimensions: prevention, preparedness, response, and recovery. Produced and managed by multiple government and non-governmental actors, EiE data provides crucial information regarding access,  quality,  equity,  and safety of learning opportunities for affected populations,  including, for example, participation and progression in education and training, learning achievements,  infrastructure and equipment,  teachers’  characteristics,  learners’  and teachers’  well-being,  and any other special consideration or need stemming from potential effects of a crisis. These data not only help to identify and address risks but also consequences.

About these resources

The guidelines and toolkit are products of the Education Cannot Wait funded project, Strengthening institutional information systems for increased resilience to crises, implemented by UNESCO. The conceptual framework developed within this project establishes a common understanding of concepts, processes, and outcomes for EiE data, forming the basis for the guidelines. Input from six country case studies (Chad, Ethiopia, Palestine, South Sudan, Syria, and Uganda) and subsequent bilateral projects in Ethiopia and South Sudan, initiated in 2021, have significantly contributed to the development of these guidelines.