Crisis-sensitive educational planning


© European Union

The crises facing our world are complex and ever-evolving. The consequences, whether from conflict, natural hazards, climate change, or epidemics, are severe for many sectors and societies. Education is no exception: effects might include the destruction of school infrastructure, a reduction in the number of teachers, an increase in gender disparities, or overall system dysfunction.

The detrimental effects of crises on education systems – in terms of access, quality, equity, and management – and on learning cannot be underestimated. Children and young people growing up in fragile and conflict-affected places are more than twice as likely to be out of school as their peers who live in safe and stable environments. Learners affected by displacement are particularly vulnerable: only 63% of refugees are enrolled in primary school and only 24% attend a secondary school

Education can provide a safe space for children, even during a crisis. School routines bring a sense of normality and support a successful learning trajectory. Education can play a critical role in the prevention of future disasters and conflicts and in the construction of peace, by disseminating life-saving messages about environmental and health risks and by fostering social cohesion through the promotion of values such as citizenship, respect for others, and tolerance.

What is crisis-sensitive educational planning?

Crisis-sensitive educational planning (CSP) involves identifying and analysing the risks to education posed by conflict and natural hazards. This means understanding (i) how these risks impact education systems and (ii) how education systems can reduce their impact and occurrence. The aim is to lessen the negative impact of crises on education service delivery while at the same time fostering the development of education policies and programmes that will help prevent future crises arising in the first place. 

A key part of CSP is overcoming inequity and exclusion in education, which can exacerbate the risk of conflict when left unchecked. It is also important to develop strategies to respond adequately to crises, and to preserve education even in the most difficult circumstances.

At IIEP-UNESCO, CSP includes planning for:

What is IIEP-UNESCO’s expertise?

IIEP-UNESCO contributes to strengthening UNESCO Member States’ capacities for crisis-sensitive planning through technical cooperation, training, and research. Our collaborative approach involves working hand in hand with ministries of education and their humanitarian and development partners to develop education policies and sector plans that increase safety, resilience, and social cohesion. In particular, we: 

  • analyse impacts of conflict and disaster on education;
  • develop:   

- crisis-sensitive policies, strategies, and programmes,
- cost and financing frameworks,
- monitoring and evaluation frameworks and processes;

  • develop and integrate data collection tools and analysis into existing education information systems;   
  • support joint planning between national authorities and humanitarian, development, and security actors.

With a strong focus on refugee and displaced populations, IIEP-UNESCO has developed crisis-sensitive planning expertise that aims to give all learners affected by displacement, conflict, or disaster access to quality education.