Crisis is a major barrier to access to education. Natural disasters, pandemics and conﬂicts, and the resulting internal and cross-border displacement, can leave entire generations traumatized, uneducated and unprepared to contribute to social and economic recovery. Today, the number of people displaced by conflict is at an all-time high; migration from conflict, climate change, and economic strains is set to increase.
During crises, children are particularly at risk of missing out on their education. Children in fragile states are up to three times more likely to be out of school than those living in non-conflict contexts, and they are far more likely to drop out of primary school before completion (3, p 61). For girls, there are the additional dangers of child marriage and teenage pregnancy, confinement to domestic labor, or sexual exploitation (5). Even when conflict does not directly disrupt access, it can affect learning. Teachers have to deal with multilingual classrooms and traumas affecting displaced students. Additionally, conflict tends to exacerbate exclusions based on ethnicity, religion, or gender (3).
Education serves as a buffer against future social and economic shocks and can be a driver of stability, reconciliation, and peacebuilding (4). The number of international migrants is estimated to grow to around 400 million people by 2050, many of whom have been denied the opportunity to acquire skills. With education critical to resilience and cohesion, this dearth of skills will increase vulnerability to shocks and the risks of instability across the world (1, 16). Education can give children the building blocks needed to rebuild their lives and, eventually, their country (4, pg 2).
Investments in this strategy can: 1 Offer alternative models of education to address the diverse needs of children affected by emergency and conflict. For example, investors could provide capital to scale a project that helps accelerate students’ education or catch up through bridging programs. They could also support technology-based solutions that enhance existing learning environments or create virtual learning environments for students. 2 Ensure access to safe and supportive learning environments
One in four of the 462 million school-aged children around the world now live in countries affected by crisis. Of these children, 75 million are in the most desperate need of educational support (4, p2). Sixty-three million out-of-school girls and boys are living in conflict-affected areas. There are 17 million school-age refugees and internally displaced children in countries affected by conflict. Refugees are five times less likely to attend school than other children, with only 50% of refugee children enrolled in primary school and less than 25% of refugee youth enrolled in secondary. Girls are particularly disadvantaged, being 2.5 times more likely to be out of school than boys in countries affected by conflict (10).
Refugees / Internally Displaced People (IDPs): Displaced children face significant obstacles to learning. Only one out of every two refugee children has access to primary education; a refugee child is 5 times more likely than the average child to be out of school (3, 61)
Girls: Refugee girls remain particularly disadvantaged with fewer than 8 refugee girls for every 10 boys in primary school and fewer than 7 girls for every 10 boys in secondary school. Investing in the strategy would help address the barriers preventing girls from accessing education.
Teachers: Teachers and education personnel provide the educational needs for children and youth in emergencies through to recovery. Investments in this strategy provide teachers with the information, learning, and support required to build towards a more positive future.
Out-of-school children: Conflict-affected countries are home to more than a third of out-of-school children (3, 60) and only 23% of refugee adolescents attend secondary school (6, p 10)
Schools: In 2013–2017, there were over 12,700 attacks on education, harming over 21,000 students and education personnel (3). Yet schools provide a safe space and a vital routine for children during times of major upheaval.
Children in fragile, conflict-affected countries are more than twice as likely to be out of school compared with those in countries not affected by conflict; similarly, adolescents are more than two-thirds more likely to be out of school (GEM Report, Policy Paper 21, June 2015, p.2). Developing regions hosted 92% of the world’s school-age refugees in 2017. (UNHCR. Turn the tide: refugee education in crisis (2018), p.14) Displacement mainly affects low income countries. Fewer than half of refugee children hosted by low-income countries access primary education, and only 9% of refugee adolescents access secondary education in these countries (6, p 9).
More than half of the world’s out-of-school refugee children are located in just seven countries: Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Lebanon, Pakistan and Turkey (5, p 4). According to UNESCO, the sub-Saharan Africa region remains the region with the highest out-of-school rates for all age groups (4-18). In Africa, children affected by droughts are less likely to complete primary school; similar impacts have been found in Asia and Latin America.
Investments in education in emergencies are critical to ensure that children do not lose years of education. Moreover, maintaining access education during conflict has been shown to benefit children’s well-being and protection, in addition to contributing to post-conflict stability and peacebuilding (14). High levels of secondary school enrollment have been shown to increase a country’s level of stability and peace, and reduce crime and violence. It enables refugees to fulfil their potential improving their job prospects, as well as boosting their confidence and self-esteem (8).
Strengthens global peace, security, and governance: Education is key to promote peace, tolerance, mutual respect and social cohesion. Quality education builds positive social connections and gives tools for peaceful problem solving and equal access to education for girls and boys reduces the likelihood of violence and conflict by 37%.
Strengthens resilience to withstand crises: Education also gives children a place of safety, and can also reduce early marriage, child labor, and military recruitment by armed groups. Schools give children stability and structure with support of trained teachers and peers to help cope with the trauma they have experienced and can protect children from the physical dangers around them.
Reduces poverty and inequality: When children get an education, whole societies benefit. A child whose mother can read is 50% more likely to live past the age of five, twice as likely to attend school and 50% more likely to be immunized.
Promotes global prosperity: Education increases earnings and boosts growth. Each additional year of schooling leads to a 10% increase in income. There are even greater gains for women with $15-30 trillion lost in lifetime productivity and earnings by limited educational opportunities for girls and barriers to completing 12 years of education. (4)
Investments in this strategy can benefit the 75 million children aged 3-18 years living in 35 crisis-affected countries in most desperate need of educational support (10, p 10).
Investing in education in emergency contexts has economic benefits for that country’s population and plays a role in social cohesion and national identity (1, p 36). Evidence suggests that each year of education reduces an adolescent boy’s risk of becoming involved in conflict by 20% and if the enrollment rate for secondary schooling is 10% higher than the average, the risk of war is reduced by about 3 percentage points (11). It is estimated that providing secondary education for all girls could reduce child marriage by almost two-thirds, while 59% fewer girls would become pregnant in sub-Saharan Africa and south and west Asia, which are among the top hosting regions for refugees (5, p 43).
Education also gives refugees the knowledge and skills to live productive, fulfilling and independent lives. In Uganda, for every extra year a refugee child spends in school, their income increases by 3 per cent (6, p 7). The longer refugees spend in quality education, the likelier they are to know their rights, be able to stand up for themselves, and rely on their own endeavors.
Such risks could lead to difficulties in reaching the desired impact or even generate negative impacts.
The Instant Network Schools Programme, a joint initiative of the office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and Vodafone, reaches more than 40,000 students and 600 teachers in 20 primary and secondary schools in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, South Sudan and the United Republic of Tanzania. The objective is to reach more than 60,000 students in 2018 (safaricom, 2017). It equips them with internet through a satellite or mobile network connection, electricity through solar-powered batteries and a backup generator, and dynamic digital content through preloaded and online resources, connecting remote and isolated communities with the rest of the world. Preliminary data from an evaluation in Kenya pointed at a 3% point increase in attendance rates and a 36% increase in the participation rate for primary school certificate examinations.
Ideas Box was developed by the NGO Libraries Without Borders, together with UNHCR. It has an education component that follows the usual approach of third-party content not aligned with curricula, but also includes additional information and cultural resources. These range from books and films to cameras and graphic design software. The aim is to create a community space that enriches the experience of isolated communities. A qualitative evaluation of its deployment in two Burundi camps hosting Congolese refugees showed a positive impact in measures of resilience. Since its inseption, 59 Ideas Box kits were implemented in emergency and reconstruction contexts, providing more than 850,000 refugees, displaced and vulnerable people with the means to reconnect with the world, gain self-reliance and strengthen children’s education.
The International Commission on Financing Global Education Opportunity. “The Learning Generation: Investing in education for a changing world.” Education Commission, 2016. https://report.educationcommission.org/downloads/
UNESCO. “Migration, displacement & education: Building bridges, not walls; Global education monitoring report, 2019.” Paris: UNESCO, 2019. https://en.unesco.org/gem-report/report/2019/migration
World Bank Group. “World Development Report 2018: Learning to Realize Education’s Promise.” Washington, DC: World Bank, 2018. http://www.worldbank.org/en/publication/wdr2018
UNICEF. “Education Cannot Wait: A Fund for Education in Emergencies.” UNICEF, 2016. https://www.unicef.org.uk/publications/education-cannot-wait/
UNHCR. “Missing Out: Refugee education in crisis.” UNHCR, 2016. https://www.unhcr.org/57d9d01d0
UNHCR. “Left Behind: Refugeee education in crisis.” Geneva: UNHCR, 2016. https://www.unhcr.org/59b696f44.pdf
Inter-agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE). “Minimum Standards for Education: Preparedness, Response, Recovery.” New York: INEE, 2010. https://inee.org/system/files/resources/INEE_Minimum_Standards_Handbook_2010%28HSP%29_EN.pdf
Save the Children, UNHCR. “Promising practices in refugee education: Synthesis Report.” Save the Children, 2017. https://reliefweb.int/report/world/promising-practices-refugee-education-synthesis-report
FHI 360 Education Policy and Data Center. “Does Horizontal Education Inequality Lead to Violent Conflict?” New York: UNICEF, 2015. https://www.epdc.org/education-data-research/does-horizontal-education-inequality-lead-violent-conflict
Overseas Development Institute (ODI). “Education Cannot Wait: Proposing a fund for education in emergencies.” London: ODI, 2016. https://www.odi.org/sites/odi.org.uk/files/resource-documents/10497.pdf
Global Partnership for Education (GPE). “Education Data.” GPE. Accessed May 2019. https://www.globalpartnership.org/data-and-results/education-data
Burde, D., Guven, O., Kelcey, J., Lahmann, H., Al-Abbadi, K. “What Works to Promote Children’s Educational Access, Quality of Learning, and Wellbeing in Crisis-Affected Contexts.” Education Rigorous Literature Review. Department for International Development: 2015.
OECD. States of Fragility 2016: Understanding Violence. Paris: OECD Publishing, 2016.
Save the Children. Education Under Attack in Syria. Save the Children, 2015.
This mapped evidence shows what outcomes and impacts this strategy can have, based on academic and field research.
Shah, R. 2015. Norwegian Refugee Council’s Accelerated Education Responses: A Meta-Evaluation. Oslo, Norwegian Refugee Council
McKinney, Rachel and Caroline Keenan. Learning & Well-being in Emergencies: A three-pronged approach to improving refugee education. Washington, D.C.: Save the Children, 2016.
Besedic, Jelena, Ljiljana Dosen, Tatjana Ristic, Ivan Tasic, Nina Stamenkovic. Save the Children International, Refugee Response in Serbia. Save the Children, 2016.
Mendenhall, Mary. Strengthening Teacher Professional Development: Local and global communities of practice in Kakuma Refugee Kamp. 2016.
United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). Bringing hope in times of conflict: UNRWA Education in Emergencies programme. UNRWA, 2016.
Abdul-Hamid, H., Patrinos, H. A., Reyes, J., Kelcey, J. and Diaz Varela, A. 2016. Learning in the Face of Adversity: The UNRWA
Education Program for Palestinian Refugees. Washington, DC, World Bank
Oddy, Jessica. Time to be a Child: Play, Learning and Child-Centred Development for Children Affected by the Syrian Crisis. War Child, 2016.
Murwanjama, Josephine and Phyllis Mureu. Two Schools in One: Management of high enrollment in refugee secondary schools. Windle Trust Kenya, 2016.
Kinoti, Timothy and Lucy Philpott. Remedial Education Programme: An Innovation to Improve Girls’ Academic Performance in Refugee Contexts. WUSC/EUMC, 2011.
Wagner, Emma and Save the Children UK. Refugee Education: Is technology the solution? Save the Children UK, n.d.
Each resource is assigned a rating of rigor according to the NESTA Standards of Evidence.
Percentage of school students passing standardized tests set by a regional governance body during the reporting period.
= (Number of enrolled students who passed standardized test) / (Number of enrolled students who took standardized test)
Organizations should footnote the description of the standardized test, the threshold for passing, how many tests were taken, and other relevant details.
If more than one test is taken, organizations should report on the average of the pass rates.
Investors can use this metric to understand if the strategy is successfully reaching the desired outcome “Improved learning outcomes for students” in context of crisis and conflict.
Number of students enrolled as of the end of the reporting period, both full-time and part-time, where each discrete student is counted regardless of number of courses.
Organizations should footnote a breakdown of full-time and part-time students.
Learners should be counted if they are enrolled in primary or secondary school or the equivalent education. When calculating this indicator, each learner should be counted only once in data for the year being reported. In other words, if a learner benefits from two overlapping programs and each meets the criteria outlined here, the learner should be counted only once.
This indicator provides a sense of the overall scale of students in crisis benefitting from the education solution, and also speaks to the desired outcome “Increased enrollment & educational attainment”.
Number of female students enrolled as of the end of the reporting period, both full-time and part-time, where each discrete student is counted regardless of number of courses.
Organizations should footnote a breakdown of full-time and part-time female students.
The data would have to be gathered by schools.. Investee company could work with schools to provide that data to investors.
Investors can use this metric to understand if and how many girls the education solution is reaching. The metric speaks to the important gender lens described in this strategy.
Rate of student attendance during the reporting period.
'= 1 - [(Number of absentee days of students during the reporting period) / (Number of school days in the reporting period * School Enrollment: Total (PI2389))]
Organizations should footnote all assumptions used, including details on how attendance is tracked.
Investors can use this metric to understand how their solution is contributing to improve (or not) student attendance in contexts of crisis and conflict. An increase in student attendance is an important factor to improve student learning outcomes.
Rate of teacher attendance during the reporting period.
'= 1 - [(Number of days teachers were absent during the reporting period) / (Number of working days during the reporting period * Teachers Employed (OI5896))]
Organizations should footnote all assumptions used, including details on how attendance is tracked.
Investors can use this metric to understand how their solution is contributing to improve teacher attendance in contexts of crisis and conflict. An increase in teacher attendance is an important factor to improve student learning outcomes.
Percentage of students advancing from one level of schooling to the next.
'= (Number of school students enrolling in the next level of schooling for the upcoming year) / (Number of students who completed the previous level of schooling during the preceding year)
Organizations should footnote all assumptions used and any relevant details regarding the transition rate.
This metric is intended to capture the percentage of students that transition from one level to the next, for example, from primary to secondary school, or the third year of secondary school to the fourth year.
For example, if 100 students complete their final year of primary school at the end of the previous reporting period and 95 of them transition on to the first year of secondary school at the beginning of the following reporting period, the student transition rate is calculated as 95/100 = 95%.
This metric is different than Student Dropout Rate (PI9910), which captures the rate at which students dropout during the reporting period.
Investors can use this metric to understand how their solution is contributing to improve students’ in crisis and conflict progression through schooling.
Percentage of a cohort of children or young people aged 3-5 years above the intended age for the last grade of each level of education who have completed that grade. The intended age for the last grade of each level of education is the age at which pupils would enter the grade if they had started school at the official primary entrance age, had studied full-time and had progressed without repeating or skipping a grade. For example, if the official age of entry into primary education is 6 years, and if primary education has 6 grades, the intended age for the last grade of primary education is 11 years. In this case, 14-16 years (11 + 3 = 14 and 11 + 5 = 16) would be the reference age group for calculation of the primary completion rate.
The number of persons in the relevant age group who have completed the last grade of the given level of education is expressed as a percentage of the total population (in the survey sample) of the same age group.
Investors can use this metric to understand how their solution is contributing to improve students’ completion of schooling at the expected age group.
Number of teachers as of the end of the reporting period who have obtained training or have qualifications that meet or exceed minimum requirements of the local area.
Organizations should footnote the minimum level of qualifications required in local area.
The data would have to be gathered by schools. Investee company could work with schools to provide data to investors.
Investors can use this metric to understand if the strategy is successfully implementing trainings for teachers in the context of crisis and conflict, to improve their well-being and effectiveness.
Number of teachers who report having higher well-being at the end of the intervention relative to the beginning, by responding to standardized survey.
Number of teachers with improved well-being at post-test/number of teachers participating in well-being programming
Organizations should footnote all assumptions used.
Survey would need to be drafted or adapted from existing assessments, and the data would have to be gathered by schools. Investee company could work with schools to provide data to investors.
Investors can use this metric to understand if support/solution provided to teachers in crisis and conflict environments is improving their well-being.