NEW YORK, 9 May 2011 – Since 2006, UNICEF has significantly scaled up work in education in emergencies and post-crisis transition countries through the Back on Track programme. This $201 million initiative, funded by the Dutch Government with an additional $5 million contribution by the European Commission, has ensured that children are supported both at the initial onset of emergencies – by restoring schooling and ensuring a safe learning environment – and by building back education systems in the long run. Back on Track funds support UNICEF education programming in 39 countries and territories.
The Progress Evaluation of the UNICEF Back on Track programme, completed in December 2010, aims to identify and assess progress as well as systematically improve programme results. The evaluation reviewed the programme against its four specific goals, which include:
Improving the quality of education response in the targeted countries and territories;
Increasing the resilience of education service delivery to absorb disturbance and undergo change while still remaining effective;
Better predicting, preventing and preparing for natural disasters and armed conflict; and
Supporting evidence-based policies and ensuring efficient operational strategies and appropriate financing for the programme.
In order to optimize results and achieve the greatest impact from the Back on Track programme, the evaluation recommends reexamining the current monitoring and reporting systems. Additionally, the remaining funds in the programme should be reviewed and well-placed where there are gaps in education services. The report also advises to instill a disaster risk reduction approach – to minimize vulnerabilities and systematically reduce the adverse effects of disasters – into core education activities.