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Education in Emergencies

One in four of the world’s school-age children - more than 500 million - lives in countries affected by humanitarian crises such as conflicts, natural disasters and disease outbreaks. About 75 million children are either already missing out on their education, receiving poor quality schooling or at risk of dropping out of school altogether. Without safe places to learn, they are at risk of child labour, child marriage, exploitation and recruitment into armed groups. There were more than 12,700 attacks on schools between 2013 and 2017 - harming over 21,000 students and teachers in at least 70 countries. (TheirWorld, 27 Dec 2018)

When a conflict or natural disaster erupts, education is generally the first service interrupted and the last resumed. Governments are often overwhelmed by the needs and relief aid traditionally focuses on populations’ basic requirements – food, water, shelter and protection – with only 2 to 4 percent of humanitarian funding allocated to education. The annual funding gap in education in emergencies is US$8.5 billion. (Education Cannot Wait)

If education is one of the most underfunded sectors in humanitarian aid, higher education in emergencies is often considered as a luxury. Today, only 1% of the world’s more than 65 million people displaced by war and conflict attend university, compared to the global average of 34%. However, the need for higher education is especially acute in places of conflict, where it is crucial in rebuilding societies and maintaining stability. Higher education is strongly linked to increased opportunity, strengthened economic development, improved public health, and safer communities. It offers young people hope and a path towards a sustainable and independent future. (IIE PEER)

The INEE Minimum Standards handbook sets out the minimum level of educational quality and access to be provided in emergencies, from preparedness and response through to recovery, and is available in many languages.