Education Planning

What is Education Planning?

Education sector planning is a technical, political, and participatory process which should be led by government, typically the Ministry of Education (MoE). The first step of the process is to conduct an education sector analysis (ESA) in order to highlight the main challenges and opportunities for the education sector.

Following the ESA, an education sector plan (ESP) is developed. An ESP usually covers a 5-year timeframe and contains medium or long-term objectives and desired outcomes for educational sub-sectors. The ESP also describes the strategies and activities that will be used to reach these objectives. Projection and simulation models are then used to determine the costs of the human and material resources needed to implement the plan and finance the activities.

In crisis situations, if long-term planning and implementation are compromised, national or regional authorities can develop a Transitional Education Plan (TEP), of 3 years duration. A TEP is often used to structure the priorities to maintain the same progress achieved prior to the crisis and might include anticipating the future needs of a specific community (e.g. internally displaced persons or refugees). A TEP maintains the long-term vision of the education sector, and focuses on the immediate issues in achieving these long-term goals.

What is Crisis-sensitive Education Planning?

With the global increase in the number of humanitarian crises including violent conflict, drought, food insecurity, flooding, and others, millions of children and youth have been displaced.

These phenomena have also led to an increasing need of education partners to include strategies for refugees and IDPs in sector planning process. In September 2016, 193 Member States of the United Nations adopted the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants. This Declaration calls for a more predictable and more comprehensive response to these crises, known as the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework, or CRRF.

Crisis-sensitive educational planning involves identifying and analysing existing risks of humanitarian crises and addressing the forced displacement that may result. This entails identifying both conflict and natural hazards and understanding the two-way interaction between these risks and education to develop strategies that respond appropriately. Crisis-sensitive planning aims to contribute to minimizing the negative impacts of risk on education service delivery and to maximize the positive impacts of education policies and programming on preventing conflict and disaster or mitigating their effects. It also requires identifying and overcoming patterns of inequity and exclusion in education, including for forcibly displaced populations.

In order to prevent hazards from becoming disasters, planners must analyse the risks to education. These risks can be reduced when communities have capacities to withstand the hazard, the ability to reduce physical, social, and environmental vulnerabilities, and sufficient response capacity. In addition, crisis-sensitive educational planning can enable countries to better manage their education system before, during, and after crises, thereby ensuring that investments and, most importantly, children’s rights to education and safety are protected.


This collection was developed with the support of Leonora MacEwen, Assistant Programme Specialist at IIEP-UNESCO.

1 January 2014 Report Save the Children, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organziation (UNESCO), United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)

Disaster risk reduction (DRR) Comprehensive School Safety: An imperative for Education Policy-makers

Along with climate change related crises, disasters create humanitarian and development challenges. The education sector has a key role to play in addressing these challenges and in preventing hazards from becoming disasters. This role is best fulfilled through a comprehensive approach to school safety.

1 January 2010 Manual/Handbook/Guide UNESCO International Institute for Education Planning (UNESCO-IIEP)

Guidebook for Planning Education in Emergencies and Reconstruction

The Guidebook for planning education in emergencies and reconstruction aims to support educational authorities in providing equal access to quality education for children affected by conflict or disaster - which can also provide a unique opportunity to reform an education system.

1 January 2015 Manual/Handbook/Guide Global Partnership for Education (GPE), UNESCO International Institute for Education Planning (UNESCO-IIEP)

Guidelines for Education Sector Plan Preparation

The purpose of these guidelines is to assist countries in preparing credible education sector plans. They present an overview of sector analysis, consultative processes, policy reform, strategy development, plan implementation, and monitoring.

1 May 2016 Manual/Handbook/Guide Global Partnership for Education (GPE), UNESCO International Institute for Education Planning (UNESCO-IIEP)

Guidelines for Transitional Education Plan Preparation

In response to the call for greater effort and investment in crisis-affected and challenging situations, these guidelines were designed to assist countries in preparing a transitional education plan (TEP).

1 January 2001 Manual/Handbook/Guide United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organziation (UNESCO)

Planning Education in and after Emergencies

Education can develop positive attitudes and reflexes, which are important to confront such situations as war or natural disaster. It is vital also to develop an education system or a curriculum that best caters to the needs of crisis-stricken populations, and to ensure that no social groups are excluded or denied the right to education.