Education in Conflict Emergencies in Light of the post-2015 MDGs and EFA Agendas

Increasingly intense international debates surrounding the post-2015 global education agenda have opened up during 2012. Whatever successors to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the Education for All (EFA) goals are eventually negotiated, all stakeholders will need to plan them in close coordination. A major shortcoming of the present educationrelated MDGs and EFA goals is that they were developed separately, with the more specific EFA goals preceding in time the more general MDGs. Another weakness of both is their too narrow focus on universal primary education (MDGs) and on basic education (EFA). Although the EFA movement has given some attention to non-formal education, adult literacy and skills development, most of the political impetus and financial investment has been on expansion of formal schooling.The education component of a future post-MDG global development agenda needs to be comprehensively worded, allowing for the inclusion of all population groups, all situations and all sub-sectors of education systems. The future post-EFA goals need to spell out, as far as possible, objectives for all those population groups, situations and subsectors.

In those international debates over the post-2015 global education agenda, one vital population has been comparatively neglected until now: those affected by violent armed conflict. This includes refugees (people who cross an international border fleeing persecution or war), internally displaced persons (IDPs), and those harmed by conflict without being displaced. The needs for, challenges of and opportunities offered by the provision of education during conflict emergencies are intimately linked to other educational situations, such as provision of education in conflict-affected fragile states, in disaster emergency situations, and post-conflict and post-disaster educational recovery and reconstruction.

The focus of this paper, however, is on provision of education in conflict emergencies. It examines (i) the importance of educational provision in conflict emergencies in the light of post-2015 debates; (ii) the unusual, often threatening institutional environments in which education is conducted during conflict emergencies; (iii) several policy dilemmas in conflict emergencies (curriculum choices, secondary education, vocational education and training, teacher supply and management), with an in-depth examination of one policy theme, certification of the learning attainments of refugee and IDP learners, to illustrate the technical intricacy and political complexity of the technical and political challenges that confront emergency education; and (iv) policy commitments to the provision of education in emergencies.

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Christopher Talbot


Global Agendas - SDG, Education 2030, etc.