Standard 1: Law and Policy Formulation

Education authorities prioritise continuity and recovery of quality education, including free and inclusive access to schooling.

Key Actions

National education laws, regulations and policies uphold the protected status under international humanitarian and human rights law of education facilities, learners, teachers and other education personnel

See Guidance Notes:

National education laws, regulations and policies respect, protect and fulfil the right to education and ensure continuity of education

See Guidance Notes:

Laws, regulations and policies ensure that every education facility rebuilt or replaced is safe

See Guidance Notes:

Laws, regulations and policies are based on an analysis of the context that is developed through participatory and inclusive processes

See Guidance Notes:

National education policies are supported with action plans, laws and budgets that allow a quick response to emergency situations

See Guidance Notes:

Laws, regulations and policies allow schools for refugees to use the curricula and language of the country or area of origin

See Guidance Notes:

Laws, regulations and policies allow non-state actors, such as NGOs and UN agencies, to establish education in emergency programmes

See Guidance Notes:

Guidance Notes
The national authority’s duty is to respect, protect and fulfil the right to education

These human rights instruments include international rules about the care of populations, with an emphasis on children and youth. Areas covered include nutrition, recreation, culture, prevention of abuse and early childhood education for children aged under six years. The Convention on the Rights of the Child is particularly important because it covers both children’s right to education and their rights within the educational process, such as the right to be consulted on decisions that affect them, the right to be treated with respect and the right to know about their rights.

Learners, teachers and education personnel have civilian status, as do education buildings. They are protected from armed attack under the Geneva Conventions, which form part of international humanitarian law recognised by every country. National authorities and international stakeholders should support efforts to build this protected status into national law and practice, and to prevent the use of education facilities for military purpose.

When violence threatens educational continuity and child protection, advocacy to promote education, human rights and humanitarian law relevant to education is a priority. Monitoring and reporting of attacks on learners, education personnel and facilities or occupation of educational facilities are essential. This respects the victims’ dignity and leads to coordinated response, investigation and prosecution.

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National education laws and policies should ensure continuity of education for all

National and local school contingency plans should cover known, expected and recurring hazards. These include small scale disasters, such as regular flooding, that cause cumulative negative impacts on education. The particular needs of vulnerable children and youth should be included. In countries where there are no emergency or disaster response laws for education, the emergency situation provides an opportunity to create them.

Early childhood development services for children below school ageand their parents or guardians should be included in education policies and programmes. Services may include:

  • early care and parenting groups;
  • play groups;
  • inclusion of young children in safe space activities;
  • links with health, nutrition and other services.

In countries with a national youth policy, an emergency provides an opportunity to strengthen cross-sectoral work on youth-focused education. In countries without a national youth policy, relevant stakeholders should name a focal point for youth issues in a crisis setting. There should be collaborative work on cross-sectoral policy and programme planning and implementation that considers youth issues. If a national youth policy is developed, it should be based on analysis of the diverse interests and influences among youth sub-groups and the opportunities and risks of various forms of youth participation. A national youth policy complements national frameworks on:

  • education;
  • technical and vocational education and training;
  • emergency preparedness.
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Safety of new and rebuilt schools

School sites should be selected for safety from known hazards and threats and designed and constructed to be resilient. Sufficient space should be planned so that education is not disrupted if schools are needed as emergency, temporary shelters.

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Analysis of the context

Education laws and policies should reflect a thorough understanding of the social, economic, security, environmental and political dynamics in the emergency context. In this way, education planning and programming meet the needs and rights of learners and of wider society, and avoid aggravating social divisions or conflict.

Context analyses may include conflict assessments, human rights assessments and risk and disaster preparedness analyses. Education authorities and other education stakeholders should contribute to context analysis to ensure that education issues are reviewed. Context analysis involves wide consultation with the community. Education authorities and other education stakeholders should advocate for such analyses to be undertaken and included as part of regular education sector reviews and reform processes.

Risk analysis includes an analysis of risks of corruption in the political, administrative and humanitarian environment. Discussion of corruption should be as open as possible in the planning and implementation of emergency education responses. Open discussion is the best way to develop robust anti-corruption policies. Discussion of corruption issues does not mean condoning corruption or implying an actor’s particular vulnerability.

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Information sharing and information systems

Those involved in education policy development and implementation should share information about policies and strategic responses. This is particularly important in mitigating conflict and disaster. Information should be easily understood and accessible to all.

Laws, regulations and policies should be developed based on reliable information. Education management information system data should be linked to information about areas and population groups that are prone to particular kinds of emergencies. This is a preparedness strategy that provides input into national and local education planning. Where possible, educational data collected by the community should be fed into a national education management information system.

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Disaster preparedness frameworks

Education must be an integral part of national disaster preparedness frameworks. Resources should be secured to provide an effective and timely education response. International stakeholders, supporting national or local education programmes, should promote preparedness for emergency education response as a component of development programmes.

Preparedness frameworks should make explicit provisions for the participation of children and youth in response efforts at the community level.

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Education authorities must ensure that education reaches all groups in an equitable manner. According to international law, refugees should have the same education entitlements as nationals at the elementary level. At higher levels, refugees should have access to studies, recognition of certificates, diplomas and degrees, remission of fees and charges and access to scholarships on terms equivalent to those for nationals of the host country. Internally displaced learners retain the same educational rights as nationals who are not displaced. They are covered by national and international human rights law and the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement.

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Non-government and UN actors

Non-government and UN actors should be allowed to supplement national education provision to ensure that the education needs and rights of all learners are met. Their access to set up programmes and facilities and to respond swiftly and securely to emergencies should be facilitated by the host country. This may include fast-track visa opportunities and special customs regulations for learning and relief materials.

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Supporting Resources

Supporting Resources

Education Rights: A guide for practitioners and activists

Published by
Global Campaign for Education (GCE)

The Education Rights: A guide for practitioners and activists handbook provides people working on education at both the community and national levels with guidance in taking on a rights-based approach to education.


Guidance Notes for Government Policies and Practices Related to Education and Non-Discrimination

Published by
UNESCO International Institute for Education Planning (UNESCO-IIEP)

The Guidance Notes provide a list of key questions to ask when reviewing government policies and practices related to education and non-discrimination in order to ensure that all children and youth have equal access to quality education, especially during emergencies and early reconstruction.



Untitled Spreadsheet
INEE Domain INEE Standard Indicator/Program Requirements Clarification Numerator Denominator Target Disaggregation Source of Indicator Source of Data Available Tool Crisis Phase
Education Policy Law & Policy Formulation (EP Std 1)

Education authorities prioritise continuity and recovery of quality education, including free and inclusive access to schooling.
5.1 Degree of engagement in evidence-based policy advocacy Where national policies are inadequate, organizations participate in or support evidence-based advocacy for improving national policies. Scale 1-5 (1 = low, 5 = high)
Level 1—Organization is not aware of national policy deficiencies and does not seek to improve national policy
Level 3—Organization engages in policy advocacy but does not rely on evidence-based approaches
Level 5—Organization understands national policy deficiencies, and either leads or contributes to coalition efforts to strengthen national policies using evidence-based approaches
4+ NA New Program documentation Tool required All stages
Planning & Implementation (EP Std 2)

Education activities take into account international and national educational policies, laws, standards and plans and the learning needs of affected populations.
5.2 Degree of adherence to national and international policies and laws Education activities hold to account international and national educational policies, laws, standards, plans, and the learning needs of affected populations. Scale 1-5 (1 = low, 5 = high)
Level 1—Organization does not factor in national or international standards in program design
Level 3—Organization has understanding of national and international standards but does not meet these standards in program design, implementation, monitoring, or evaluation
Level 5—Organization uses all relevant national and international standards as a minimum standard in program design, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation
4+ NA New Program documentation Tool required All stages
5.3 Level of planning for future and current emergencies Plans are up to date and address full cycle of EiE response, from preparedness through response and recovery. This could be broken into sub-indicators for each stage, if relevant. Scale 1-5 (1 = low, 5 = high)
Level 1—Organization does not have plans for responding to future emergencies
Level 3—Organization has plans for responding to future emergencies, but plans are either out of date or lack sufficient detail
Level 5—Organization has detailed plans, that are regularly updated to respond to forseeable emergencies, as well as contingency plans for responding to unforseeable emergencies
4+ NA New Program documentation Tool required All stages