Planning Education in and after Emergencies
Conflict, instability and disaster affect the lives of millions of people each year. Consequences can be dramatic, and populations which have been struck by such traumas are deprived of families, homes and basic personal possessions, as well as security, social norms and a sense of community. Among the most important needs to attend to are naturally health and shelter, but education is just as essential to help children and youngsters to live a normal life, and to prepare them for adulthood in what will hopefully be a more peaceful environment. Children exposed to violence and aggression from an early age need to be educated in basic societal values, to develop a sense of respect towards each other and other populations, and to banish prejudices in order to live in a mixed community, thus reducing existing tensions. 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. Equity and human rights are major issues when planning education in countries experiencing situations of emergency and reconstruction.