BRIEF

Education and Fragility

April 29, 2016

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CONTEXT

Education is a powerful driver of development and is one of the strongest instruments for reducing poverty and improving peace and stability. The Millennium Development Goals have ushered in  unprecedented increments in primary education net enrolment in the developing world. Although there has been great progress in the last decade—many more children attend schools and girls’ education has markedly improved— 124 million children are still out of primary and lower secondary school and 250 million cannot read or write although many have been to school.  

However, many of the 57 million children who are still not attending primary schools- in addition to the 62 million adolescents who are not in lower secondary schools– live in conflict, violence and other adversities.  Presently, education systems in countries at all levels of development increasingly need to manage these new education contexts and demands.

The new set of international development commitments, through the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) #4, call for access to quality education that is safe, non-violent and inclusive. SDG 5 calls for the elimination of disparities in education based on gender and all forms of violence against girls. SDG 16 calls for peace, justice and strong institutions. The SDGs make it a development imperative to address the sources and consequences of conflict, violence, and institutional fragilities.

STRATEGY

The World Bank supports institutions and social services provisions within countries in situations of fragility, conflict and violence (FCV). These are new demands placed on the type of education support the Bank provides. The Education Global Practice is increasingly mandated to work in these adverse situations. It works with the Global Practice for Social, Urban, Rural, and Resilience (GPSURR) on violence prevention in schools and communities, and with the FCV Cross-Cutting Service Area (CCSA) to address broader development issues in contexts of conflict.

The Bank also provides financing and technical assistance to education systems in countries affected by protracted conflict and violence, where there are displaced populations (internal and refugees), and who have experienced acute natural and other types of disasters.

Within the Bank’s System Assessment and Benchmarking Education Results (SABER), the Education Resilience Approaches (ERA) program is providing a broad framework to guide relevant FCV assessments. It benefits from more than 50 years of research on how people – and their communities and organizations—recover, perform and positively change in the face of adversities. It helps identify risks and existing local assets (resources and opportunities) to guide national policy makers, ministries of education, school program managers, and development staff in defining policies and strategies for protection, well-being, and learning in difficult contexts.

ERA does not focus at the individual level alone.  It prioritizes the equitable and effective provision of social services – including education—that can help the most vulnerable.  It also seeks to support the institutional reforms that can sustain a longer-term process for peace, non-violence, social cohesion and other mechanisms that prevent conflict and other forms of violence.  This requires new knowledge and information approaches that recognize the complexity of FCV sources and consequences across many actors, levels and interrelations.

The SABER ERA program  does not benchmark or compare countries with quantitative indicators. Instead, it offers contextualized processes of resilience in education systems. It uses case studies and other mixed-methods approaches to analyze adversities, assets, school-community relations and relevant education policies and services.

ERA was created in the spirit of contributing to the more complex set of SDG goals linking education and adverse situations such as conflict and violence.  It operationalizes the resilience assessment mandate within the New Deal for Engagement in Fragile States agreed upon in Busan, Korea. ERA is aligned to the humanitarian and development goal to respond effectively to education in emergencies and protracted crises.


Key Partnerships

These are some examples of key partnerships working on issues of fragility, conflict, violence, education in emergencies and protracted crises:

  • In 2002, the Bank was a key member of the development partners that launched the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) to help low-income countries meet the education Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the EFA goals. Through the GPE compact, developing countries commit to design and implement sound education plans while donor partners commit to align and harmonize additional support around these plans. GPE is increasing its attention to the special needs of education systems experiencing conflict, violence and other adversities.
  • The Rapid Social Response (RSR) program is a multi-donor endeavor to help the world's poorest countries, in partnership with the World Bank, to build effective social protection systems that safeguard poor and vulnerable people against severe shocks like the food, fuel and financial crises. RSR generously supported the application of the ERA program in Latin America, through the support of the Russian Federation, Norway, the United Kingdom, Australia and Sweden since December 2009, and currently assists 85 activities world-wide. It also collaborates with the Japan Social Development Fund Emergency Window.
  • The Partnership For Education Development (PFED) is a trust fund supported by the Department for International Development (DFID) of the United Kingdom since 2009 to respond to key policy issues in education. PFED’s primary focus is to build inter-agency synergies to generate innovative approaches to improve the quality of education and learning. Primarily PFED has supported the development of ERA and SABER.  
  • The SABER Umbrella Trust Fund continues to support knowledge generation and dissemination related to education resilience, especially through the SABER Resilience window.
  • The ERA program constantly seeks opportunities to share information, knowledge, tools and experiences with both humanitarian and development agencies, including USAID, IRC, RET, UNICEF, IIEP-UNESCO, IDB, ChildFund, and many others.
  • Continues to support knowledge generation and dissemination related to education resilience, especially through the SABER Resilience window.
  • The ERA program constantly seeks opportunities to share information, knowledge, tools and experiences with both humanitarian and development agencies, including USAID, IRC, RET, UNICEF, IIEP-UNESCO, IDB, ChildFund, and many others.

Last Updated: Apr 29, 2016