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The SDG agenda puts an emphasis on equity and on the importance of providing education to the most vulnerable populations. There’s no question that children in conflict-affected settings constitute one of the most vulnerable populations, but the education community has yet to steadily guarantee the provision of quality education to these children.
It is shown that a large share of the problem lies in the lack of data and evidence about the situation of these children, best practices and critical needs. Poor-quality, or completely absent, data deny millions of children the right to an education. UNESCO identified four failures that are holding back progress in education and damaging millions of children’s lives: failures of protection, provision, reconstruction, and peace-building. Thus, the critical lack, and the varying quality, of data on education and on human rights violations against children during and after armed conflicts amount to what can be termed the fifth failure of the international community. In effect, many of the SDG indicators cannot be produced for children in conflict-affected areas, neither at the global nor at the local level.
This paper examines how currently available data, and monitoring and evaluation systems, can be used and improved to better estimate the situation of children in conflict-affected countries, in particular with respect to education. It uses the Education Data Quality Assessment Framework (Ed-DQAF) and the Global Data Dissemination Standards (GDDS) as methodological frameworks, usually used at the country level, to assess the quality of the global response in producing and disseminating data in conflict-affected areas and emergencies settings.
In the light of these international standards for data dissemination and data quality, it highlights the need for governments and the international community to expand our current capacity to provide general information on the impact that conflict has on education, children, parents, and schools, to ensure the right to quality education for millions of children living in conflict-affected countries. Such an effort would include specific steps to ensure higher data quality in terms of completeness and accuracy, timeliness, serviceability, and methodological soundness. Only then would the global statistical capacity be able to respond to the needs generated by the SDG agenda.