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A Long Way from Home: Investigating Long-term, Sustainable Approaches to Education in Displaced and Crisis Affected Populations

Wed, March 28, 8:00 to 9:30am, Hilton Reforma, Floor: 2nd Floor, Don Diego 1 Section D

Group Submission Type: Panel Session

Proposal

Movement around the world is increasing and the number of people forced to migrate is on the rise. In 2016, 65.6 million people were forcibly displaced worldwide as a result of persecution, conflict, violence, or human rights violations; an increase of 300,000 people over the previous year, bringing the world’s forcibly displaced population to a record high. There are 6.4 million refugees of school-age, but in 2016 only 2.9 million were enrolled in primary or secondary education. More than half of them – 3.5 million – did not go to school. In low-income countries the situation is particularly bleak with only 61% of refugee children attending primary school, compared to 91% globally, and only 9% of refugee adolescents enrol at secondary school, compared to 84% globally.

Providing high quality education in transient or conflict-affected contexts presents a unique set of challenges: individual students in highly mobile populations are hard to track, and monitoring progress is extremely difficult; many learners have missed out on education and are significantly over the expected age for their grade level; limited school spaces result in crowded, unmanageable classrooms; the language of instruction is often unfamiliar to both students and teachers, making meaningful learning challenging; high levels of teacher attrition negatively affects the quality of teaching and learning; and, inevitably high levels of poverty means families struggle to meet their basic needs, which often results in education being deprioritised. Finally, displaced populations can place a strain on host country education systems, which are often already under stress.

In transient and crisis-affected contexts, education programming typically focuses on immediate, short-term solutions to enable children to maintain their right to education. In contrast, development education programming is characterized by a focus on sustainability, investment in local institutions, and rigorous monitoring and evaluation of impact. Historically, the two approaches – emergency education and development education – have been viewed as unique approaches relevant for separate contexts. However, given the increasing numbers of displaced people, many ‘emergency’ contexts end up becoming long-term solutions, and there is an emerging need to revaluate the approach to education programming where emergency and development contexts intersect. The proposed panel, representing donors, host country government officers, and education practitioners will explore the relative advantages, contextual requirements and feasibility of investing in long-term development-style education programming within humanitarian and crisis contexts.

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