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Reflections on resilience-focussed approaches within education programming

Wed, March 25, 11:45am to 1:15pm, Hyatt Regency Miami, Floor: 24, Petite Suite #3

Group Submission Type: Formal Panel Session (English)


Shocks and stresses are increasing in frequency and intensity around the globe. Climate change and weather variability, population growth, migration and displacement, local and global price shocks, illness and disease, political instability, violence, and armed conflict are combining in complex and uncertain ways, threatening the lives and livelihoods of people and eroding hard-won development gains. The result is billions of people around the globe are at risk in terms of loss of life, injury, or livelihoods; national and regional economies are being undermined; and the cost of humanitarian response is unsustainable and rising.

At present, and by conservative estimates, approximately 75 million children each year have their schooling interrupted by a range of shocks and stressors—such as natural hazard impacts, outbreaks of disease or famine, climate change, gender or school-based violence, violent conflict, and economic shocks (UNESCO-IIEP 2011; Global Campaign for Education 2016). Beyond immediate disruptions to children’s education, are the longer-term impacts on countries and regions around the world seeking to recover and transform after a crisis, particularly when entire generations of children may have never gone to school or had their schooling interrupted prematurely. The lack of schooling can undermine opportunities for these future generations to be productive members of society and for the social contract between citizens and the state to be reinforced and strengthened (Smith and Ellison 2015). The longer-term economic and human capital costs of emergencies to the education sector, while thinly researched, include estimates that reach well in excess of hundreds of millions, if not billions, of dollars (Nicolai and Hine 2015).

For this reason, it is imperative that education systems are able to mitigate the consequences of crisis and conflict in a way that does not undermine current and past investments in the sector. This requires having in place and being able to leverage the assets, resources, and networks present at various levels of the education system. Building and supporting the resilience of the education sector is vital to ensuring that all children have access to safe, equitable, and quality education in times of adversity.

This panel explores how this can concretely be done, building on recent efforts by a range of actors to be better understand how education can contribute to societal resilience more broadly. Panelist also highlight the critical importance of resilient education systems in ensuring that learning and well-being outcomes are unduly compromised. In doing so, the aim is to move discussions beyond common understanding of resilience in education sector programming as efforts focused on individual learners, educational personnel or schools, and instead approach efforts from a systems-based view.

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