Promoting access to quality, safe, and relevant education for all persons affected by crisis

Logan Abassi ©

Education and Fragility

Education is a powerful tool that when designed and implemented well can help a society emerge from conflict towards peace and stability.  Given the fragile nature of conflict affected areas, however, education also has the potential to further destabilize a region if implemented poorly.  Conditions linked to conflict and regional fragility – including poor governance, violence, repression, corruption, inequality and exclusion – may affect accessibility, quality, relevance, equity and management of education provisions in ways which can exacerbate economic, social or political instability.  An understanding of these conditions is critical to ensure that education, at a minimum, does no harm and, at its best, contributes to conflict prevention and long-term peace building.

Education, therefore, is more than just a service delivery, and it must be recognized for the diversity of roles it plays in conflict-affected and fragile contexts. Simply ensuring that children and young adults receive basic education services does not automatically translate into policies, systems, and classrooms that will contribute to conflict prevention or peacebuilding.


Key Activities

Working Group on Education and Fragility

In October 2011, INEE and partner organizations constituted a new Working Group on Education and Fragility with a two-year mandate that built on the work of the first group, and is aligned with the INEE Strategic Plan for 2011-2013. The first biannual meeting of the reconstituted Working Group took place in Brussels, Belgium from 20-21 October 2011 with the participation of 24 member organizations.

During the Working Group's fourth bi-annual meeting in April 2013 in Paris, France, it was decided that the Working Group will extend its mandate by one year, until September 2014.  The goal and objectives of the new Working Group were:

Based on these objectives, the Working Group developed its Work Plan 2011-2013 around four main areas:

  • Knowledge gathering and sharing: The Working Group will focus on gathering information on what its member-organizations know, and still need to know, in terms of education’s role in state- and peace-building, and conflict-sensitive approaches to education.
  • Exploring engagement and learning opportunities: The Working Group will engage in different spaces for dialogue and information sharing with other sectors and thematic groups. This will provide joint learning opportunities and will contribute to the development of tools and methodologies to advance conflict-sensitive programming and planning in the education sector.
  • Identifying opportunities for outreach: The Working Group will participate in dialogue fora and learning spaces related to education or other relevant sectors, to identify opportunities for collaboration that can enhance capacity building and the implementation of the tools developed by the Working Group.
  • Advocacy: The Working Group will develop a strategy and concrete tools for advocacy to influence decision-makers at all levels to enhance, promote and contribute to conflict-sensitive education in fragile and conflict-affected contexts.

In 2014, the Education and Fragility Working Group was reconstituted as the Education Policy Working Group.


Conflict Sensitive Education Pack

In order to support the integration of conflict sensitivity in education policies and programmes in conflict-affected and fragile contexts, INEE has developed the INEE Conflict Sensitive Education Pack. This Pack contains the four items described below.

The Pack's contents are described in a 1-page introduction to the Pack: [English] [French]

1. Guiding Principles

The Guiding Principles are for stakeholders concerned with education in conflict-affected and fragile contexts, and can be used to guide education interventions in these contexts and ensure that conflict sensitivity is incorporated in education proposals, policies, investments and programmes.

  • Guiding Principles [English] [French] [Spanish] [Arabic] [Portuguese]
  • Prezi presentation on the Guiding Principles [English]

2. Reflection Tools

The Reflection Tool can be used to ensure that conflict sensitivity is integrated in education at all stages of the programme cycle: assessment, design, implementation/management, monitoring and evaluation. The tool is accompanied by Additional Resources, which contains references to additional information and guidance related to education, conflict and conflict sensitivity, and which is categorised according to the project cycle.

  • Reflection Tool [English] [French] [Arabic] [Spanish]
  • List of Additional Resources [English]

3. Guidance Note

Building upon the INEE Minimum Standards, the Guidance Note offers strategies for developing and implementing conflict sensitive education programmes and policies. A Quick Reference Tool on Conflict Sensitive Education is included, providing bulleted guidance, key actions, and suggestions for conflict sensitive education.

  • Guidance Note on Conflict Sensitive Education [English] [French] [Arabic] [Spanish]
  • Conflict Sensitive Education Quick Reference Tool [English] [French] [Spanish]

4. Toolkit

The online INEE Toolkit contains with vetted implementation tools and resources related to conflict sensitive education, education and peacebuilding and conflict analysis, as well as the INEE Conflict Sensitive Education Pack:

See INEE’s CSE thematic page and CSE Learning Community page for more.

Consultative Workshops on Education and Fragility

A series of Consultative Workshops on Education and Fragility, based on the analytical framework suggested in the synthesis report, were held in 2010-2011, to reach out and gain wider perspectives on the framework from a range of stakeholders. These are the final reports:

  • Addis Ababa Workshop, October 2010 [Agenda] [Final Report] [Brief] [Participants List]
  • Juba Workshop, February 2011: Final Report
  • Sarajevo Workhop, March 2011: Final Report

Round Table: Role of Education & Youth in Preventing Urban Violence & Violent Extremism

On 21 October 2015, the INEE Working Group on Education & Fragility hosted a one-day round table event on "The Role of Education and Youth in Preventing Urban Violence and Countering Violent Extremism".

The aims of the roundtable were:

  • to share research and experience on the intersection of education, urban violence, and violent extremism;
  • to articulate priority areas for research and programming, and discuss possible INEE engagement in the fields of education, urban violence, and violent extremism.

This event brought together members of INEE's Working Groups, as well as a number of external participants. The round table provided a platform to address ongoing research and programming related to these areas, and focussed on the role played by youth in peace-building.

Read the Round Table final report.


Video: Preventing Violent Extremism

This 5-minute whiteboard video illustrates education’s role in preventing violent extremism (PVE). It looks at some definitions of PVE and the role of education in fostering inclusive and equitable environments, encouraging critical thinking, promoting tolerance and respect for diversity, and thereby contributing to wider social cohesion and the reduction of violence in all forms. Available in English, Arabic, French, Spanish, and Portuguese. See INEE’s thematic page for more on PVE.

Please click the link to read the Education Policy Working Group Charter and Work Plan.


Paris Symposium and Declaration

A High-Level Symposium co-organized by UNESCO’s International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP), INEE, and its Working Group on Education and Fragility on 8 April 2013, brought together around 200 education stakeholders who discussed the challenges of providing quality education in conflict-affected contexts, and to offer concrete recommendations to promote the implementation of conflict-sensitive education.

The symposium Declaration called for the prioritization of conflict sensitive education in conflict affected contexts, promoting a common framework to provide quality education to children, youth and adults affected by violence and armed conflicts. (Watch the video of the signees.)

The Declaration encourages the adoption of the INEE Guiding Principles and the use of the INEE Conflict Sensitive Education Pack

Conflict Sensitive Education - Why and How? (Symposium)

Organized by UNESCO-IIEP and INEE through its Working Group on Education and Fragility, this high-level symposium launched the INEE harmonized approach and tools to introduce conflict-sensitivity in education policies, programmes and investment.

The Symposium launched of the INEE harmonized approach and tools to introduce conflict sensitivity in education policies, programmes and investment.

The participants are expected to endorse a Common Framework for prioritizing conflict-sensitive education in crisis-affected countries, and for the further mobilization of all key stakeholders around concerted actions to help these countries achieve Education for All targets and the MDGs.

This Common Framework is also expected to support conflict-affected countries applying for funding to the Global Partnership for Education to ensure that their education plans are not conflict-blind.

Related links:

  • "Conflict Sensitive Education: Why and How"
  • "Conflict Sensitive Education: Why and How"  - background

The International Symposium on Education, Fragility and Conflict

The symposium brought together academic research and practice in the area of education and fragiity, and conflict, and will provide a platform for reciprocal learning, the exchange of ideas and knowledge-building in this crucial subfield of educational development.  The symposium aimed to create and sustain stronger bonds between the academic community and the practitioner community within international aid, through Paulo Freire’s notion of praxis, which involves reflecting critically and acting meaningfully on the world in order to change it.


Key Resources

Situational Analyses on Education and Fragility using the Analytic Framework on Education and Fragility (2009 - 2010)


This report synthesizes four situational analyses commissioned by the INEE Working Group on Education and Fragility with the intent to provide key data needed to better understand the relationship between education and fragility in a variety of contexts. For this purpose, the four countries – Afghanistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cambodia, and Liberia – were selected to encompass a range of diff erent types and stages of fragility, with diverse historical antecedents and locations across diff erent geographical areas. This synthesis report aims to present the fi ndings of the case studies and, through comparisons guided by various analytic frameworks, generate insights and recommendations for policy and programming, as well as identify possible areas for further research.

  • Afghanistan - This study analyzes the formidable challenges that education actors face in Afghanistan, such as security threats from the Taliban, the opium economy, ineffective aid distribution, and government corruption.
  • Bosnia-Herzegovina - This study examines Bosnia and Herzegovina after the signing of the General Framework Agreement for Peace in 1995, which made the task of educational reform exceptionally challenging.
  • Cambodia - This study presents an analytic narrative of historical and current fragility in Cambodia, while specifically considering how education has been affected by fragility.
  • Liberia - This study considers the impact that fragility has had on education and how education played a major role in the historic patterns of exclusion and marginalization in Liberia.

Other INEE Guidelines and Tools

  • Analytic Framework of Education and Fragility (2009-2010)
  • Reference Guide on External Education Financing (2010) [English] [Spanish] [French] [Arabic] [Brief] [PPT]
  • Training Programs for Teachers and Education Workers in the Field of Peacebuilding and Conflict-Transformation (2012) [Report] [Database
  • Working Group Papers and Reports
  • Private Sector Engagement in Education: Conflict-Affected and Fragile Contexts (2014)
  • The Multiple Faces of Education in Conflict-Affected and Fragile Contexts [Report] [Brief] [PPT]
  • Appropriate and Effective Financing Modalities and Channels for Education in Fragile Situations
  • Framing Paper on Education Finance in States Affected by Fragility (2008)
  • Annotated List of Research Questions on Education and Fragility (2008)
  • Capacity Development for Education Systems in Fragile Contexts (2009)
  • European Commission’s Study of Governance Challenges for Education in Fragile Situations
  • Policy Roundtable on Education Finance in States Affected by Fragility
  • Note from the Working Group on Education and Fragility on Terminology (2009)
  • Roundtable Discussion: Health and Education in Conflict-Affected and Fragile Contexts – Bridging the Development Gap and Enhancing Collaborations (2013) [Concept Note] [Final Report]

Policy Reports on Education and Fragility:

  • Policy Roundtable on Education Finance in States Affected by Fragility (December 2008)
  • DRC Policy Dialogue Forum Report (October 2012) [English] [French]
  • DRC Policy Dialogue Forum Executive Summary (October 2012) [English] [French]

Education and Fragility Newsletter

The newsletter contains information and resources of interest and relevance to those working in education in fragile and conflict-affected contexts, and updates on activities of the INEE Working Group on Education and Fragility and its member agencies. The newsletter was published between 2011 and 2013.  See past editions here:

  • 2014:  January
  • 2013:  November/December   October   September   August   July  June  May   April   March   February   January
  • 2012:   December   November   October   September   August   July

Essential Resources on Education and Fragility:

  • Cfbt Education Trust and Brookings Center For Universal Education (2012). Building effective teacher salary systems in fragile and conflict-affected states. Washington, DC.
  • Cfbt Education Trust and Brookings Center For Universal Education (2012). Synthesis Research Report: State-Building, Peace-Building and Service Delivery in Fragile and Conflict-Affected States. Washington, DC.
  • Education Above All (2012). Education for global citizenship. Doha: EAA.
  • Global Coalition To Protect Education From Attack (2012). Lessons in war: Military use of schools and other education institutions during conflict. New York: GCPEA.
  • Global Education Cluster (2013). Protecting education in countries affected by conflict.
  • Kotite, P. (2013). Education for conflict prevention and peacebuilding: Meeting the global challenges of the 21st century. Paris: UNESCO-IIEP.
  • Save The Children (2012). Breaking the cycle of crisis: Learning from Save the Children's delivery of education in conflict-affected and fragile states. London.
  • Sigsgaard, M. (2012). Conflict-sensitive education policy: A preliminary review. Doha: Education Above All.
  • UNESCO-IIEP and UNICEF WCARO (2011). Integrating conflict and disaster risk reduction into education sector planning. Paris: International Institute for Educational Planning.
  • UNICEF (2011). The role of education in peacebuilding: A synthesis report for findings from Lebanon, Nepal, and Sierra Leone. London.