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.
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:
In 2014, the Education and Fragility Working Group was reconstituted as the Education Policy Working Group.
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.
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.
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.
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: toolkit.ineesite.org/conflict_sensitive_education
See INEE’s CSE thematic page and CSE Learning Community page for more.
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:
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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: