Closing the Gap on Education During Crisis
It seems that every day, a new crisis emerges in some area of the world. Whether it is a natural disaster, war or a political upheaval, there is a common theme: humanitarian aid organizations are quick to respond, while education during crisis falls by the wayside.
In impoverished countries, education is typically lacking, as the need for food and shelter come first. Conflict is a leading cause of both poverty and the suspension of education.
According to An International Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE), conflict-affected countries have 20 percent of the world’s primary-school-aged children. Unfortunately, these nations also host 50 percent of the world’s out-of-school children.
Access to a quality education is the United Nation’s fourth sustainable development goal. According to the U.N., “When people can get quality education, they can break from the cycle of poverty… Education is also crucial to fostering tolerance between people and contributes to more peaceful societies.”
Many organizations are working to make education during crisis a top priority. One such organization, Education Cannot Wait, is thinking of innovative ways to give children in poor situations a quality education.
In alliance with the U.N.’s sustainable development goal, Education Cannot Wait cites five challenges that need to get conquered for all of the world’s children to receive adequate education by the year 2030. They are as follows:
- Lack of prioritization (during emergencies)
Only two percent of humanitarian aid during a crisis gets given to educational programs.
- Poor coordination between humanitarian and development groups
- Preparedness in the educational sector is a problem during emergencies.
According to the INEE, individual sectors should create contingency plans that will help in creating a cohesive procedure for education during a crisis.
- Insufficient humanitarian funding
Currently, $8.5 billion is needed annually to close the education gap. Humanitarian and development efforts have not matched the frequency of crisis.
- Lack of real-time data
As the problem of inadequate education during crisis is often unrecognized, the data collected on the issue is not enough to promote change.
Many people are simply unaware that there is a problem of a lack of education during a crisis. One of the most important tools in counteracting the problem is knowledge and awareness. This is why the U.N. is also working to inform people and give clear ways to help. Here are a few ways to help today:
- Ask your government leaders to make education a priority in policy and practice.
- Lobby the government to commit to free, primary school education for all.
- Encourage the private sector to invest in education.
- Urge non-governmental organizations to foster the growth of education at the local level.
– Madeline Boeding