Education in emergencies
There is rarely any precedence given to education in emergencies especially in poor developing countries. The governments would rather direct their meager and mostly insufficient aid towards sustaining increasing refugee populations to ensure their survival. Ensuring children in emergencies access quality education is extremely important in the efforts to not only mitigating the impact of the crisis but also ensuring quick and a stable recovery of the community (Boyden, 8). The availability of quality education restores the normalcy, gives hope by promoting the children’s psychological and social development consequently reducing the probability of the children to yield to the pressure and influence of the groups involved in violence. The purpose of this paper is to highlight the crucial steps necessary in promoting the right to quality education in the conflict zones as a solution for restoring stability, promoting economic growth, and reducing the chances of future occurrences.
The importance of education
The establishment of educational facilities and services in conflict zones proves significant in protecting the children both from physical and psychological harm. The sustainability of such institutions and the continuation of the services reduce further occurrences and vulnerabilities as the student enrollment rises with their confidence in education. Ultimately, by spending time learning, a good number of children (especially the male) evade forced recruitment into local militia, or the influence of violent gangs. The girls evade trafficking and psychosocial distress as they spend time in the secluded educative premises.
According to a research conducted by the United States Agency for International Development (2009), low education areas are prone to breakout and sustained re-occurring conflicts often unsolvable through diplomatic negotiations. Most of the areas have children making the majority of their population who learn from the older generation and continue the trends in sustaining conflicts. The USAID report further revealed that an increase of formal schooling especially for the male children reduced the probability of their involvement by 20% every year. Areas with most of the young people in school have the least chances of conflict.
Enhancing Economic Growth
Without the active involvement of the youth, there are no employment opportunities. However, with children graduating from schools, they are determined to be involved in the formal market an increase the Gross Domestic Product of their country through employment opportunities that create the income necessary to improve their standards of living as well. Ultimately, their education plays a major role in their careers and their decision to improve the market by exposing the dealers to international markets.
Education programs in conflict zones are designed to address the issues of the area by using illustrations that are directly applicable. The students are able to associate with their problems and apply their knew knowledge practically to improve their poor situations. Finding civil and diplomatic ideas to create solutions in the education system gives the students the confidence and courage to aggressively pursue the theoretical strategies in in real life issues. Although education is a long term solution to peace, it is the most sustainable because it targets the next generation of citizens ensuring that their methods of conflict resolutions are refined and reasonable without violence. The concerned organizations such as the Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE) plan and develop the curricula design helpful in ensuring the achievement and realization of these aspects of finding solutions in the young generation.
Through the process of education, students interact with people from across the divide of the conflict. As they find common aspects and share their issues in the learning process, the students gradually develop social skills and reconciliation skills through sharing information and educative tools and equipment. Group discussions, academic competition as well as extra curricula activities are crucial tools useful in helping the students to develop the vital sociability aspect in their future. In the long run the social relations create a stable society where the rival groups involved in violent conflicts find solutions from discussions and previous interactions that create good relationships in school. The UNESCO statistical report revealed that a country with 10% of the young people attending school reduced the risk of arising conflicts by up to 4%. consequently, since most populations around the world have two thirds of their populations under the age of 20 years, the lack of education represents a risk and probability of future conflicts.
Collaboration of organizations
The Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE), whose mission is to promote the universal access to quality, safe, an appropriate education for people in conflict zones, is an appropriate platform for creating partnerships among global organizations (both non-profit and for-profit) to collaborate with humanitarian groups and other emergency response programs available.
Supporting existing policies
Through funding and employing more personnel to strengthen the existing polices, the United Nations can achieve better results from the available recommendations and programs running worldwide. With special emphasis on the USAID education strategy, for instance, the partners can increase security and adjust aspects of the policies to attain the desirable quality education in emergencies worldwide.
Efficient monitoring and report systems
Establishing efficient systems that monitor and report incidences is a crucial step in safe-guarding institutions from attacks. Through the cooperation of states and local organizations, it is possible to not only prevent and coordinate quick responses but also apprehend perpetrators. Existing UN human rights monitoring mechanisms such as the task forces are helpful to incriminate grave violations against children in schools.
Strengthening International Law
Government leaders should ensure that their countries adhere to the International law to make it effective. They can also adjust their local constitutions and align them with the Humanitarian and human rights laws and policies to avoid conflicts of interest and rules of engagement during the crucial moments of creating stability in a war-zone. For example, they should set up tribunals and prosecute violators in accordance to the international standards.
Among the limiting factors to the attainment of quality education is inadequate funds. The sector has ranked consistently as the least funded sectors in humanitarian funding, the USAID 2012 report and the UNESCO’s Schooling for Millions of Children Jeopardized by Reductions in Aid report revealed.
Attacks on schools
Conflict zones have a reputation of armed groups of violent gangs attacking schools for various reasons such as; looting the premises, sending political messages or finding recruits for their gangs to aid their missions. The disruption of the education process makes it dangerous for both teacher and students. The news of attacks on schools sends fears across other schools causing closure leading to many children dropping out as much of the time goes to waste.
The education sectors in most countries are not keen on addressing the risk reduction. By neglecting the emergency preparedness and response action in the budgets and plans, the education sectors make big unrecoverable losses at any slight occurrence of a mishap such as looting by attackers. It becomes difficult to recover from the attack consequently leading to the closure of schools as many children drop out and lose the hope of ever resuming classes. As the male children grow, the resort to joining the violent criminal activities first for lack of proper substitute activity and also for the protection of their families.
The disagreements and bridge formed between humanitarian assistance programs and local government strategies go a long way in reducing the rate of development of educational systems in war prone regions. Since the management, funding and security issues are divided between the non-profit making organizations and for-profit making organizations, the rivalry creates a strain on the support to the children causing a slow development in the education sector.
Funds play a major role in establishing and sustaining education in conflict zones. However, the acquisition of knowledge, appreciation of imagination, human ingenuity and extending goodwill are the utmost and ultimate resources that create lasting peace regardless of the origin of conflict and level of circumstances.
Government officials in areas of attacks should create warning systems to monitor schools and quick response mechanisms to ensure the rapid measures that will secure educational premises. The efficiency of such a monitoring and response system requires a good relationship between the local governments and the International organizations.
A liaising program and collaboration efforts of the Department of Foreign Disaster Assistance and the existing education programs is extremely important in tracking the needs of conflict zones, the amount of aid and how to manage and administer education to the areas.
An increase in funds directed towards the humanitarian budgets. The availability of adequate funds will enable children in fragile areas to comfortably attend classes as they no longer worry about the lack of food. This increase in levels of funding should address the specific areas in accordance to the level of desperation such as population, availability of food and security level.
Establishing monitoring and rapid response mechanisms to handle and check incidences is a crucial step in safe-guarding institutions from attacks. Moreover, the cooperation of national governments and existent local organizations is appropriate to not only prevent and coordinate quick responses but also apprehend suspects.
By all the parties involved in a peace agreement keeping their word to strive and control their masses to maintain peace, the environment will be conducive to support the education programs. The leaders should therefore rally and mobilize their subjects to enroll their children in schools and support the funding of schools to expand and accommodate as many children who are interested as possible.
The local government should also reduce the cost of education in the schools with special priority to war zones and refugee camps. The programs should also include extensive research to ensure that the students are local dwellers who benefit from the free education. Moreover, the government should strive to increase the levels of learning from junior schools to high school and sponsor excellent performance with College student fees to further their studies.
Christopher Butterfield. In Conflict Zones, Children Dying For an Education. Posted on October 4, 2013. retrieved from http://thinkprogress.org/security/2013/10/04/2733341/children-conflict-education/ on 14th May 2015
Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack.Goals and Recommendations. Retrieved from http://www.protectingeducation.org/goals-and-recommendations on 14th May 2015
Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies. 2015. Retrieved from http://www.ineesite.org/en/ on 14th May 2015
Jo Boyden with Paul Ryder.Implementing the Right to Education in Areas of Armed Conflict.A journal of the Department of International Development, Queen Elizabeth House. 2010
UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS), “Schooling for Millions of Children Jeopardized by Reductions in Aid.” 2013.