All children have the right to education, including in emergency and conflict contexts. Making education inclusive for everyone in emergencies is fundamental.
- Remember, all children can and have the right to learn;
- Acknowledge and respect differences in children: age, gender, ethnicity, language, disability, HIV and other status, etc.;
- Enable education structures, systems and methodologies to meet the needs of all children. Simple tips can help to make school infrastructures (access to the school building and accessibility inclassroom) andlearning more welcoming to everyone;
- Changing and restructuring culture, policies and practices in schools will promote an inclusive society. Emergency and recovery situations can bring opportunities for such changes;
- A dynamic process that is constantly evolving where emergency contexts bring opportunities to look at education with fresh perspective, to rebuild accessible and inclusive facilities and promote through training and accompaniment inclusive teaching practices.
Tips to make education in emergency accessible and inclusive:
- Emergency education assessments should have disaggregated data on sex, age and disability. Fundamental for ensuring all children access education is to know who didn’t go to school before the emergency, why they didn’t go and where do they live. This means to build in these simple questions into surveys and rapid assessment tools. Include in the assessment to ask children about who is not going to school, they are a great source of information;
- Liaise with groups and organisations in the affected areas (such as DPOs or self-help groups) to step-by-step get an accurate picture of which children are excluded and why, to define what is needed to include them;
- Set-up a community (or camp) education council where community leaders, teachers, parents representatives, representatives of persons with disabilities etc. are involved. A wide participation will ensure a smoother appropriation of any of the future implementation steps;
- Work with the community education council, the parents and the children to come up with a plan for making it easier for them to get to school and to have a positive experience once there;
- Support teachers to adapt the system to the learner.Classroom arrangements, trainings, focus group discussions, teachers supports are areas where it is easy to improve inclusion and accessibility and identify quick wins to make your education programme inclusive;
- Provide accessible school prepared kit;
- Try to identify resource persons with more knowledge on inclusive education or bring in expertise from other organisations;
Detailed guidance can be found with The Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies and from UNICEF guidance book (see sources below).
Organisations working on education in emergencies should plan for inclusive education in a gradual process, knowing that there is not an overnight solution to all challenges. In any context, even in resource-poor and difficult circumstances everyone can do something – no matter how small – to start being more inclusive.
Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE). Education in Emergencies: Including Everyone. INEE pocket guide to inclusive education
UNICEF. Guidance Including children with disabilities in humanitarian action – Education. 2017