Field Programs and Policies

This girl’s school was partially destroyed in an attack by an armed group in the Central African Republic.
© 2009 Sven Torfinn
In order to protect education from attack, field based practitioners, communities and government education actors in a number of affected countries have developed a range of programs and policies to reduce or prevent attacks on teachers, students and education institutions. Field-based responses to attacks on education aim to protect civilian lives, limit the damage to school buildings and the disruption to education services, prevent future attacks of this nature, and protect the right to education for all.

The aim of this initiative is to contribute to establishing an evidence base that shows that certain programs and policies are effective in protecting students, teachers, schools and universities from attack. This evidence can then be used to advocate with development partners and practitioners for increased support and implementation of these measures.

Among the range of measures employed by affected countries include:

  • Physical protection, including unarmed or armed school guards, the reinforcement of school infrastructure, student or teacher housing, alternative transportation or escorts, avoidance of high risk routes to school, arming of teachers, or rapid response plans
  • Community involvement in protection, including community-based protection committees, school-based protection committees, school management committees, community involvement in peace building, or involvement of religious leaders
  • Alternative delivery of education, including community-based schools, temporary schools, schooling for refugees, mobile training teams, summer sessions, or distance learning
  • Negotiations with stakeholders to make schools conflict-free zones
  • Restricting military and political use of schools
  • Conflict-sensitive reform at the education systems level, including policy to address the causes of conflict such as improving equitable access to education and reforming the curriculum to respond to the learning needs of marginalized groups and promote peace
  • Advocacy initiatives including use of media, human rights/child rights training and awareness, coalition building, direct actions, public hearings, youth mobilization
  • Monitoring and reporting attacks on education for early warning, rapid response, advocacy and accountability

GCPEA has undertaken a multi-year initiative to:

  • Establish a knowledge baseline of field-based protection and response programs and initiatives and identify knowledge gaps
  • Identify areas for research and methods of evaluation to contribute to effective practice
  • Identify good practices and make recommendations for protecting education at the field level

In 2014, GCPEA will release the following papers examining programs and policies that protect education from attack:

  • Community involvement in protecting education from attack: There is a strong sense that the diverse ways of involving communities themselves in ensuring the safety of their students, teachers, and schools are among the most effective methods of protection. However, relatively little research or evaluation indicates how, why, and when these practices most successfully prevent, mitigate, or respond to attacks on education. This briefing paper assesses a number of good practices for community involvement in the protection of education.
  • Protection of teachers from attack: Educators have a vital role to play in protecting classrooms, students and other teachers. This briefing paper will review and examine good practices in protecting teachers, as well as teachers’ contributions to protecting education.
  • Research scoping study on programs to protect education from attack: The scoping paper will identify what is already known about the effectiveness of select programs for protecting education; where there are gaps in this knowledge; and priorities for future research for evaluating the effectiveness of these measures.

These papers build on previous work carried out by GCPEA, including a Knowledge Roundtable in Thailand in November 2011 attended by teams of education sector practitioners, human rights activists, ministry of education officials, NGO representatives and UN agency staff, with participants from 15 countries. In addition to the information shared among participants, GCPEA published a report of the meeting proceedings, produced a Study on Field-based Programmatic Measures to Protect Education from Attack that documented nine types of measures in 20 countries, and developed priorities for a research agenda on programmatic measures.