The Guidelines were drawn up with the aim of better protecting schools and universities from use by armed groups for military purposes, and to minimise the negative impact that armed conflict has on students’ safety and education. They provide concrete guidance to states and non-state armed groups for the planning and execution of military operations. They may also serve as a tool for organisations engaged in monitoring, programming, and advocacy related to the conduct of armed conflicts.
States and intergovernmental bodies are urged to encourage all parties to armed conflicts to act in accordance with these Guidelines, and to help enable them to do so.
Endorsement of the Safe Schools Declaration by states includes a commitment to endorse and use the Guidelines, by implementing them through domestic policies.
Commentary to the Guidelines is available, here.
The Safe Schools Declaration is an inter-governmental political commitment that provides countries the opportunity to express support for protecting students, teachers, schools, and universities from attack during times of armed conflict; the importance of the continuation of education during armed conflict; and the implementation of concrete measures to deter the military use of schools.
By joining the Safe Schools Declaration, states commit to undertake several common-sense steps to make it less likely that students, teachers, schools, and universities will be attacked, and to mitigate the negative consequences when such attacks occur.
These measures include:
- collecting reliable data on attacks and military use of schools and universities
- providing assistance to victims of attacks
- investigating allegations of violations of national and international law and prosecuting perpetrators where appropriate
- developing and promoting 'conflict sensitive' approaches to education
- seeking to continue education during armed conflict
- supporting the UN's work on the children and armed conflict agenda
- using the Guidelines for Protecting Schools and Universities from Military Use during Armed Conflict, and bringing them into domestic policy and operational frameworks as far as possible and appropriate
The Declaration is also a framework for collaboration and exchange, and endorsing states agree to meet on a regular basis to review implementation of the Declaration and use of the Guidelines.
This publication identifies trends in the practice and contribution of UN human rights mechanisms to the protection of education in times of insecurity and armed conflict and offers recommendations on how such protection might be strengthened.
On 19 September 2008, the Committee on the Rights of the Child devoted its Day of General Discussion to: “The Right of the Child to Education in Emergency Situations” (CRC articles 28 and 29). The report includes a background, a summary of the discussions and recommendations.
This report tells the stories of some of the world’s 6.4 million refugee children and adolescents under UNHCR’s mandate who are of primary and secondary school-going age, between 5 and 17. In addition, it looks at the educational aspirations of refugee youth eager to continue learning after secondary education, and examines the conditions under which those who teach
refugees carry out their work.
Education data on refugee enrolments and population numbers is drawn from UNHCR’s population database, reporting tools and education surveys and refers to 2016. The report also references global enrolment data from the UNESCO Institute for Statistics referring to 2015.
The second edition of the Global Education Monitoring Report (GEM Report) presents the latest evidence on global progress towards the education targets of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
With hundreds of millions of people still not going to school, and many not achieving minimum skills at school, it is clear education systems are off track to achieve global goals. The marginalised currently bear the most consequences but also stand to benefit the most if policy-makers pay sufficient attention to their needs. Faced with these challenges, along with tight budgets and increased emphasis on results-oriented value for money, countries are searching for solutions. Increased accountability often tops the list.
The 2017/8 GEM Report shows the entire array of approaches to accountability in education. It ranges from countries unused to the concept, where violations of the right to education go unchallenged, to countries where accountability has become an end in itself instead of a means to inclusive, equitable and high-quality education and lifelong learning for all.
The report emphasises that education is a shared responsibility. While governments have primary responsibility, all actors – schools, teachers, parents, students, international organizations, private sector providers, civil society and the media – have a role in improving education systems. The report emphasises the importance of transparency and availability of information but urges caution in how data are used. It makes the case for avoiding accountability systems with a disproportionate focus on narrowly defined results and punitive sanctions. In an era of multiple accountability tools, the report provides clear evidence on those that are working and those that are not.
According to UNESCO, 264 million children and youth are still out of school around the world, and this is only accounting for the primary (61 million) and secondary school (203 million) age population. In particular, the poorest and most marginalised, including ethnic and religious minorities, persons with disabilities, girls, and populations experiencing conflict, are often systematically unable to access and complete a full cycle of quality education. The first volume of NORRAG Special Issue (NSI) is dedicated to examining international frameworks and national policy as well as the challenges of fulfilling the right to education in practice.
The inaugural issue of NSI on the Right to Education Movements and Policies: Promises and Realities aims to highlight the global and national level experience and perspective on guaranteeing the right to education, as outlined in international frameworks, national constitutions, legislation, and policy, when creating the required administrative structures to ensure that the right is respected, protected, and fulfilled for all.
The Issue is divided into six parts, each focusing on a specific theme of right to education policy and practice. The first part includes an article written by RTE staff on The Role of Court Decisions in the Realisation of the Right to Education, which draws on RTE's background paper on accountability for the GEM Report 2017-8.
As highlighted by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), refugee education is today in crisis. With millions of people who are currently refugees mainly hosted in low- and middle income countries as well as in least developed countries, the challenges are important. In view of Education 2030 – Sustainable Development Goal 4 and the recent massive influx of refugees UNESCO seeks to draw attention to the fact that, in order to guarantee the right to education for all, it is critical that all those in a refugee-like situation enjoy equal access to an education of good quality.
This Working Paper aims to provide an overview of the international legal framework protecting the right to education of refugees worldwide, including the obligations of States, as well as the main current issues. It also shows that, despite the existence of a strong applicable framework to guarantee the right to education of refugees worldwide, the challenges and obstacles encountered in this context may dramatically prevent its enjoyment. The paper also emphasizes that, even though ensuring the right to education is fundamental in all phases of the situation, there is a particular need to draw attention to the stabilisation phase. This phase relates to a structural context involving host states’ educational policies and legal frameworks as well as matters related to the adaptation and integration. With a view to effectively protecting the right to education for refugees and seeking sustainable policy solutions, the main features of the right to education – availability, accessibility, acceptability and adaptability – may offer a relevant framework for States to adopt and implement solid legal and policy national frameworks prohibiting discrimination or exclusion based on any ground and protecting fundamental rights. Therefore, sustainable policy responses based on effective implementation of States’ legal obligations will ensure the fulfilment of refugees’ right to education, responding to the ambition of an inclusive and equitable quality education by 2030.
Of the 57 million children worldwide without access to education, over one third lives in settings of conflict and fragility (UNESCO, 2015). The escalating crisis in Syria has contributed significantly to this out-of-school population, with well over half of 1.4 million Syrian refugee children and adolescents not in school (UNICEF, 2016). While education in emergencies has risen as a policy priority in the mandates of international organizations (Menashy and Dryden-Peterson, 2015), the share of total overseas development assistance to education has declined sharply in recent years, with funding persistently low in conflict-affected states (UNESCO, 2015; 2016). Within this context, private sector engagement in education has become increasingly appealing to a growing portion of the international community. Private actors have responded in turn, spurring new initiatives, funding commitments and partnership arrangements to advance the cause of educating refugee children. Such commitments are indicative of the growing role of private entities as both educational funders and providers in contexts of crisis. This study explores the complex interrelationship between conflict and private sector participation through a case study of the education of Syrian refugees. It is estimated that 900,000 Syrian refugee children and adolescents are not enrolled in school, with enrolment rates for Syrian refugees at only 70% in Jordan, 40% in Lebanon, and 39% in Turkey (UNHCR, 2016b). Although private engagement in this context is evidently expanding, the exact nature and scale of this involvement has been unclear. This research seeks to better understand which private entities are engaging in the sector, the activities through which private companies and foundations support education, and the rationales and motivations that drive their involvement.