This indicator includes targeted and indiscriminate attacks on schools and universities.

Schools and universities should be understood in a broad sense: the term includes primary and secondary schools, colleges, as well as kindergartens, preschools, technical and vocational training schools, and non formal education sites. It also includes related infrastructure, such as playgrounds, libraries, school buses, university campus and educational buildings that have been evacuated because of security threats posed during armed conflict. Not included, however, are institutions dedicated to the training and education of personnel who are, or who will become, members of the fighting forces or parties to armed conflict (e.g., military colleges and any other training establishments.) See more in GCPEA's Guidelines for Protection Schools and Universities from military use during armed conflict

Attacks on educational facilities include airstrikes, ground strikes, bombing/shelling, explosions, looting, burning, direct threats, vandalism, etc. It also includes attacks that occur in reasonable proximity to a school, because of the damages they can cause to educational facilities infrastructure. Although they do not meet GCPEA’s criteria for an attack, schools and universities may close due to generalised insecurity related to the armed conflict and such closures may be worth documenting and reporting.


Attacks on education facilities have important impacts on access and availability of education as well as in quality of education. Furthermore, schools are protected civilian objects under international humanitarian law. Therefore they benefit from the humanitarian principles of distinction and proportionality.  The indicator may be applied at a national or subnational level. After desegregation by incident, you may want to look for patterns or trends in the region/sub-region.


Available data: 

Virtual library of the Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary General for Children and Armed Conflict, OCHA’s Humanitarian Data Exchange’s Education and Conflict Monitor, the reports of the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack (GCPEA), and GCPEA and Insecurity Insight’s Education in Danger newsbrief.

Human Rights Standards: 

Article 13 (4), International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; Article 29 (2), Convention on the Rights of the Child; Article 13 (5), Article 7, (g) (i) & article 8 (2) (b) (ix), Rome Statute;; Articles 50 & 94, Geneva Convention IV; Article 51, 52 & 78, Additional Protocol to the Geneva Conventions; Protocol of San Salvador; Article 11 (7), African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child; Article 13, Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities; Article 14 (3), European Union Charter of Fundamental Rights; Article 27 (3) ILO Convention 169;  Article 17, European Social Charter (Revised; Safe Schools declaration; Safe Schools Declaration. UN Security Council resolutions: 1261 (1999), 1314 (2000), 1379 (2001), 1460 (2003), 1539 (2004), 1612 (2005), 1820 (2008), 1882 (2009), 1998 (2011), 2068 (2012), 2143 (2014), 2225 (2015), 2427 (2018).

Levels of disaggregation: 
For each incident, identify: I. Alleged perpetrator A. State armed forces B. Non state armed groups II. Type of Attack A. Allegedly targeted/Non targeted attack B. Form of attack (airstrike, bombing/shelling, burning, arson, IEDs/explosives, theft/looting, raid, etc.) III. Extent of damages A. Is the school partially or completely closed or not allowed to open? B. Number of school days missed C. Number of children out of school D. Material damages to classes (wall, windows, roof), leisure areas (playground, library, school court, cafeteria), infrastructure (water, electricity, sanitation), school material (tables, school board, books, toys). E. Human casualties (injuries and/or deaths) disaggregated by age group and gender

Document specially, for each incident: the date, place and time of the attack (determine if it is ongoing, if it happened during school hours, if the facility was opened at the time of the attack); who is allegedly responsible for the attack (perpetrator); the nature of the attack (describe how the attack took place and any other relevant information), and consequences of the attack.

Consider using visual data to illustrate your findings. For an example on how to document using visual data, see the RTE multimedia report on education under attack in eastern Ukraine.

Be aware that civilians might be intimidated and/or threatened by armed parties and face particular risks if they collaborate in monitoring. Make sure your sources are aware of the risks and are willing to cooperate despite this. Check ethical and child safeguarding guidelines in our monitoring guide: Monitoring Education Under Attack from a Human Rights’ Perspective.