New UN handbook seeks to ensure quality education for children in conflict

Received by e-mail, From: Global HRE List Moderator, Date: 08/07/2010.

NEW YORK, 7 JULY 2010 – UNICEF and partners today announced minimum standards for education to help the 25 million children in countries and territories affected by conflict who are currently missing out on their right to primary education.

“The Minimum Standards for Education: Preparedness, Response and Recovery” updates a highly successful handbook that was translated into 23 languages and used in more than 80 countries by education and development professionals during emergencies. 

“UNICEF’s experience in emergencies shows that one of the best things for children is to get them back in school,” said Ellen van Kalmthout, Senior Education Specialist of UNICEF. “This handbook is an important tool to help government officials, international aid workers and other partners react when emergencies strike, schools are damaged and destroyed, and children’s education is at risk.”

The 114-page handbook, produced by the Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE) and supported by UNICEF, aims to raise the quality of education in emergency situations and provides a universal framework for ensuring the right to education for children affected by crisis. The 2010 edition encourages preparedness, response and recovery. It also focuses on the links between education, disaster risk reduction and conflict mitigation.

The standards also hold the humanitarian community accountable for providing quality education without discrimination, and for coordinating their efforts to ensure the best possible outcome for children in need.

In the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake, UNICEF and its partners employed the Minimum Standards to conduct a rapid needs assessment for emergency education and to plan a response accordingly. Key responders and partners used the guidelines in the handbook as a common map to move forward.

In Chad, UNICEF and partners have used the Minimum Standards to assist with decisions about codes of conduct for teachers and to assess the effectiveness of work plans.

The new standards are flexible enough to be a practical guide for response at the community level while also providing national governments and other authorities with a framework to coordinate their education activities.

INEE Guidance Notes on Teaching and Learning, INEE Reference Guide on External Education Financing and INEE Gender Pocket Guide will also be launched along with the 2010 edition of the Minimum Standards. Visit www.ineesite.org for further information.

UNICEF Press release

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