To find the answer to this question, we have to ask ourselves another similar question.
What does a child need to survive through an ongoing civil war in his country? You answer that he needs food and medicine.
Then, what will be the foremost need of a boy who has experienced a tsunami? You will answer that the provision of shelter is enough for him.
Folks, the disaster didn’t inform us earlier about its happening.
When an emergency happens, the first thing that comes to mind is to fulfill our basic needs.
But what about education? Don’t you think education should be the next concern after we satisfy our necessities? Yes, it should be as important as other necessities.
Let us know through this article what is the current scenario of education amid the outbreak.
Also, identify proposed strategies of nations for emergency education.
What Is Meant by Education in Emergencies?
Education in emergencies means the availability of schooling facilities in armed disputes and climatic disasters like typhoons, tsunamis.
These disputes and disasters cause delays in the education of billions of people.
And the population count suffering from these disasters keeps on rising with COVID- 19 pandemic.
Due to pandemics, teachers are not ready to work with low salaries, and parents are unwilling to spend on children’s schooling.
Yet, UNESCO plays a functional role in improving quality education for all.
As per Education 2030 Agenda, UNESCO is focusing on improving the education systems suffering due to social unrest and natural hazards.
Moreover, in critical emergencies, UNESCO strengthens education systems to ensure life-saving stories reach children so that children feel physically and psychologically protected, which is very helpful for a speedy recovery from the crisis.
Did you know?
When any disaster hits, armed groups use schools and education institutes as evacuation shelters and camps, making them inadequate for giving education.
As per plan-international.org’s report: globally, out of the total, 35% of children of primary age, 25% of adolescents of lower secondary age, and 18% of youth of upper secondary age are out of school as they live in conflict-affected areas.
And their education will remain disturbed till the situation does not get normal.
What Is a Human Right to Education in Emergencies?
Education is a fundamental right of every individual.
This right also includes the protection of the power for persons with disabilities.
In emergencies, people do lose their rights, and thus it is unavoidable.
Different international laws like International Human Rights Law, International Humanitarian Law, and International Refugee Law were introduced to promote the emotional and physical security of children, migrants, and refugees.
Besides these, the Safe Schools Declaration (2015) would also apply.
During emergencies, the UN, NGOs, and other states all become liable to guarantee the right to education.
Education in Emergency Situations of Natural Disasters and Climatic Change
Natural disasters are a significant threat to our educational systems’ stability and future success.
They can wreak havoc, causing permanent damage that will be difficult or impossible to recover from.
Educational buildings may not withstand strong winds caused by hurricanes, so teachers must quickly find alternatives in case they’re needed.
In addition, global warming will increase the number of natural disasters, such as tsunamis and earthquakes.
To ensure that we, along with the people who depend on us, stay safe in a natural disaster or climatic change situation, everyone must know how they can handle themselves if such an emergency arises.
By choosing to do good, we can care for ourselves and those around us. Achieving this goal would not only benefit the people who are close in our lives but also society at large.
If we want to make good decisions and educate ourselves on essential knowledge, we must take the time.
With the world becoming increasingly unsafe, ensuring that your children are safe at school is more important than ever.
The UN has created a comprehensive school safety (CSS) framework for protecting kids in learning environments with three key principles:
- Reducing risk factors associated with gun violence;
- Expanding surveillance and law enforcement efforts around schools so you can feel confident about their security on any given day or evening when they’re off-campus (e-g., escorts);
- Broadening access by removing barriers like age restrictions might keep certain groups away from places where safety is assured!
Emergency development programs aim to improve the learning environment before, during, and after an event.
This can be seen in countries like Bangladesh, which have implemented such a program for their citizens facing disaster risks.
The Solomon Islands has a history of disasters, including natural and man-made ones.
As a result, they have set up guidelines for disaster preparedness to ensure that education professionals are trained psychosocially to help students deal with the situation at school or home instead of just being taught about what happened without any personal experience from those events firsthand themselves.
The Education Strategic Framework 2016-2030 suggests schools should be aware of climatic issues, disasters, and risk management.
Impacts of COVID-19 on Education
It has been reported that more than one billion children aren’t in school because of COVID-19.
The virus is spreading at an alarming rate, and as a result, many governments worldwide have ordered temporary closures to slow its spread.
This will be difficult for these youth who are trying so hard every day just to get an education before losing everything else!
The education of around 640 million pre-primary and upper secondary students is affected by this closure. And still, no one knows when everything will get back on track?
The temporary school closures cause high social & economic loss to unprivileged children.
These children are at risk of nutritional neglect because their parents cannot afford or find a place for them to get quality food when schools close.
Due to limited resources and time, working parents cannot send their children off to open schools.
They have no choice but to take care of them at home while they work or find alternative ways around missing out on day schooling by enrolling them in after-school programs like part-time jobs that can be done during student hours.
Families need more support when it comes down to making sure every single individual in the family is equally invested.
Women are a vital part of the healthcare system, often working in tandem with their childcare obligations to ensure that they can continue providing for family life.
However, the impact will be felt not only on this front but also as fewer women have access or availability due to staff shortages caused by less female representation at higher levels, negatively impacting patient care.
The reopening of schools is always an uncertain time for parents, especially if they are counting on their kids returning.
Unfortunately, the dropout rates tend to rise as you can’t guarantee that children and youth will return when class resumes after closures – which means more tuition money lost!
What Kind of Strategies Are Required in an Education Emergency?
There are a wide plethora of strategies devised by education experts that we can opt for to help improve things.
In this section, we have handpicked some of the best strategies that we think can actually make a lasting impact in an education emergency.
The strategies installed for the sound education system are as follows:
- Quick assessment and strategic planning like setting up of refugee camps, IDP camps.
- Formulation of provisions for the return of refugees or IDPs to their home country.
- The introduction of professional workshops and capacity-building programs for teachers regarding the crisis, displacement, or reconstruction should be there.
- Workshops also involve the education of school inspectors, curriculum experts, and teacher trainers.
- A proper certification process should be there.
- Restructuring of curriculum policy taking into account gender issues, inclusive education.
- For the proper allocation of resources in crises, draft mechanisms in collaboration with government, UN agencies, NGOs, and civil society organizations operating at national and district levels.
- Framing of budgets and inspections of implications of finances should be done from time to time.
With the correct and proper implementation of these strategies, it can be ensured that we have a proper backed-up response planned in an education emergency, and we do not end up wasting any precious time that may make things worse.
Should You Think of Emergency Education As a Necessity?
We will say that you can close the school, but you can not shut the door on education.
As for a better tomorrow, reopening of schools is required.
They act as a haven for children, which can bolster mental health. Moreover, education benefits children lifelong.
Getting an education is every person’s primary right- regardless of the condition.
Notably, in outbreaks, education cannot be postponed.
We hope you find this article helpful. Share your views with us by writing in the comments section below. We would love to hear from you all.
Also, if you found this article helpful, then feel free to share it with your friends and family who might find it useful.