2010 | INEE
Wars and natural disasters deny generations the knowledge and opportunities that an education can provide. Education is not only a right, but in emergency situations through to recovery quality education provides physical, psychosocial and cognitive protection that can sustain and save lives. Education in emergencies ensures dignity and sustains life by offering safe spaces for learning, where children and youth who need other assistance can be identified and supported. Education mitigates the psychosocial impact of conflict and disasters by giving a sense of routine, stability, structure and hope for the future. It can save lives by protecting against exploitation and harm, including forced early marriage, recruitment into armed forces and armed groups or organised crime. Lastly, education provides the critical survival skills and coping mechanisms through the dissemination of lifesaving information about landmine safety, HIV/AIDS prevention, conflict resolution and peace-building.
In order to develop a tool to help achieve a minimum level of educational access and quality in emergencies through to recovery as well as to ensure the accountability of the workers who provide these services, INEE facilitated a highly consultative process that engaged national authorities, practitioners, policy-makers, academics and other educators around the world in the development of the original Minimum Standards Handbook in 2003-2004: more than 2,250 people from over 50 countries participated in a series of regional workshops to develop, debate and agree on the standards. Building upon this collaborative experience, INEE conducted a similarly consultative update process in 2009-2010: more than 1,300 representatives of national authorities, international, national and local NGOs, UN agencies, academic and research institutions from 52 countries participated in the update process. The Standards are designed for use in emergency preparedness, response, and recovery and in humanitarian advocacy. They are applicable in a wide range of situations, including natural disasters and armed conflicts. The standards give guidance on how to prepare for and respond to acute emergencies in ways that reduce risk, improve future preparedness and lay a foundation for quality education. They provide flexibility in responding to needs at the most important level – the community – while providing a harmonized framework to coordinate the educational activities of national governments, other authorities, funding agencies, and national and international agencies.
INEE’s Minimum Standards were founded on the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Dakar 2000 Education for All goals and the Sphere Project’s Humanitarian Charter. Like Sphere, the standards are meant to be used as a capacity-building and training tool. INEE believes that they will also enhance accountability and predictability among humanitarian actors, and improve coordination among partners, including education authorities.
An updated INEE Minimum Standards for Education: Preparedness, Response, Recovery was launched in June 2010. The Handbook is designed to give governments and humanitarian workers the tools that they need to address the Education for All and UN Millennium Development Goals. It is the first step toward ensuring that education initiatives in emergency situations provide a solid and sound basis for post-conflict and disaster reconstruction. The Minimum Standards cover five domains:
Each section of the handbook describes a specific domain of educational work. However, each standard intersects with others in the handbook. Where appropriate, guidance notes identify important linkages to other relevant standards or guidance notes in other domains to provide a comprehensive view of quality education. In addition, cross-cutting issues, such as human and children’s rights, gender, the right of the population to participate, HIV/AIDS, disability and vulnerability, have been incorporated into the relevant standards.