Standards put to the test: implementing the INEE Minimum Standards for Education in Emergencies

by Allison Anderson, Gerald Martone, Jenny Perlman Robinson, Eli Rognerud and Joan Sullivan-OwomoyelaJanuary 2007

Conflicts and natural disasters take a heavy toll on education systems and deny generations the knowledge and opportunities that an education can provide. Of the 115 million primary-aged children not in school, one in three live in conflict-affected and fragile states. Millions more have no access to schooling because they live in areas affected by natural disasters.

Although education is a basic human right, education in emergencies is only just beginning to be considered as a vital relief intervention. Education is often considered as a long-term development issue, and so struggles to be recognised as a critical area of emergency response. When it is included in emergency responses, interventions usually focus on the supply of school kits and other material or school feeding, interventions that, as stand-alone activities, do not provide for quality education.

This paper presents the case for education as an essential humanitarian activity, and the INEE Minimum Standards as a tool for quality and accountability within those interventions. It sets out the preliminary implementation experience of the Minimum Standards, with a focus on pilot research in Uganda and Darfur; examines the lessons learned from having a Minimum Standards focal point in Pakistan; and presents key lessons learned to guide the provision of education in emergencies.