Education in emergencies

Conflicts, natural disasters and pandemics keep millions of children out of school and the numbers are rising. In crisis-affected countries, school-age children are more than twice as likely to be out of school as their peers in other countries.

As the UN lead agency for education, UNESCO plays an active role in promoting lifelong quality education for all people – children, youth, and adults – as a part of emergency response and for long-term recovery. UNESCO’s work in this field is anchored in the Education 2030 Agenda, which aims to ‘develop education systems that are more resilient and responsive in the face of conflict, social unrest and natural hazards – and to ensure that education is maintained during emergency, conflict and post-conflict situations’.

Even in critical emergency circumstances when communities have lost everything, education remains at the top of the priority list for families. UNESCO helps strengthen education systems in times of crisis to ensure life-saving messages reach children and their families; protects children and youth from attack, abuse, and exploitation; supports peace-building; and provides physical and psychological safety to children. Investing in education in times of crisis builds resilience and social cohesion across communities, and is fundamental to sustained recovery.