Promote Field-Based Responses

Field-based practitioners, communities, and ministries responsible for education have developed a range of policies and programs intended to reduce or prevent attacks on teachers, students, and education institutions. These policies and programs aim to protect civilian lives and the right to education for all; limit damage to school buildings; ensure continuity in education when attacks occur; and prevent future attacks.

By improving safety and security measures for schools, and ensuring that measures are in place for safe education to be available even after an attack on education, the most adverse impacts of attacks can be mitigated or prevented. Such measures should take gender into account, by assessing whether and how girls’ schools, and female students and teachers, may face heightened or different risks, including sexual violence.

GCPEA documents good practices and advances a knowledge base from which practitioners, policy-makers, and community-based actors can draw, regarding different protective measures and where and how they can be appropriately applied to different contexts.

Measures employed by affected countries include:

Physical protection, including unarmed or armed school guards, the reinforcement of school infrastructure, student or teacher housing, alternative transportation or escorts, avoidance of high-risk routes to school, arming of teachers, or rapid response plans;

Risk assessments to identify possible threats to the school, students, and teachers, and to assess the probability of future attack;

Community involvement in protection, including community-based protection committees, school-based protection committees, school management committees, community involvement in peace building, or involvement of religious leaders;

Alternative delivery of education, including community-based schools, temporary schools, schooling for refugees, mobile training teams, summer sessions, or distance learning;

Negotiations with stakeholders to make schools conflict-free zones;

Restricting military and political use of schools;

Conflict-sensitive reform at the education systems level, including policy to address the causes of conflict such as improving equitable access to education and reforming the curriculum to respond to the learning needs of marginalized groups and promote peace;

Advocacy initiatives, including use of media, human rights/child rights training and awareness, coalition building, direct actions, public hearings, youth mobilization;

Monitoring and reporting attacks on education for early warning, rapid response, advocacy, and accountability.

GCPEA’s research on how to better protect education at the field level

GCPEA has produced a series of briefing papers on concrete steps and programmatic measures being implemented at both the local and government level to protect education from attack. GCPEA also held a workshop, Promising Practices in Protecting Education from Attack and Schools from Military Use in Istanbul, Turkey on October 5-7, 2015. At the Workshop, over 75 education and protection stakeholders working for Ministries of Education, UN agencies, and local and international NGOs in more than 13 countries affected by attacks, gathered to discuss measures for protecting education and to consider how these approaches could be adapted to different contexts.

The briefing papers and the Istanbul Workshop build upon previous work carried out by GCPEA, including a Knowledge Roundtable in Thailand in November 2011 attended by teams of education sector practitioners, human rights activists, ministry of education officials, NGO representatives and UN agency staff, with participants from 15 countries.

GCPEA Resources

What Schools Can Do to Protect Education from Attack and Military Use
Summary Report of the Workshop on Promising Practices for Protecting Education from Attack and Schools from Military Use
What Ministries Can Do to Protect Education from Attack and Schools from Military Use: A Menu of Actions
Protecting Education Personnel from Targeted Attack in Conflict-Affected Countries
The Role of Communities in Protecting Education from Attack: Lessons Learned
Study on Field-based Programmatic Measures to Protect Education from Attack