Two girls wearing yellow-billed hats in conversations among other children groups in the background

Emergencies Disrupt Education

Humanitarian emergencies—including conflicts, mass displacement, natural disasters and health crises—cause severe disruptions to education for millions of children, making them more susceptible to exploitation, poverty, ill health, and a host of negative coping mechanisms.

In the coming years, we envision Teach For All partners supporting thousands of crisis-affected children in countries across the world and building a network of young leaders who will work to transform systems to better serve these communities and ensure all children, regardless of their circumstances, can fulfill their potential.

Sign up for the EiE newsletter >

The Global Learning Emergency for Crisis-Affected Children

1 in 4 of the world’s school aged children and youth live in countries affected by crisis. Such crises have resulted in over 35 million children being forcibly displaced from their homes. Continuous access to quality learning is a top priority for children and families affected by conflicts, natural disasters, and displacement.

Emergencies can impact every aspect of the education sector, including: children’s ability to access learning, the quality of teaching and learning outcomes, the protective nature of education, and the broader functioning of the education system.

  • 75 million children are out of school globally due to conflict and crisis.

  • Girls in conflict-affected countries are nearly 2.5 times more likely to be out of school than girls elsewhere in the world.

  • Prior to COVID-19, the education of 39 million girls was disrupted as a direct result of humanitarian crises.

  • A child who is out of school for more than 1 year is unlikely to return.

  • Displacement lasts 20 years on average for refugees and more than 10 years for 90% of Internally Displaced Persons (IDP).

  • Only half of refugee children attend primary school, and less than 25% are in secondary school.

  • Emergencies increase the school dropout rate.

  • During emergencies, it is common for schools to house displaced people or be used as community clinics or morgues.

  • During a crisis, the quality of learning is hampered by overcrowded classes, with an average of 70 pupils per teacher.

  • Crises disrupt exams and/or destroy students’ exam certificates.

  • Learning materials and/or instructional time are lost during emergencies.

  • Due to population movements, classes are often multi-grade or multi-lingual.

  • Emergencies cause disruptions to peer support networks for students, parents, and teachers.

  • Emergencies can cause death, injury, or trauma among students, teachers, and parents.

  • Natural disasters or conflicts can lead to damaged or destroyed schools.

  • During conflicts, students are recruited into armed groups.

  • Due to their size and infrastructure, schools are often used as military barracks or operating posts during conflicts.

  • During and after an emergency, there can be dangerous conditions and hazards along the route to and from school.

  • Education is often the first service suspended and the last to be restored during crisis. 

  • Communities continually highlight the importance of education during times of crises, yet globally, education appeals receive less than 3% of humanitarian funding.

  • Emergencies disrupt teacher payments.

  • Crises cause teacher absenteeism.

  • Teachers leave their teaching roles to work for the influx of aid organizations. 

  • Up to 85% of forcibly displaced people are hosted by low- and middle-income countries, which puts a strain on host communities and resources.

A row of teens in graduation sashes stand in front of a school building with blown out windows and fire damage A row of teens in graduation sashes stand in front of a school building with blown out windows and fire damage

The Power of Education in Emergencies

As well as enabling children to continue their learning, Education in Emergencies (EiE) helps them adapt to new environments, form community connections, and develop critical life skills.

Because being out of school due to an emergency situation leaves crisis-affected children more vulnerable to circumstances such as child labor, child marriage, recruitment into armed groups, and food and water insecurity, education offers children much-needed stability and a return to normalcy, and promotes psychosocial wellbeing. Following a traumatic event, being back in a learning environment provides children with a sense of structure and routine, access to potentially life-saving information, and a safe place to play, learn, and heal. When crisis-affected children are in school, entire communities benefit—getting children back into learning offers a better chance to break cycles of conflict and contributes towards establishing peace and restoring communities.

In Countries Around the World, Teach For All Network Partners are Supporting Crisis-Affected Children

Across Teach For All’s global network, partner organizations are addressing emergency situations in the countries and communities where they work in multiple ways, including:

What makes our network’s approach so critical?

Bridging the gap between development and humanitarian aid
Teach For All network partners strive for both immediate and long-term impact in crisis-affected communities. Teachers are placed in high-need classrooms for a minimum of two years, and beyond this, many network alumni develop and lead social enterprises that support crisis-affected students and families.

Quality learning
Moving beyond just improving access to education, our network’s focus is on quality teaching and holistic development for students--including leadership, social emotional skills, and wellbeing, as well as academic outcomes.

We invest in the development of local leaders, who are the best positioned to respond to humanitarian crises, and address the complex challenges of the EiE learning crisis.

People-first approach
Network  partners are locally-led, independent organizations that are implementing context-appropriate EiE responses.  Partners' programming is informed by the perspectives of teachers and staff who have themselves experienced crisis situations.

Systems strengthening
Whenever possible, our partners work within existing formal education structures to sustainably support crisis-affected children.

Sharing solutions across borders
Network partners share solutions, opportunities, and best practices with one another. With over 40 Communities of Practice of teachers, alumni, and staff, the global nature of the Teach For All network accelerates the impact of each organization.

Network Alumni Working in EiE

Informed by their experience in the classroom, alumni of many Teach For All partners pursue careers supporting children and communities in emergency contexts.

Contact Us & Get Involved

If you're interested or engaged in work pertaining to Education in Emergencies and want to learn more about this initiative, subscribe to the Teach For All EiE Newsletter, join our Facebook community, and please reach out to us