Strengthening Education Systems for Long-Term Education Responses

Thea Lacey and Marcello Viola

Forced Migration Review, Issue 60, March 2019



Street Child’s implementation of Education in Emergency (EiE) programs in Lusenda refugee camp in eastern DRC and in communities hosting IDPs in northeastern Nigeria demonstrate how the building blocks for long-term improvements in education can be laid in the earliest stages of an emergency response, even in challenging conditions. The secondary education program in Lusenda refugee camp, which demonstrated promising initial results after just one year, incorporated: (1) in-classroom mentoring of teachers, focusing on building core pedagogical competencies to offset the lack of qualifications and experience; (2) sustained focus on school management capacity (finance, administration, pedagogy) by working with head teachers and establishing parent committees; and (3) school-based income-generating projects to create additional resources for the school, engage parents and expand students’ skills. The EiE program in northeastern Nigeria supported: (a) the innovative design of temporary learning centers, which in future can be converted into permanent structures at low cost; (b) establishment of Community Education Committees to manage the centers; and (c) recruitment of local Community Volunteer Teachers who already hold a minimum qualification, and advocacy with the government to establish a mechanism for their accreditation. Key lessons learned:

  • An EiE intervention can be used to both deepen and expand core teacher competencies and skills beyond those required to meet immediate teaching needs, and such an approach can be integrated easily and cost-effectively even within a short-term intervention.
  • It is never too early in an emergency to rehabilitate weak school management and ineffective community engagement by instituting empowering, community-led models that focus on self-sufficiency.
  • An emergency intervention can address the chronic challenge of a shortage of teachers in remote and hard-to-reach areas.
  • The temporary-to-permanent infrastructure model piloted in Nigeria offers a potentially compelling approach to addressing long-term infrastructure gaps.

A core goal of interventions like these is to address, at least in part, the sustainability challenge caused by short-term funding.