Conflict Barrier

Internally Displaced Persons

It is estimated that there are 26 million IDPs worldwide as a result of conflicts of which 13.5 million are children. There are more when those displaced by environmental disasters are included.

Why does internal displacement act as a barrier to enrollment and participation?

Internally displaced children are driven away from the schools of their original home communities through civil insurrection, ethnic conflict, tsunami, typhoon, flood, drought, earthquake, volcanic eruption or other factors. When children are swept along with their families in mass migrations, they leave the place where they may have been able to access primary education, and usually settle temporarily in a place where there is no provision of education.

Education is not planned for the sudden new arrivals in a place of temporary refuge.  Planning by ministries of education does not take into account unexpected and temporary populations.

How pervasive is it?

During flight and in displacement, children become some of the most vulnerable members of society. Internally displaced children have been forced to leave their homes behind, may have been victims of violence, and may have been separated from their families. They become increasingly at risk of forced labor, forced early marriage, domestic violence, sexual exploitation, and recruitment into armed groups.

Displacement exacerbates poverty and can cause the breakdown of family and community structures. Faced with disintegration of their social norms, displaced children can find themselves without basic necessities such as shelter and food and their education can be disrupted or terminated.

National governments have the primary responsibility for ensuring children’s rights in displacement. Yet in most cases, national governments do not provide sufficient assistance and protection for internally displaced children. Displacement can last years or even decades. In many protracted displacement situations, displaced children lack access to schools and can grow up without an education.

Example of EAC partners who are addressing this barrier

The Norwegian Refugee Council is providing bridging classes to reintegrate out of school children into formal education settings in Cote d’Ivoire. The project provides increased access to quality education for Internally Displaced Persons and returnee children in the Guémon and Cavally regions that were severely affected by the post-election crisis.

The initiative improves access to the formal education system for over 12,000 vulnerable children through bridging classes, strengthens the capacity of local NGOs to implement bridging classes, and rehabilitates 24 schools that were damaged during the 2011 crisis.

Further reading