Achieving Education for All: Good Practice in Crisis and PostConflict Reconstruction

A Handbook for Education Policy Makers and Practitioners in Commonwealth Countries

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Conflict, natural disasters and other difficult circumstances present major obstacles to achieving the Millennium Development Goal of providing universal primary education by 2015. Commonwealth ministers of education are committed to developing strategies to strengthen education programmes for preventing conflict and mitigating the impact of conflict and natural disasters on education in disrupted societies.

This study focuses on sixteen Commonwealth countries in Africa, where the incidence of conflict is most easily seen, though many of the other problems discussed here have their parallels in other parts of the world, such as the 2004 Indian ocean tsunami.

The publication reviews selected African experiences of education in

• conflict situations

• natural disasters

• other difficult circumstances

and elaborates on the role education plays

• before emergencies occur, including its presence as a factor of exclusion

• during crisis situations and the ensuing responses

• afterwards in recovery, reconstruction and rehabilitation.

This practical guide will assist policymakers and others worldwide to better understand the complex issues and options that exist in decisionmaking; to share best practice in addressing situations arising from conflict, emergencies, and difficult circumstances; and to mitigate the effects on schooling while fostering a climate of tolerance, gender equality and diversity.




Africa faces the age-old challenge of overcoming hunger, poverty, disease and ignorance so that its peoples can enjoy longer, more prosperous and more fulfilling lives. In order to close the existing gaps in welfare, huge additional resources are needed, as well as a big effort and strong motivation on the part of African populations and their governments. What is so tragic is that the numerous formidable challenges posed by lacklustre economies, and in many countries poor resource endowment, have so often been compounded by emergencies in the form of human conflicts and natural catastrophes such as floods, drought and desertification, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis.


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