Protective environments and quality education in humanitarian contexts
International Journal of Educational Development Volume 29, Number 1, ISSN 0738-0593 Publisher: Elsevier Ltd
This paper reflects the experience of the authors working in the field of humanitarian education during the last two decades. Important changes have been witnessed since the Central American crises of the seventies, the refugee focus of the eighties and the new UN vision of the complex emergency crisis of the nineties resulting from the post Cold War scenarios of humanitarian calamity.Using some selected case studies (Colombia, Northern Caucasus, Gujarat, India, Sierra Leone), the paper underlines the need for an integrated strategy of ‘child friendly spaces’. A central aspect of this strategy needs to address a humanitarian curriculum, where the concept of quality education needs to be reconsidered. The concept of quality in education in complex emergencies should ponder educational strategies able to provide the basic conditions for a rather sustainable process of support to a ‘healing school climate’.The support and logistics of basic elements for provision of a ‘healing school climate’ are required, with the same emphasis given “as a matter of fact” to aspects concerning the cognitive domain. The emphasis on recreation and play and the development of related creative activities and expression are as important as the support and provision of reading, writing, numeracy and “life skills”.Sharpening the tools of planning implementation and hands-on field evaluation of a rapid response of humanitarian education needs more effort and technical resources. More coordinating of field based training capacity for local educators should be orientated to that end, rather than the overstatement of general guidelines, international policy/strategy meetings and conferences.
Aguilar, P. & Retamal, G. (2009). Protective environments and quality education in humanitarian contexts. International Journal of Educational Development, 29(1), 3-16. Elsevier Ltd.