This special issue of Prospects highlights the devastating effects of armed conflict on education. The 2011 Education for All Global Monitoring Report (GMR) identifies armed conflict as one of the most serious obstacles to progress towards the Education for All (EFA) goals. It is creating a “hidden crisis” that is reinforcing poverty, undermining economic growth, and holding back the progress of nations (UNESCO 2011). The relationship between armed conflict and education is two-way. Armed conflict is both having a devastating impact on education, and schools are too often used to transmit intolerance, prejudice, and social injustice in ways that reinforce perceived grievances and contribute to violence.
Drawing on selected background papers prepared for the GMR, this special issue presents evidence of this two-way relationship. It identifies how NGOs and international aid agencies can support education in conflict-affected countries, while highlighting the challenging circumstances in which they frequently operate. Based on the experiences of countries that have started to make a transition from conflict to peace, these articles also show that, with the commitment of national governments and aid donors, rapid education reconstruction is feasible.