Building resilient education systems: a rapid review of the education in emergencies literature

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the vulnerabilities and inequalities of national education systems and hindered the education of millions of children globally. In response, the Global Education Monitoring (GEM) Centre, which is a long-term, strategic partnership between the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) and the Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), undertook a rapid review of literature to support policymakers. The research has six evidence-based outcomes that can help policymakers to build resilient education systems and thereby enhance education quality and equity during emergencies. The COVID-19 emergency provided the impetus for this research, with much of the reported data associated with this pandemic. Learnings from past education in emergencies have informed the understandings of the impacts and implications of the COVID-19 emergency, and have been synthesised with the COVID-19 literature to inform policymakers about how to build resilient education systems. This report presents evidence relating to two main types of emergencies affecting education: natural disasters and communicable disease, and political conflicts. Both types of emergencies can also coalesce within the same education system, resulting in complex and often protracted emergencies. This review found that emergencies impact education in two main ways: endangering children’s wellbeing, and magnifying disparities in learning outcomes.


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