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Drivers of (in)coherence in the delivery of education in northeast Nigeria

Working paper

Written by Moizza Binat Sarwar, Olha Homonchuk, Susan Nicolai

Image credit:Sangere - Girei - Adamawa state - northeast Nigeria. February 2016. Photo by Immanuel Afolabi

The education system in northeast Nigeria has faced severe disruptions because of persistent clashes between multiple militia groups and government security forces since the late 2000s. Protracted conflict has led to the displacement of teachers and students and widespread school closures, as well as physical and psychological harm to children.

While much of the policy discourse focuses on rebuilding and securing school infrastructure in the Northeast, this paper takes a deeper look at how relationships and dynamics among key actors in the education sector affect the coherence of the system, a crucial factor in enhancing the quality of education.

Specifically, the paper explores horizontal and vertical alignment within the education system in areas such as financing, curriculum, teacher training and measures of learning outcomes. The study brings attention to several critical issues: low normative commitment to education among humanitarian and federal government actors; suboptimal coordination between humanitarian and state-level government actors; ambiguous distribution of responsibilities within the government’s education sector; challenges in teacher recruitment and training; and data utilisation gaps.

Furthermore, this paper theoretically contributes to the field of Education in Emergencies (EiE) by linking the concepts of ‘coherence for learning’ (Pritchett, 2015) with those of ‘humanitarian-development coherence’ (OECD, 2017; INEE, 2021). By doing so, we enhance our understanding of education systems in protracted crisis settings, anticipating further refinements and application of the framework developed here in future research.