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Strengthening coordinated education planning and response in crises: Syria case study

Research report

Written by Susan Nicolai

Research report

The Syrian civil war began in March 2011 and has become one of the largest humanitarian crises ever recorded. In 2018, there were 5.8 million children and youth from preschool to secondary school age in need of education assistance inside Syria. Direct attacks on schools and education personnel have resulted in more than one in three schools being damaged, destroyed or used as shelter and have driven approximately 180,000 education personnel out of education systems. Insecurity and conflict have impeded humanitarian access and services, including coordinated education planning and response.

This case study examines how, in Syria, humanitarian and development actors can more effectively coordinate planning and response to strengthen education outcomes for children and young people affected by crisis. The research looks at the ‘who’, the ‘how’ and the ‘so what’ of coordination of education in emergencies and protracted crises for communities affected by crisis in Syria in 2018, resulting in recommendations for action that can be taken by different types of stakeholder involved in the Syria response.

To strengthen education outcomes for children and young people in Syria affected by crisis, humanitarian and development actors should more effectively coordinate planning and response. This study recommends that education stakeholders commit to:

  • Continue support for the Emergency Disaster Fund to facilitate dialogue and coordination across the nexus.
  • Expand the use of information-sharing protocols to increase transparency.
  • Collaboratively define ‘stabilisation actor’.
  • Prioritise formal and informal networking.
  • Avoid double hatting in coordination roles to reduce conflicts of interest.
  • Strengthen investment in capacity building for national actors and coordinators.
  • Increase transparency of how the 'Whole of Syria' (WoS) system works.
  • Ensure a strong role for the UN and WoS system in advocating for and safeguarding the humanitarian response.
  • Strengthen coordination around refugee preparedness.
  • Advocate continued international investment.
Allison Anderson, Arran Magee and Susan Nicolai