Asia Pacific Regional Dialogue on Education In Emergencies

The ASIA Pacific Regional Dialogu eon Education in Emergencies takes place on 27/04/2022, at 1 pm (manilla time, 12.00 Phnom Peh ime)


I’s an online meeting


Draft Concept Note, Objectives and Program Design

Protect Education in Emergencies Now! An Asia Pacific Regional Dialogue

Wednesday 27 April 2022, 1:00 pm Manila time

Link to the meeting

Background and Rationale

Conflicts and disasters are increasing and becoming more severe and complex. They are a cause of widespread disruption to education for children, youth and adults. Current emergencies are caused by a combination of multiple drivers – conflicts, violence, disasters, persecution – that, according to the trends, are projected to worsen. This leads to more severe and longer emergencies that affect an increasing number of people and their right to education.


The Asia Pacific is home to most of the world’s low-lying cities and vulnerable small island states[1] The World Meteorological Organisation’s State of the Climate in Asia 2020 Report[2] observed that in 2020, extreme weather and climate change impacts in the Asia Pacific region caused the loss of life of thousands of people, displaced millions of others and cost hundreds of billions of dollars, while wreaking a heavy toll on infrastructure and ecosystems.  Intense cyclones, monsoon rains and floods hit highly exposed and densely populated areas in South Asia and East Asia and led to the displacement of millions of people in China, Bangladesh, India, Japan, Pakistan, Nepal and Vietnam in 2020. The Pacific Islands are facing intense cyclones, increasing rising sea levels, coastal flooding and erosion, including damaged school buildings. Some have also faced droughts and water scarcity, which adversely impacts on health and education. Australia has faced its most devastating bush fires and floods since records were kept. There are increased calls for models of disaster resilience education to be made available to all teachers and students.


The COVID19 pandemic has dramatically exacerbated protracted crises in relation to conflict, climate change, disasters and the forced movement of people within and across national borders. Millions of children and youth are missing out on their right to education. Girls are especially affected by crises face numerous pressures, including being subject to violence and harassment. Adolescent girls in particular are at risk of early marriage due to violence, conflict, and financial hardship. For the most marginalized people – those with disabilities, girls, and those from low-income households, among others – the impact is much greater. Girls with disabilities are more likely to lack basic literacy and numeracy skills and be out of school.


In 2021, the Asia Pacific has seen additional authoritarian regimes take control, which systematically undermined democracy, civic space, freedom of speech and a free media, including the military coup in Myanmar and the Taliban take-over in Afghanistan, further threatening human rights, and creating emergencies of hunger and poverty. Many states took on broad emergency powers during the pandemic, and at least some clearly used it as a pretext to introduce rights restrictions that will last long after the crisis has passed.


In Myanmar, over 1500 people have been killed by the junta since its military coup in February 2020. The National Unity Government (NUG), the parallel government formed out of democratic resistance has urged all students and teachers not to attend schools and would not recognize degrees, diplomas and certificates issued by schools under the military government. Approximately 12 million children missed school for 18 months as of December 2021 and school attendance was between 40% and 50%, due to COVID-19, coup related protests and conflict according to a UNICEF report from 2021. The NUG provides some online and offline learning programs. The Civil Disobedience Movement and the various local groups (including those in ethnic minority areas) are organising the delivery of alternative education systems. Some are online and some face to face in conflict/resistance areas. However, poor internet and power cuts hinder online learning.


In Afghanistan the takeover by the Taliban on 15 August 2021 has led to a humanitarian, economic, political and education crisis. Severe drought had already hit 80% of the country only for the people to experience the Taliban takeover. Many have lost their means of income, public-school teachers did not receive their salaries for many months, leading to teacher poverty, and subsequently student absenteeism. The suspension of most external aid on which the education system relied heavily, also led to interrupted education service delivery in all parts of the country. In March 2022 the Taliban reversed earlier assurances and announced that girls would not be allowed to attend secondary school. The future of education, especially for women and girls, is now very dire. The school curriculum is being drastically changed and geared towards indoctrination into the Taliban’s religious ideology.


Across the Asia Pacific region, despite the fact that education programs for adults are of special significance during and after emergencies, there is very little data on adult education in emergencies as communities are disrupted and individuals might need to take on new roles and responsibilities.


Public spending in education was adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic given the massive contraction of economies world-wide and the pressing need to realign spending to address the COVID-19 emergency. UNESCO estimates that 64.7% of low and middle-income countries around the world reported cuts in education spending due to COVID in 2020. Education unfortunately was accorded low priority in the stimulus packages of governments to address the fallout of the COVID-19 emergency. According to UNESCO estimates, education accounted for less than 1% of the stimulus packages in the Asia Pacific. The costs to sustain education in the face of the COVID pandemic are higher. Additional financing will be needed in re-enrolment campaigns, remediation programmes especially to support the most marginalised to return and stay on in schools, in additional costs of expanded hygiene facilities and extra classrooms to enable physical distancing. Regrettably, budgetary allocations have not kept up.


More than ever, it is important for governments to step up and ensure that effective plans are in place to act now to protect education institutions, learners, teachers and facilities during emergencies and protracted crises. Education in emergencies should be geared towards rehabilitation and strategic rethinking of education systems delivery in conflict-affected and disaster-affected areas. Conflicts have impacted the education of people for generations, and if longer term adaptive systems are not put in place, education in emergencies will continue to be seen as a limited term ‘project’ and generations of people will have no access to education. This is also the case with disaster prone areas, however there are many models on integrating disaster management in education systems that can be drawn on. Effective policy, plans and programs require governments to increase public financing for education and lifelong learning during and after emergencies.


The Asia Pacific Regional Dialogue on Education in Emergencies is an online event and forms part of the Global Action Week for Education (GAWE), an annual international week of campaigning for improved national education policies and increased national education budgets organised by the Global Campaign for Education (GCE). The theme of GAWE in 2022 is education in emergencies, and is part of a year-long campaign organised by GCE called ‘Protect Education in Emergencies Now’.




The objectives of the Asia Pacific Regional Dialogue on Education in Emergencies are:


  1. Raise awareness about and commitment to the need to protect and finance public education in emergencies in the Asia Pacific region such as conflicts, climate change and disasters, especially for the poorest and most marginalised.
  1. To hear from and engage a government official from each of two countries (Indonesia and Bangladesh) regarding their contexts, positive government policies, plans and programs for protecting education during and after natural and climate induced disasters, and the role of civil society in protecting education in such emergencies.
  1. Provide an update and discussion on the protracted crisis in education in Afghanistan and Myanmar from civil society voices from the people affected
  1. To highlight and provide perspectives on the impact of emergencies on women and girls, youth, and on adult education.
  1. To promote the importance of increasing financing for public education in emergencies including ODA for EiE, and intergovernmental responsibility in addressing EiE.

Rallying Call: ‘Protect Education in Emergencies Now!


Date and Time: Wednesday 27 April 2022, 1:00 pm Manila time.


Duration: 3.5 hours



Draft Programme Design and Flow


  1. Welcome (5 mins) Nani, ASPBAE President
  1. Brief outline of program (3 mins) Bernie
  1. Overview of Education in Emergencies in the Asia Pacific: the range and extent of the challenges, good practice by governments in policies and programmes strengthening EiE, and lessons learned (10 mins) Ms Sara Frodge, Education in Emergencies Technical Adviser, Save the Children Australia
  1. Youth voice: (8 mins) Speaker: young woman from Afghanistan
  1. Woman’s voice: (8 mins) PEKKA (Women Headed Family Empowerment) presentation on a framework and experience in undertaking gender-just education during emergencies in Indonesia. Ms Fitria Villa Sahara, Co-Director, PEKKA
  1. Presentation from government official from Indonesia (10 mins)

Ms Ir. Suharti, MA. Ph.D., Secretary General of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Research and Technology, Indonesia.

Questions and comments from the national coalition, NEW Indonesia and participants

(7 mins).


  1. Presentation from government official from Bangladesh (10 mins)

Professor Dr. AQM Shafiul Azam, Director (Planning & Development) 

Planning and Development Wing, Directorate of Secondary and Higher Education (DSHE), Ministry of Education, Bangladesh. 

Questions and comments from the national coalition Campaign for Popular Education (CAMPE) and participants (7 mins)


  1. Voices from Afghanistan:

Presentation from Mr Jan Ahmadian, Coordinator, Afghanistan National Education Coalition Organisation (ANECO (8 mins)

Presentation from Afghanistan Women’s Network (AWN) woman speaker (8 mins)

Questions and comments (7 mins)


  1. Brief break (10 mins)
  1. Voices from Myanmar:

Presentation from the CSO, Thinking Classroom Foundation. Speaker to be identified as ‘Blessing’ (10 mins) Questions and comments (7 mins)


  1. Input on adult education in emergencies (10 mins)

Presentation from Mr Shriji Kurup, Programme Coordinator, Centre for Environmental Education (CEE) Questions and discussion (5 mins)


  1. Input on importance of increasing public financing of education in emergencies (8 mins) Speaker TBC Questions and discussion (5 mins).
  1. Learning from the experiences of others. Divide into two groups: Presenters from 4 countries in each group for 5 mins each: (20 mins)


Group A

  • Kyrgyzstan: Ms Eshmuratova Zeinep, Director Public Fund “Centre for Development and Protection of the Vulnerable Groups of the Population (Osh Province).
  • Pakistan: Ms Shaheen Attiq-ur-Rahman , Vice Chairperson, Bunyad
  • Nepal: National Campaign for Education (NCE)
  • Philippines: Ms Flora Arellano, Chairperson Civil Society Network for Education Reforms (E-Net Philippines)


Group B

  • Sri Lanka: Mr Shantha Kulathunge, National Coordinator, Coalition for Education Development (CED)
  • Vanuatu: Ms Shirley Abraham, Kolison Blong Leftemap Edukesen (KOBLE)
  • Japan: Mr Takafume Miyake, Shanti Volunteer Association (SVA)
  • Australia: Mr Richard Vinycomb, Director of Byron Community College in NSW, member of Adult Learning Australia (ALA)

Questions and discussion: (13 mins)

Each group returns with 1-2 points for the plenary


  1. Closing comments Helen Dabu, ASPBAE Secretary General (6 mins)



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