Alongside the global pandemic of the past two years which at its peak disrupted education for the majority of the world’s population, record numbers of children and young people continue to be denied their right to an education due to the ravages inflicted by human-induced climate change, armed conflict, and natural disasters. This is despite increasing recognition of the important role education serves in protecting and supporting learners in times of acute adversity, and engendering opportunities for hope, renewal, and transformation for societies amid the chaos of a crisis. For example, the Sustainable Development Goals position education as a vital tool to build societies that are inclusive, peaceful, and just. The International Day to Protect Education from Attack, is a reminder for all societies to not only protect the right to education in emergency situations, but to think carefully about how education can serve as a site to foster development and peace.
The ambition of this research topic is to share emerging research which highlights the important role and function education can and does serve in times of adversity, but also the critical need for educational opportunities that are relevant and quality to specific groups of learners. Alongside this, the ways in which crises can adversely impact such opportunities will also be examined—and particularly situations where there are often multiple, overlapping risk factors and threats facing learners, communities, and educational institutions. Beyond this, however, is the need to examine innovative approaches to educational delivery in such contexts, particularly new (and old) technologies to access hard to reach learners, as well as education which occurs outside formal institutions, and the ways such innovation supports the holistic development of children and adolescents. Importantly, the role of teachers, communities, the state and non-state actors (including the private sector) in either engendering or inhibiting possibilities for education to be protective, inclusive, and transformative will be explored. Such discussions extend to include early childhood care and development, higher education, and adult education in line with the remit of SDG 4.
Some key questions/themes which articles in this collection might explore include:
• What have we learned about the important role and function education serves in times of adversity, through both the global pandemic and other contemporary crises—from the perspectives of various educational stakeholders, and in terms of the wider ambitions of the SDGs?
• How can education both be protected and strengthened in the midst of adversity, through innovative approaches to delivery of teaching and learning, and in support of a wider range of valued learning outcomes? What evidence do we have of the efficacy and relevance of such efforts?
• In what ways do natural disaster, climate change, conflict, and contagion (like COVID-19) intersect to create new risk factors for education in many parts of the world, and what can be done to strengthen the resilience of education systems to these chronic conditions?
• How can educational policies, structures, and systems in the ways they are governed, administered and funded influence opportunities for educational continuity and adaptation in times of adversity?
This Research Topic is published on the International Day to Protect Education from Attacks, in order to give our field's contribution to the protection of inclusive and equitable quality education at all levels to all learners, especially those in vulnerable situations. It runs in parallel with the Research Topic "Communications of culture and Islamic Fundamentalism"
published in Frontiers in Communication on the same day.