Education in Emergencies

© UNESCO\M. Paudel -

In the aftermath of the 2015 Nepal Earthquakes, educational services were severely disrupted, creating a very difficult learning environment. Within the 14 most affected districts, the earthquakes impacted more than 80% of the schools and in excess of 16,000 classrooms were fully destroyed. Then, in mid-August 2017, Nepal experienced the heaviest recorded rainfall in the central and western regions, resulting in significant flooding in the Terai region, and severe landslides in the hill areas. Both of these natural disasters severely impacted the learning environment of more than one million students.

In emergency situations, girls and women, and especially those who are poor, marginalised or living with disabilities are more vulnerable and they suffer disproportionately. There is thus clearly a need to take suitable disaster preparedness actions to ensure a safe learning environment for all both during and immediately after natural disasters.

UNESCO plays an important role as it works with Member States and partners to strengthen the resilience of education systems and to intensify the delivery of education in crisis-affected contexts. The Kathmandu Office has provided technical assistance, capacity development and policy advice to the government authorities as part of both preparedness and response efforts. This assistance gives priority to crisis-sensitive policy and planning, data collection and management, training for education authorities for emergency response and supporting the integration of psychosocial support. UNESCO also focuses on training and professional development of teachers and administrators to enhance their capacity to respond to complex needs during and after crises, and to support conflict prevention and disaster risk reduction.

Working with the national authorities and other partners, UNESCO promotes the three pillars of comprehensive school safety: (1) safe learning facilities (including through assessment of school safety and the use of this data to guide investments in strengthening school safety), (2) school disaster management, and (3) risk reduction and resilience education.

UNESCO is an active member of the Nepal Education Cluster and is always involved in the response to resume educational activities immediately following recurring natural disasters in Nepal such as earthquakes and floods. In the aftermath of the 2015 Nepal Earthquakes, UNESCO was a key contributor to the Post Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA) and Post Disaster Recovery Framework (PDRF) for education. 

Key Partners

Ministry of Education, Science and Technology; Department of Education; Non-Formal Education Centre; Curriculum Development Centre; National Centre for Educational Development; District Education Offices; Nepal National Commission for UNESCO; Nepal Education Cluster; Non-Government Organisations; Civil Society Organisations

Extra budgetary Project(s) Portfolio

  • “Disseminating life-saving messages through schools in flood-affected areas”, with the support of Education Cannot Wait (ECW) Fund (2017 – 2018, ongoing)


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