School infrastructure

Interactions between students, teachers and pedagogical content, and thus, education, generally take place within a school’s physical infrastructure. Physical infrastructure has significant impact on children’s enrolment, attendance, completion rates and even learning achievements. For instance, the World Bank found that investments in school facilities in Peru increased students’ attendance rates (UNICEF, 2009f). Physical infrastructure can also protect the lives of teachers and pupils, as well as investments in education, for instance in the case of a natural hazard.

Target 4a of Sustainable Development Goal 4, specifically states the importance of building and upgrading education facilities. In order to do this, it is essential to encourage the community to participate in the process (for more on this subject, see Policy page Buildings are not ready). Involving the community also helps ensure the respect of cultural and religious beliefs through the school’s physical infrastructure (for more on this subject, see Policy page Relationship between schools and their community).

References
Kayumba, E.; Ginoulhiac, L.; Hirano, S. 2009. ‘Child Friendly Schools Infrastructure Standards and Guidelines’ Primary and Tronc Commun schools. Kigali: Rwanda Ministry of Education. Retrieved from: http://education4resilience.iiep.unesco.org/en/node/752.

OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development). 2014b. Effectiveness, efficiency and sufficiency: an OECD framework for a physical learning environments module. Draft. Retrieved from: http://www.oecd.org/education/LEEP-Conceptual-Framework-2014.pdf

UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund). 2009f. ‘Location, design and construction’. In: Child Friendly Schools Manual. New York: UNICEF. Retrieved from: https://www.unicef.org/media/66486/file/Child-Friendly-Schools-Manual.pdf

UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund). 2013a. ‘Chapter 3: Barriers and Bottlenecks’. In: Out-of-School Children in Sri Lanka: Country Study (pp. 31-44). Colombo: UNICEF Sri Lanka. Retrieved from: https://learningportal.iiep.unesco.org/en/library/out-of-school-children-in-sri-lanka-country-study

Promising policy options

Refer to national building codes

Planners should refer to their national building codes to build accessible, gender-responsive, adequate, safe and resilient school physical infrastructure. Analyse if there are specific building codes for school and education infrastructure and if these codes are being respected (for more information on this subject see Policy page Buildings are not ready).

If no specific building codes for school construction have been designed yet, make this a priority (if needed, refer to The World Bank and INEE’s Guidance Notes on Safer School Construction).

References
IIEP-UNESCO. 2010. ‘Chapter 2.6: Learning spaces and school facilities’. In: Guidebook for planning education in emergencies and reconstruction (pp.129-159). Paris: IIEP-UNESCO. Retrieved from: http://www.iiep.unesco.org/sites/default/files/Guidebook%20Chapters/GB_2009_2.6_final.pdf

The World Bank. 2009c. Guidance notes on safer school construction. Washington D.C.: The World Bank. Retrieved from: http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/728061468326978133/ Guidance-notes-on-safer-school-construction-global-facility-for-disaster-reduction-and-recovery

Essential physical infrastructure facilities

Interactions between students, teachers and pedagogical content, and thus, education, generally take place within a school’s physical infrastructure. Ensuring an adequate and sufficiently equipped infrastructure is key, so that teaching ‘takes place in acceptable conditions and that learning can flourish’ (IIEP-UNESCO, 2018: 19). Indeed, physical infrastructure has significant impact on children’s enrolment, attendance, completion rates and even learning achievements (e.g. the World Bank found that investments in school facilities in Peru increased students’ attendance rates (UNICEF, 2009f)). Physical infrastructure can also protect the lives of teachers and pupils, as well as investments in education (e.g. in the event of a natural hazard).

Various considerations must be taken into account when developing the physical infrastructure of schools.

For instance, adapting facilities to children’s size and physical abilities is indispensable (see section Children with disabilities below for specific recommendations on how to make school infrastructure accessible). Cultural sensitivity and local customs must also be considered, such as toilets that are intended for use by Muslims should not face Mecca.

Adequate water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) facilities in schools ‘improve access to education and learning outcomes, particularly for girls, by providing a safe, inclusive and equitable learning environment for all’ (UNICEF and WHO, 2018:8). Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 6 and 4 aim for universal access to WASH and inclusive and effective learning environments. The following essential physical infrastructure facilities must be taken into account to reach those goals:

  • Sanitation facilities: Privacy, cleanliness, safety, and easy-to-use sanitation facilities are important. Toilets should be close to classrooms, cubicle doors should open inwards, toilets should have covers, and facilities should have an appropriate ventilation system and regular maintenance. Latrines, on the other hand, should be at least 50 metres away from the school and 30 metres away from any ground-source (IIEP-UNESCO, 2010).
  • Hygiene facilities: Sinks should be provided with water and a cleaning agent. The minimum standard is 1 washing point per 100 children (Kayumba, Ginoulhiac, and Hirano, 2009).
  • Safe water: Schools must offer adequate access to potable water (within the school or in close proximity). This can be done through proper plumbing infrastructure, a borehole, well or a water stream. Planners must set their own standards based on their national circumstances and international standards (SDG 6 targets universal access to drinking water, sanitation and hygiene for all by 2030; The Sphere Standards annex states that 3 litres of water per pupil per day for drinking and hand washing is the survival minimum required in schools (Sphere Association, 2018).)

Electricity-wise, SDG 7 aims to ensure universal ‘access to affordable, reliable and modern energy for all’ (United Nations Division for Sustainable Development Goals, 2015b). Electricity-based lightning improves teaching and therefore learning outcomes. Every school should have electricity to provide lighting and energy for teaching as well as for the equipment –computers and radios– and appliances such as refrigerators and stoves. Multiple recommendations for school electrification programmes exist, such as leveraging ‘innovative financing streams and public-private partnerships to fund electrification efforts’ and ensuring ‘ technical reliability of grid connections and equipment through standards and certification’, among others (UNDESA, 2014:20).

As for having a secure physical environment, a fence should be constructed around the school to demarcate the school grounds, prevent children from leaving school and keep out intrusions. Fences can be made from galvanized line wires, vegetation or mud walls. Additionally, it is essential to make sure buildings are built to resist different natural hazards, such as seismic-resistant school infrastructure in earthquake zones, proper drainage and plumbing infrastructure in flood zones, and securely attached roofs in wind-prone areas. For more information on this subject see Policy page Buildings are not ready.

Finally, for garbage disposal, it is essential to have a designated area for garbage disposal at schools, with dustbins and brooms included. Children should participate in cleaning and maintaining the classroom (e.g. Standards used in the SWASTHH Project, Jharkhand India (UNICEF, 2009f:14).

References
Chitrakar, R. 2009. Overcoming Barriers to Girls’ Education in South Asia – Deepening the Analysis. Kathmandu: UNICEF ROSA (United Nations Children’s Fund Regional Office in South Asia). Retrieved from: http://www.ungei.org/resources/files/whole_book_b.pdf

Global Education Monitoring Report. Target 4.A – Education facilities and learning environments (Summary Version). Retrieved from: http://gem-report-2017.unesco.org/en/chapter/target-4-a-education-facilities-and-learning-environments-2/.

IIEP-UNESCO. 2010. ‘Chapter 2.6: Learning spaces and school facilities’. In: Guidebook for planning education in emergencies and reconstruction (pp.129-159). Paris: IIEP-UNESCO. Retrieved from: http://www.iiep.unesco.org/sites/default/files/Guidebook%20Chapters/GB_2009_2.6_final.pdf

IIEP-UNESCO. 2018. Learning at the Bottom of the Pyramid: Science, Measurement, and Policy in Low-Income Countries. Paris: IIEP-UNESCO. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000265581

Kayumba, E.; Ginoulhiac, L.; Hirano, S. 2009. ‘Child Friendly Schools Infrastructure Standards and Guidelines’ Primary and Tronc Commun schools. Kigali: Rwanda Ministry of Education. Retrieved from: http://education4resilience.iiep.unesco.org/en/node/752.

Ministry of Education (Nepal). 2014. Consolidated Equity Strategy for the School Education Sector in Nepal. Kathmandu: Ministry of Education. Retrieved from: http://www.doe.gov.np/assets/uploads/files/47441f6a3f1e62dedb7bb91655b8df92.pdf.

Sphere Association. 2018. The Sphere Handbook: Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Humanitarian Response (4th edn.). Geneva: Sphere Association. Retrieved from: www.spherestandards.org/handbook

The World Bank. 2003. World Bank Development Report 2004: Making Services Work for Poor People. Washington, DC: World Bank. Retrieved from: https://openknowledge.worldbank.org /handle/10986/5986

The World Bank. 2009c. Guidance notes on safer school construction. Washington D.C.: The World Bank. Retrieved from: http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/728061468326978133/ Guidance-notes-on-safer-school-construction-global-facility-for-disaster-reduction-and-recovery

Theunynck, S. 2009. School Construction Strategies for Universal Primary Education in Africa. Should Communities be Empowered to Build their Schools? Washington: The World Bank. Retrieved from: http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/109291468007863249/pdf/488980PUB0prim101Official0Use0Only1.pdf

UNDESA (United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs). 2014. Electricity and education: The benefits, barriers, and recommendations for achieving the electrification of primary and secondary schools. New York: UNDESA. Retrieved from: https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/content/documents/1608Electricity%20and%20Education.pdf

UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund). 2009f. ‘Location, design and construction’. In: Child Friendly Schools Manual. New York: UNICEF. Retrieved from: https://www.unicef.org/devpro/files/CFSManual_Ch03_052009.pdf

UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund); WHO (World Health Organization). 2018. Drinking water, sanitation and hygiene in schools: global baseline report 2018. New York: UNICEF and WHO. Retrieved from: https://data.unicef.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/JMP-WASH-in-Schools-WEB.pdf

United Nations Division for Sustainable Development Goals. 2015b. Sustainable Development Goal 7. Accessed 15 February 2018: https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdg7

WHO (World Health Organization). 2011. ‘Chapter 7 Education’. In: World Report on Disability (pp. 227-256). Malta: World Health Organization. Retrieved from: http://www.who.int/disabilities/world_report/2011/report.pdf.

Additional functional elements and facilities

Some additional elements can be set up in schools to given students and teachers a better learning environment. These are:

  • Health provisions: Every school should have a first-aid kit or a medical cabinet for basic emergencies. In addition, a designated space must be set to store medicine appropriately.
  • Kitchen: A kitchen should be provided with equipment and furniture that ensures adequate food storage and cooking.
  • Library and I.T. Rooms: Designate a space for books and learning resources as well as I.T. rooms equipped with computers and internet connection. Locate it strategically within the school to allow an easy access and away from noisy areas. When possible, make them accessible to community members.
  • Landscaping and open spaces: Along with school buildings, school grounds are very important. Planting trees, shrubs and flowers can have positive effects on the learning environment. Students can be encouraged to help raise vegetables, fruits, domestic animals and fish on school grounds. This production should be done after community’s consultation (e.g. in the SWASTHH Project done in Jharkhand, India, children participated in the raising of vegetables). Moreover, open spaces such as play yards are essential. Whenever possible, allow the community members to use those spaces after school hours (see below).
References
Kayumba, E.; Ginoulhiac, L.; Hirano, S. 2009. ‘Child Friendly Schools Infrastructure Standards and Guidelines’ Primary and Tronc Commun schools. Kigali: Rwanda Ministry of Education. Retrieved from: http://education4resilience.iiep.unesco.org/en/node/752.

UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund). 2009f. ‘Location, design and construction’. In: Child Friendly Schools Manual. New York: UNICEF. Retrieved from: https://www.unicef.org/devpro/files/CFSManual_Ch03_052009.pdf

Parental and community member’s participation

Historically, in most countries, central governments entirely controlled and implemented the school’s physical infrastructure design, construction, refurbishment, and maintenance. However, over the past decades, the involvement of the community and local governments in the process has become increasingly important. Today, most of the processes are highly participatory. In fact, even when they are entirely managed by MoE, key stakeholders –such as relevant ministries, local governments, school staff, parents and community members– have a say. This allows schools to reflect the community’s needs, culture, and aspirations. (For more on this issue, see Policy page Buildings are not ready.)

In addition to the formal involvement of the community in the construction, refurbishment and maintenance of the school’s physical infrastructure, encourage and welcome community members to use school facilities whenever possible (e.g. for town meetings, local gatherings and other events (UNICEF, 2009f)).

References
Beynon, J. 1997. Physical facilities for education: What planners need to know. Paris: IIEP-UNESCO. Retrieved from: http://unesdoc.unesco.org /images/0011/001184/118467E.pdf

Gershberg, A.I. 2014. Educational infrastructure, school construction, & decentralization in developing countries: Key issues for an understudied area. International Center for Public Policy Working Paper 14-12. Retrieved from: https://scholarworks.gsu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1020 &context=icepp

Kayumba, E.; Ginoulhiac, L.; Hirano, S. 2009. ‘Child Friendly Schools Infrastructure Standards and Guidelines’ Primary and Tronc Commun schools. Kigali: Rwanda Ministry of Education. Retrieved from: http://education4resilience.iiep.unesco.org/en/node/752.

OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development). 2014b. Effectiveness, efficiency and sufficiency: an OECD framework for a physical learning environments module. Draft. Retrieved from: http://www.oecd.org/education/LEEP-Conceptual-Framework-2014.pdf

Theunynck, S. 2009. School Construction for Universal Primary Education in Africa: Should Communities Be Empowered to Build Their Schools? Washington D.C.: The World Bank. Retrieved from: http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/109291468007863249/pdf/488980PUB0prim101Official0Use0Only1.pdf

UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund). 2009f. ‘Location, design and construction’. In: Child Friendly Schools Manual. New York: UNICEF. Retrieved from: https://www.unicef.org/devpro/files/CFSManual_Ch03_052009.pdf

Community-Driven Development programmes

In more decentralized systems, responsibilities and roles given to local governments and communities are higher. The responsibility to finance community’s subprojects for the school’s infrastructure is transferred to local governments and the final responsibility for the design, planning, construction, restoration and maintenance of the school’s physical infrastructure relies on parents and community members. This approach is commonly referred to as Community-Driven Development programmes (this term is employed by The World Bank to characterize investment programmes that support decentralization). For instance, through The Kecamatan Development Programme implemented in Indonesia, communities participated in the construction and rehabilitation of 5,100 schools. In another example, from 2001 to 2006, communities participated in the rehabilitation of 1,446 schools and the construction of 700 new schools in Honduras (The World Bank, 2009b).

For CDD to happen it is necessary to (Theunynck, 2009):

  • have adequate accountability mechanisms which clearly define the roles of each stakeholder (MoE, local governments, and communities);
  • implement information, monitoring and evaluation systems;
  • enhance the community’s empowerment; and
  • develop capacity-building trainings.

Make sure CDD programmes are inclusive (Alkire et al., 2001) by paying attention to concerns expressed by those who are the most marginalized is necessary to ensure that investment choices and the programme itself will truly meet the needs of those who need it the most. Identify the most marginalized populations within the community and incorporate diverse voices in the decision-making process, such as those of women, girls, people from different ethnicities, religious groups, persons with disabilities, families, among others.

Before implementing any CDD programme, it is very important to analyse the context-based pertinence of such measure (for a critical evaluation of CDD programmes implemented in conflict-affected contexts read: King, E. n.d. A Critical Review of Community‐Driven Development Programmes in Conflict‐Affected Contexts. Waterloo, ON: Balsille School of International Affairs. Retrieved from: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/57a08a0240f0b64974000398/61046-A_Critical_Review_of_CDD_in_Conflict_Affected_Contexts.pdf.)

In general, Ministries of Education –and all relevant stakeholders– must uphold the Abidjan Principles when it comes to voluntary community contributions to the education system.

References
Alkire, S.; Bebbington, A.;  Esmail, T.; Ostrom, E.; Polski, M.; Ryan, A.; Van Domelen, J.; Wakeman, W.; Dongier, P. 2001. Community-Driven Development. Retrieved from: https://www.intussen.info/OldSite/Documenten/Noord/Internationaal/WB/PRSP%20Sourcebook/22%20Community-Driven%20Development.pdf

Beynon, J. 1997. Physical facilities for education: What planners need to know. Paris: IIEP-UNESCO. Retrieved from: http://unesdoc.unesco.org /images/0011/001184/118467E.pdf

Gershberg, A.I. 2014. Educational infrastructure, school construction, & decentralization in developing countries: Key issues for an understudied area. International Center for Public Policy Working Paper 14-12. Retrieved from: https://scholarworks.gsu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1020 &context=icepp

Kayumba, E.; Ginoulhiac, L.; Hirano, S. 2009. ‘Child Friendly Schools Infrastructure Standards and Guidelines’ Primary and Tronc Commun schools. Kigali: Rwanda Ministry of Education. Retrieved from: http://education4resilience.iiep.unesco.org/en/node/752.

OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development). 2014b. Effectiveness, efficiency and sufficiency: an OECD framework for a physical learning environments module. Draft. Retrieved from: http://www.oecd.org/education/LEEP-Conceptual-Framework-2014.pdf

The Abidjan Principles. 2019. The Abidjan Principles on the human rights obligations of States to provide public education and to regulate private involvement in education. Adopted on 13 February 2019. Retrieved from: https://www.abidjanprinciples.org/en/principles/overview

The World Bank. 2009b. Community-Driven Development: Delivering the Results People Need. Washington: The World Bank. Retrieved from: http://siteresources.worldbank.org/IDA/Resources/IDA-CDD.pdf

Theunynck, S. 2009. School Construction for Universal Primary Education in Africa: Should Communities Be Empowered to Build Their Schools? Washington D.C.: The World Bank. Retrieved from: http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/109291468007863249/pdf/488980PUB0prim101Official0Use0Only1.pdf

UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund). 2009f. ‘Location, design and construction’. In: Child Friendly Schools Manual. New York: UNICEF. Retrieved from: https://www.unicef.org/devpro/files/CFSManual_Ch03_052009.pdf

Policy options for improving Equity and Inclusion

Gender-responsive policies

Promising policy options

Construct gender-responsive infrastructure and facilities

A key aspect of a gender-responsive school relies on providing gender-responsive WASH facilities. Adequate sanitation facilities positively affect girls’ access, attendance, and retention in school. For instance, in Pakistan, the construction of separate toilets for girls increased their enrolment in primary schools (The World Bank, 2003). Another study, done in South Asia, revealed that, when no separate toilet facilities exist, many girls drop out of school at the onset of their menstruation (Narayan, Rao and Khan, 2010).

Adequate, well-functioning, clean, and separate toilets or latrines should be available for boys and girls as well as female and male teachers. WFP optimal standards for sanitation at school (cited by IIEP-UNESCO, 2010), suggests that there should be one toilet cubicle for every 25 girls, as well as one toilet cubicle for every 100 boys and one urinal for every 40 to 60 boys.

Ensure adequate resource allocation to build gender-responsive WASH facilities. For example, the Punjab Education Sector Reforms Programme in Pakistan allotted 60% of the funds to improve girls’ school facilities, particularly the provision of toilets (ASER Pakistan, 2014, cited by UNESCO and UNGEI, 2015). Another example is Uganda’s 2016 Gender in Education Sector Policy demands an adequate provision of budget to build gender –and disability– responsive infrastructure and facilities (Uganda, 2016).

Provide facilities for managing menstruation. In many countries around the world, women continue to face strong stigma during their menstrual period. School development policies and programmes should:

  • provide facilities to manage menstruation and separate toilets (see above). In certain contexts, secure private washing places must be made available where girls and female teachers are able to wash during menstruation, as well as their cloths and rags (Chitrakar, 2009; Kayumba, Ginoulhiac, and Hirano, 2009; UNICEF, 2009f); and
  • provide cloths, pads and/or sanitary products for menstruation. For this purpose, find different stakeholders who have innovative projects in this area and build partnerships so as to ensure girls and female teachers remain in school. For instance, the Mariam Seba Products Factory (MSPF) is an Ethiopian social-impact organization, which manufactures low cost, environmentally friendly, washable, and reusable sanitary pads which, for over ten years, has reached more than 800,000 girls (for more information consult their website: http://mariamseba.com). The NGO Dignity Period, in partnership with MSPF, provides menstrual hygiene kits as well as the necessary education to manage menstruation (For more information consult their website https://www.dignityperiod.org.)

Another key aspect of a gender-responsive school infrastructure is to ensure a secure physical environment. Parents may have concerns regarding their children’s safety at school –especially girls—which is why it is essential to have surveillance mechanisms against harassment and abuse. Construct windows in each classroom which allow good visual contact with the outside (Kayumba, Ginoulhiac, and Hirano, 2009).

Build fences around the school to demarcate the school grounds (see general section above).  For example, in Afghanistan, the Ministry of Education launched an initiative to build boundary walls around existing schools. Girls’ schools were prioritized. In 2011, 8,327 school walls were built and an additional 1,796 school walls were planned (Sperling, Winthrop and Kwauk, 2016). 

References
Chitrakar, R. 2009. Overcoming Barriers to Girls’ Education in South Asia – Deepening the Analysis. Kathmandu: UNICEF ROSA (United Nations Children’s Fund Regional Office in South Asia). Retrieved from: http://www.ungei.org/resources/files/whole_book_b.pdf

IIEP-UNESCO Learning Portal. 2018. Brief 2: The physical school environment. Accessed 30 September 2019: https://learningportal.iiep.unesco.org/en/issue-briefs/improve-learning/schools-and-classrooms/the-physical-school-environment

IIEP-UNESCO. 2010. ‘Chapter 2.6: Learning spaces and school facilities’. In: Guidebook for planning education in emergencies and reconstruction (pp.129-159). Paris: IIEP-UNESCO. Retrieved from: http://www.iiep.unesco.org/sites/default/files/Guidebook%20Chapters/GB_2009_2.6_final.pdf

Kayumba, E.; Ginoulhiac, L.; Hirano, S. 2009. ‘Child Friendly Schools Infrastructure Standards and Guidelines’ Primary and Tronc Commun schools. Kigali: Rwanda Ministry of Education. Retrieved from: http://education4resilience.iiep.unesco.org/en/node/752.

Narayan, S.; Rao, N.; Khan, M. 2010. Gender, Equality and Education. A Report Card on South Asia. Mumbai: ASPBAE (Asia South Pacific Association for Basic and Adult Education). Retrieved from: http://www.aspbae.org/sites/default/files/pdf/Gender%20Equity%20Report.pdf

Sperling, G.B; Winthrop, R.; Kwauk, C. 2016. What works in girl’s education: Evidence for the World’s Best Investment. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press. Retrieved from: https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/whatworksingirlseducation 1.pdf

The World Bank. 2003. World Bank Development Report 2004: Making Services Work for Poor People. Washington, DC: World Bank. Retrieved from: https://openknowledge.worldbank.org /handle/10986/5986

Uganda. 2016. Ministry of Education and Sports. Gender in Education Sector Policy. Kampala: Ministry of Education and Sports. Retrieved from: https://www.education.go.ug/files/downloads/ GENDER%20IN%20EDUCATION%20SECTOR%20POLICY.pdf

UNESCO, UNGEI (United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative). 2015. Gender and EFA 2000-2015, Achievements and Challenges: Gender Summary. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: http://www.ungei.org/234809E.pdf

UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund). 2009f. ‘Location, design and construction’. In: Child Friendly Schools Manual. New York: UNICEF. Retrieved from: https://www.unicef.org/devpro/files/CFSManual_Ch03_052009.pdf

UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund); WHO (World Health Organization). 2018. Drinking water, sanitation and hygiene in schools: global baseline report 2018. New York: UNICEF and WHO. Retrieved from: https://data.unicef.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/JMP-WASH-in-Schools-WEB.pdf

Community-Driven Development programmes

Studies reveal that the most successful Community-Driven Development (CDD) programmes are those with an explicit gender inclusion strategy. They do not rely solely on mainstreaming gender throughout the proposed programmes, but also guarantee women’s meaningful participation throughout the decision-making processes and project implementation (Browne, 2014). Some recommendations to make CDD programmes gender-responsive are (Browne, 2014; Alkire et al., 2001):

  • gain a clear understanding of existent gender-roles, structures, and attitudes related to decision-making at the community level;
  • provide training and capacity-building opportunities to tackle gender issues affecting the implementation of CDD programmes: Provide training in gender-sensitivity and gender-mainstreaming in CDD programmes so that they are effectively geared towards building inclusive, gender-responsive school infrastructures;
  • implement quotas to ensure women’s participation in meetings and decision-making bodies as well as monitoring committees;
  • develop women-only groups and meetings to analyse, develop and manage CDD projects. In many contexts ‘single-sex groups can work by increasing women’s skills, bargaining power and respect for them in the community’ (Ahmed et al., 2009: 40, cited by Browne, 2014: 4). Yet, the main goal is that their projects are effectively taken into consideration and adopted by the communities in which they are inscribed, thus, funding bodies should prioritize the ideas and projects proposed;
  • assign to women real responsibilities and support them to embrace leadership roles. Appoint female staff and facilitators as role models;
  • make meetings flexible (time and place) and allow them to bring their children to ensure their attendance;
  • invite women by name (instead of inviting a household representative); and
  • ensure that women seat in the front rows during meetings.
References
Alkire, S.; Bebbington, A.;  Esmail, T.; Ostrom, E.; Polski, M.; Ryan, A.; Van Domelen, J.; Wakeman, W.; Dongier, P. 2001. Community-Driven Development. Retrieved from: https://www.intussen.info/OldSite/Documenten/Noord/Internationaal/WB/PRSP%20Sourcebook/22%20Community-Driven%20Development.pdf

Browne, E. 2014. Gender in community-driven development. GSDRC Helpdesk Research Report 1079.  Birmingham: GSDRC (Governance and Social Development Resource Centre), University of Birmingham. Retrieved from: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/57a089a6ed915d3cfd000372/hdq1079.pdf

Policies for children with disabilities

Promising policy options

Governments must ensure that the school’s infrastructure and facilities are accessible to everyone. Accessibility is a ‘broad concept that encompasses the usability of environments, amenities and resources by persons with disabilities’ (UNICEF, 2014: 12).

*Note: Educational planners and decision-makers should keep in mind that the question of accessibility goes beyond the mere subject of school’s physical infrastructure and facilities. In fact, for a school to be accessible, the accessibility provided by the school’s physical infrastructure must be complemented by accessible teaching and learning methods, teaching and learning aids, and classroom practices, among others (these questions and pertinent policy recommendations can be consulted in the following Policy pages Classroom practices; Teaching skills; Student learning assessments; Availability and content of textbooks; and Availability of teaching aids).

Moreover, in order to ensure inclusion in schools, reasonable accommodation measures should be taken in addition to Universal Design (UNICEF, 2014: 7). For instance, providing ramps and wide doors is essential, but if a child needs an assistive device in order to get into the school and the classroom, then the provision of such device by the school administration would be considered as a reasonable accommodation (UNICEF, 2014). 

References
UN General Assembly. 2007. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities : resolution / adopted by the General Assembly. A/RES/61/106. Retrieved from: https://www.un.org/disabilities/documents/convention/convoptprot-e.pdf 

UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund). 2014. Access to School and the Learning Environment I – Physical, Information and Communication: Webinar 10 – Companion Technical Booklet. New York: UNICEF. Retrieved from: https://www.unicef.org/eca/sites/unicef.org.eca/files/IE_ Webinar_Booklet_10.pdf

Develop standards for accessibility and monitor the compliance of infrastructures

Ensure that all education facilities are accessible: article 4 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) calls upon the States to conceive universally designed facilities and develop minimum standards to ensure that facilities are accessible (UN General Assembly, 2007). It is thus recommended that governments develop standards and guidelines to ensure that their education infrastructure –and other public spaces– are accessible to all children and individuals (UNESCO-Global Education Monitoring Report, 2018). For example, the Department of Basic Education in South Africa developed a legally binding set of norms and standards for all public schools in 2013 based on the principles of Universal Design (UNESCO-Global Monitoring Report, 2018). Another example is the Government of Ghana, with the support of UNICEF, developed standards and guidelines to ensure school’s physical accessibility. All educational institutions must apply and adhere to them (Ghana, 2015).

Monitor the compliance of school’s construction with the aforementioned standards. A recommended strategy is to include information concerning school’s physical accessibility through the Education Management Information Systems EMIS (e.g. the Child Functioning Module (CFM) developed by UNICEF and United Nation’s Washington Group on Disability Statistics can be added to the existent EMIS in order to get information about the school’s accessibility (UNICEF, 2018).)

Monitoring and evaluating schools’ accessibility should not be based solely on the availability of features such as ramps.  It should provide a comprehensive picture about school’s accessibility. This could be done by including information on how children are ‘getting to, entering and moving through the school; using water, sanitation, and recreational facilities’ as well data on school evacuation systems (UNESCO-Global Education Monitoring Report, 2016: 311).

References
Ghana. 2015. Ministry of Education. Standards and Guidelines for Practice of Inclusive Education In Ghana. Accra: Ministry of Education. Retrieved from: http://planipolis.iiep.unesco.org/sites/planipolis/files/ressources/ghana_final_standards_guidelines_cd.pdf

Grant Lewis, S. 2019. ‘Opinion: The urgent need to plan for disability-inclusive education’. Devex. 6 February 2019. Accessed 4 November 2019: https://www.devex.com/news/opinion-the-urgent-need-to-plan-for-disability-inclusive-education-94059

UN General Assembly. 2007. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities : resolution / adopted by the General Assembly. A/RES/61/106. Retrieved from: https://www.un.org/disabilities/documents/convention/convoptprot-e.pdf 

UNESCO-Global Education Monitoring Report. 2016. Global Education Monitoring Report 2016: Education for people and planet: Creating Sustainable Futures for All. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000245752

UNESCO-Global Education Monitoring Report. 2018. GEM Report summary on disabilities and education. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/ 48223/pf0000265353

UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund). 2018. Child Functioning. Accessed 17 July 2019: https://data.unicef.org/topic/child-disability/module-on-child-functioning/

Ensure school’s infrastructure is accessible and inclusive

Identify the barriers impeding children to get into the school. This could be done through multi-sectoral access audits. UNICEF’s general recommendations include ‘providing ground surfaces that are firm and stable, as well as ramps at road curbs and other changes in level, ensuring trees along routes are trimmed to keep the route clear, and providing a curb or barriers at the edge of routes where there is a vertical drop or steep slope down’ (2014: 18).

For the school’s entrances, make sure all children are welcomed at the same main entrance. It should not have steps, provide at least 850mm of width when doors are open and have a well-maintained paved, firm, even and slip-resistant floor.

As for the accessibility within the school, multiple aspects should be taken into consideration such as hallways and walkways, stairs and ramps. UNICEF (2014) recommends the following:

  • Hallways and walkways: Must be wide enough (minimum of 1,500mm) to ensure that children with wheelchairs can move around the school buildings.
  • Stairs: Integrate handrails to make them safe for all children, as well as include colour contrast and tactile warning pavers at the edges of stairs.
  • Ramps: Should always be clear, their gradient slope should be minimum of 1 unit of rise by 12 units of length (1:12), a 1:15 slope is preferred. The width should be of at least 1,500mm (1,800mm is preferred).
  • General recommendations: All learning spaces must be ventilated and bright.
  • Accessibility within the classrooms: Specific considerations must be taken into account in order to decide on the type of floor, the blackboards and whiteboards, the lightning levels as well as the windows.

Ensure that the water, sanitation and hygiene facilities are accessible. Accessible toilets should be integrated to existing toilet cubicles. Some general recommendations include:

  • provide a minimum clear floor space of 1,500mm x 1,500mm;
  • the door should open to the outside and provide at least 900mm of space;
  • integrate L-shaped grab-bars;
  • build accessible urinals at the beginning of the row with support grab-bars on both sides;
  • build accessible drinking-water and hand-washing facilities;
  • build accessible signage for toilets (that are visible and touchable) and make sure pictograms are responsive to local customs;
  • build accessible playgrounds; and
  • conceive accessible evacuation plans. Provide visual and audio alarms, ensure that strategies are developed to assist in the evacuation of every child.

*All of the aforementioned recommendations are a recompilation of the main ideas proposed by the publication UNICEF, 2014, please consult it to get specific details regarding each strategy.

References
UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund). 2014. Access to School and the Learning Environment I – Physical, Information and Communication: Webinar 10 – Companion Technical Booklet. New York: UNICEF. Retrieved from: https://www.unicef.org/eca/sites/unicef.org.eca/files/IE_ Webinar_Booklet_10.pdf

UNESCO. 2019. The right to education for persons with disabilities. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000371249

Parental and community member’s participation

Ensure the active participation of local stakeholders –such as children with disabilities and their families, the local community, Disability People’s Organisations, teachers, school leaders, local education planners, among others–  throughout the design, planning and construction phases (Snider and Takeda, 2008; AusAID, 2013; UNICEF, 2014). The process should be participatory and consultative. Especially, involve children with disabilities and their families as they are ‘experts on their own needs and can often bring innovative and cost-effective ideas to the table’ (UNICEF, 2014: 11). This strategy is ‘a key to cost-effective universal design’ (Snider and Takeda, 2008: 6).

Universal Design is meant to benefit the entire population, accommodate to each particular context, as well as identify the locally available products and construction techniques (Snider and Takeda, 2008; Bolton, 2013). It is thus recommended ‘to educate designers, builders and citizens about the purpose and benefits of universal design for the whole community so that they understand its value and work to find good solutions to problems’ (Snider and Takeda, 2008: 6).

References
AusAID (Australian Agency for International Development). 2013. Accessibility Design Guide: Universal design principles for Australia’s aid program – A companion volume to Development for All: Towards a disability-inclusive Australian aid program 2009–2014. Canberra: AusAID. Retrieved from: http://www.addc.org.au/documents/resources/accessibility-design-guide-ausaid-2013_971.pdf

Bolton, L. 2013. Helpdesk Report: Universal design of schools and classrooms. Oxford: Health & Education Advice & Resource Team (HEART). Retrieved from: https://www.heart-resources.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/Universal-design-of-schools-and-classrooms.pdf

Snider, H.; Takeda, N. 2008. Design for All: Implications for Bank Operations. Washington, D.C.: The World Bank. Retrieved from: http://siteresources.worldbank.org/DISABILITY/Resources/ Universal_Design.pdf

UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund). 2014. Access to School and the Learning Environment I – Physical, Information and Communication: Webinar 10 – Companion Technical Booklet. New York: UNICEF. Retrieved from: https://www.unicef.org/eca/sites/unicef.org.eca/files/IE_ Webinar_Booklet_10.pdf

Community-Driven Development programmes

Community-Driven Development (CDD) programmes should be inclusive and respond to the needs of those who are the most marginalized, such as children with disabilities. In order to identify and tackle their specific needs, make sure to engage children with disabilities and their families as well as Disability People’s Organisations throughout the decision-making and project implementation processes.

References
Alkire, S.; Bebbington, A.;  Esmail, T.; Ostrom, E.; Polski, M.; Ryan, A.; Van Domelen, J.; Wakeman, W.; Dongier, P. 2001. Community-Driven Development. Retrieved from: https://www.intussen.info/OldSite/Documenten/Noord/Internationaal/WB/PRSP%20Sourcebook/22%20Community-Driven%20Development.pdf

Policies for displaced populations and host communities

*All policies recommended in the general section apply to this category. Additionally, within the displaced population, girls’ education and children with disabilities need to be considered as well. For policies related to the aforementioned marginalised groups, refer to the Gender and Children with Disabilities section of this document.

Other policy options

Flexible and alternative education models

All stages and levels of education (learning and teaching) should be adapted according to the needs of the displaced students’ context. For example, the work of the Accelerated Education Working Group (AEWG), led by UNHCR, which is advancing recognition of alternative flexible options to ensure access to education for overage out-of-school refugees and support a more harmonised, standardised and certified approach to accelerated education.

Consider how to use technology and mobile learning to subsidise formal education in difficult-to-reach areas. (Dryden-Peterson et al, 2017). In Dadaab, Kenya, students use Facebook groups to get feedback on their school essays as well as to interact with peers who can help them face challenges, like being the first girl in their family to go to school. Teachers, too, are using phones as teaching tools.

Allocate funds to improve school infrastructure to make it more inclusive or build more schools

There are multiple reasons for having an insufficient supply of schools or poor infrastructure for schools in a certain area. The following pages deal with some of the most common root causes:

  • Due to economic constraints:
    • Not having enough budget. (For more on this subject, consult Policy page Insufficient budget.)
    • The unit cost of for improving infrastructure is too high. (For more on this subject, consult Policy page High unit costs.)

There is a difficulty to recruit teachers for possible new schools:

  • Due to an unsustainable salary level for teachers. (For more on this subject, consult Policy page Teacher benefits.)
References
UNESCO. 2019. Enforcing the right to education of refugees: a policy perspective. Paris. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000366839

UNHCR (United Nations High Commission for Refugees). UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund). IOM (International Organization for Migration). 2019. Access to Education for Refugee and Migrant Children in Europe. Retrieved from: https://www.iom.int/sites/default/files/press_release/file/access-to-education-for-refugee-children.pdf

UNICEF. 2015. The Investment Case for Education and Equity. New York: UNICEF. Retrieved from: https://www.unicef.org/publications/files/Investment_Case_for_Education_and_Equity_FINAL.pdf

The Abidjan Principles. 2019. The Abidjan Principles on the human rights obligations of States to provide public education and to regulate private involvement in education. Adopted on 13 February 2019. Retrieved from: https://www.abidjanprinciples.org/en/principles/overview

Bonfiglio, A., 2010. Learning outside the classroom: non-formal refugee education in Uganda. UNHCR. Policy Development and Evaluation Service. Retrieved from: http://www.unhcr.org/4cd953cb9.pdf

Charter for Action for Refugee Education. 2018. High-level Meeting on Action for Refugee Education. Retrieved from: https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5b5b0e973917ee4023caf5f4/t/5b80788521c67c8d1fa19ebf/1535146118574/Charter+for+Action_HLM_on_AFRE.pdf

Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework Global Digital Portal. n.d. Kenya 2018. Retrieved form: http://www.globalcrrf.org/crrf_country/kenya-2/

Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework Global Digital Portal. n.d. Somali Situation. Retrieved from:  http://www.globalcrrf.org/crrf_country/som/

Dryden-Peterson, S.; Dahya, N.; & Douhaibi, D. 2017. How teachers use mobile phones as education tools in refugee camps. Retrieved from: https://www.brookings.edu/blog/education-plus-development/2017/03/14/how-teachers-use-mobile-phones-as-education-tools-in-refugee-camps/

Policies for minority populations

*All policy options suggested in the general section apply for this category. Additionally, within the minority population, girls’ education and children with disabilities need to be considered as well. For policies related to the aforementioned marginalised groups, refer to the Gender and Children with Disabilities section of this document.

Other policy options

Flexible and alternative education models

Mobile schools can adapt to indigenous students’ migratory lifestyles and may consist of structures that can be dismantled, such as tents. These schools can reach populations who otherwise would be unable to reach formal schooling locations.

In Kenya, around 90 mobile schools exist, which assign teachers to a certain family or groups of families, and allow younger children to attend school during the day and older children at night. While this system allows children to learn from a sedentary settlement, the implementation of such schools is difficult, costs per student are high, teachers are often unqualified and have little support and resources, and the inconsistency of children moving in and out of the system can have negative learning consequences.

Distance education or open and distance learning refers to education where the constraints of time and space are removed, and students can learn remotely using various information and communication technologies, rather than attending a school campus.

Mobile electronic devices such as phones, media players, and tablet computers are becoming increasingly affordable and common throughout the world, and offer new possibilities in reaching populations that are unable to attend physical school campuses.

While open and distance learning is primarily used for tertiary education, teacher training, and other programmes targeting adults, there are also opportunities for it to be applied to primary levels. Kenya recently launched a distance learning program using radio broadcasts, to reach remote populations. However, infrastructure (electricity, internet/ cellular networks) might not be reliably established, educational programmes may not be sufficiently developed yet to adequately replace in-person primary education models. Other challenges include mobile literacy, safety, and privacy issues, and education quality.

References
Kenya. 2010. Ministry of State for Development of Northern Kenya and Other Arid Lands. Getting to the hardest-to-reach: A Strategy to provide education to nomadic communities in Kenya through distance learning. Retrieved from: http://pubs.iied.org/pdfs/G02742.pdf

UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund). 2009. Child Friendly Schools Manual. New York: UNICEF. Retrieved from: https://www.unicef.org/publications/files/Child_Friendly_Schools_Manual_EN_040809.pdf

United Nations Inter-Agency Support Group (IASG). 2014. Education and indigenous peoples : priorities for inclusive education. Retrieved from: https://www.un.org/en/ga/69/meetings/indigenous/pdf/IASG%20Thematic%20Paper_%20Education%20-%20rev1.pdf

UNESCO. 2002. Open and Distance Learning: Trends, Policy and Strategy Considerations. Retrieved from: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0012/001284/128463e.pdf

UNESCO. 2004. The Challenge of indigenous education: practice and perspectives. Paris. Retrieved from: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000134773

UNESCO. 2008. Education for All Global Monitoring Report: Education for All by 2015-Will we make it? Retrieved from:  http://www.unesco.org/new/en/education/themes/leading-the-internationalagenda/efareport/reports/

UNESCO. 2013. Policy Guidelines for Mobile Learning. Paris: UNESCO. Retrieved from: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0021/002196/219641E.pdf

UNESCO. 2010. Education for All Global Monitoring Report: Reaching the Marginalized. Paris. Retrieved from :  http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0018/001866/186606E.pdf

Allocate funds to improve school infrastructure to make it more inclusive or build more schools

There are multiple reasons for having an insufficient supply of schools or poor infrastructure for schools in a certain area. The following pages deal with some of the most common root causes:

  • Due to economic constraints:
    • Not having enough budget. (For more on this subject, consult Policy page Insufficient budget.)
    • The unit cost of for improving infrastructure is too high. (For more on this subject, consult Policy page High unit costs.)

There is a difficulty to recruit teachers for possible new schools:

  • Due to an unsustainable salary level for teachers. (For more on this subject, consult Policy page Teacher benefits.)

In a federal country such as India, there are multiple levels of authority. The Department of School Education and Literacy set up an umbrella scheme for providing quality education to Minorities/Madrasas. This includes Infrastructure Development of Minority Institutes (IDMI). This scheme has been implemented at a National level. This scheme encourages traditional institutions like Madrasas and Maktabs by giving financial assistance to introduce Science, Mathematics, Social Studies, Hindi and English in their curriculum so that academic proficiency for classes I-XII is attainable for children studying in these institutions.

IDMI facilitate the education of minorities by augmenting and strengthening school infrastructure in Minority Institutions (elementary/ secondary/senior secondary schools) in order to expand the facilities for formal education to children of minority communities. To encourage educational facilities for girls, children with special needs and those who are most deprived educationally amongst the minorities.

The scheme will fund infrastructure development of private aided/unaided minority institutions to the extent of 75% and subject to a maximum of Rs. 50 lakhs ($70,000) per institution for the strengthening educational infrastructure and physical facilities in the existing school including additional classrooms, science/computer lab rooms, library rooms, toilets, drinking water facilities and hostel buildings for children especially for girls. (As dated 5 Nov 2019, refer to the MHRD website).

References
UNESCO. 2008. Education for All Global Monitoring Report: Education for All by 2015-Will we make it? Retrieved from:  http://www.unesco.org/new/en/education/themes/leading-the-internationalagenda/efareport/reports/

UNESCO. 2010. Education for All Global Monitoring Report: Reaching the Marginalized. Paris. Retrieved from:  http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0018/001866/186606E.pdf

India. Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD). Scheme for Infrastructure Development in Minority Institutes (IDMI). Available at: https://mhrd.gov.in/idmi

OECD (Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development). 2012.  Equity and Quality in Education: Supporting Disadvantaged Students and Schools. Paris. Retrieved from: http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/9789264130852-en
Updated on 2021-08-09

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