Key considerations for planning education continuity in case of emergencies for all children, including girls and boys with disabilities, out of school children and others at-risk of being left behind:
- Establish contingency plans to support educational continuity, based on the Interagency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE) Minimum Standards for preparedness, response, and recovery – a global tool that was developed as part of the Sphere project and articulates the minimum level of educational quality and access in emergencies.
- Plan for using the twin-track approach by disability targeted interventions and disability inclusive mainstream interventions to strengthen the inclusion of children with disabilities in education in emergencies.
- Disability targeted interventions are humanitarian action interventions that aim to directly address the disability related needs of children and adolescents with disabilities. For example, providing assistive devices and access to rehabilitation services for children and adolescents with disabilities to support their participation in education.
- Disability inclusive mainstream interventions are mainstream education humanitarian programmes and interventions designed or adapted to ensure they are inclusive of and accessible to all children, including children with disabilities. For example, costructing or locating temporary learning spaces to ensure they are accessible to all children, including children with disabilities, following principles of universal design; collecting disability disaggregated data in education needs assessments, etc.
- While planning to make education in emergencies more accessible for all, particularly those often excluded, ask the following questions: What are the barriers to participation and learning? Who experiences these barriers? How can such barriers be minimised? What resources are available to support participation and learning? How can additional resources be mobilised?
- Prepare to engage persons with disabilities and Organisations of Persons with Disabilities (OPDs) as their experience and perspective can inform education coordination, data collection, assessments, formal and informal education interventions and communication materials preparation.
- Keep in mind that parents may not recognize the value of education for children with disabilities or may hide children and adolescents with disabilities from the community out of shame or to protect them, reducing their participation in social and educational activities. Therefore, prepare to work with parents and caregivers, providing parental guidance and counselling, and promoting general awareness on disability issues.
- When assessing and pre-identifying buildings and facilities that could be used for education in emergency interventions (e.g., schools, temporary learning spaces), look for infrastructure that is already accessible or requires only minor modifications. Include accessibility in assessment criteria or standards used to select education related buildings and facilities.