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Publish at March 09 2022 Updated March 18 2022

Building the capacity of ministries of education to lead in crisis

Jordan has taken in more than 212,000 school-age Syrian children...

For nearly two decades, IIEP has provided support for capacity building and planning skills to enable countries to better prepare for, prevent, and respond to crises that affect education.

However, little research had been conducted until then on the specific role of education administrations in conducting crisis management, particularly that of ministries of education and their deconcentrated structures.

What factors promote or limit their engagement and leadership?

These questions are at the heart of an IIEP project initiated in 2019, just before COVID-19 enters our common vocabulary.

"At the heart of the most resilient education systems are strong ministries of education, able to prepare and maneuver sector-wide responses to crises. And this is done by providing responses aligned with both long-term priorities for recovery and development and shorter-term humanitarian assistance,"
Leonora MacEwen, Program Specialist at IIEP and expert in crisis-responsive planning

For example, the crisis in Syria has led to the displacement of six million people since 2011. Jordan is the third largest host country for Syrian refugees, including more than 212,000 school-aged children.

The alignment between national commitments to refugee inclusion and SDG 4 has led to substantial support from international actors in Jordan.

However, "when the refugees began to arrive, our research shows that the issue of technical and institutional capacity was clearly the most important factor enabling the Ministry of Education to maneuver the crisis while struggling to maintain important reform initiatives."


The project includes three country case studies. They address the theme of leadership through the lens of different crises:

Each of the case studies scrutinized a number of areas, including education policies, infrastructure, institutional and technical capacity, teacher management, or the issue of coordination. They provide targeted recommendations for each country based on the research findings.

With a few million refugees, including several hundred thousand children, countries bordering Ukraine may find inspiration.

Leadership: strong ministries of education at the heart of resilience

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