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close this bookEducation for Reconstruction - Report for the Overseas Development Administration (DFID, 1996, 80 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the document1.0 Introduction
View the document2.0 Physical Reconstruction
View the document3.0 Ideological Reconstruction
View the document4.0 Psychological Reconstruction
View the document5.0 Provision of Materials and Curricular Reconstruction
View the document6.0 Human Resources
View the document7.0 Population and Demography
View the document8.0 Concluding Remarks
View the documentSupplementary Texts
Open this folder and view contentsAppendices
View the documentBibliography

2.0 Physical Reconstruction

In any post-crisis situation in education one of the most obvious and pressing needs will be to ensure that there are sufficient buildings and facilities to allow educational activities of whatever kind and at whatever level actually to take place. Here, as in many other areas to which we shall come below, we can identify both urgent immediate needs of an 'emergency' nature and longer-term needs for which planning can start even at an early stage.

2.1 Buildings

The main problem is the availability of appropriate facilities. A common outcome of crises such as war and natural disaster is the partial if not complete destruction of the physical plant, as in Germany after the Second World War.9 [See also Appendix I, Case Study: Bosnia] In some countries schools and universities are specific military targets, the shelling of the University of Sarajevo providing one of the most striking examples. In addition, in the confusion that follows war and upheaval those buildings still suitable for educational purposes are often appropriated for other uses. These include:

· military purposes
· general administrative and civil use
· shelter for refugees and displaced persons

9 'In Munich [...], only one third of the classrooms that had existed in 1939 remained. In Württemberg-Baden over a quarter of the classrooms had been either totally or partially destroyed or requisitioned for other essential purposes; of some 1,500 school buildings 205 were similarly unavailable. In Cologne some 92% of-the schools had been destroyed or severely damaged. In Berlin 149 school buildings had been destroyed and 36 heavily damaged, while a further 221 needed substantial repairs and 81 had been requisitioned, leaving only 162 available in the whole city. In Schleswig-Holsiein, largely as a result of widespread requisitioning, there was only one classroom for every 123 children, where there had been one for every 37 before the war; of 1,558 pre-war Volksschulen only 162 could be used for teaching purposes.' (David Phillips, 'British Educational Policy in Occupied Germany: Some Problems and Paradoxes in the Control of Schools and Universities' in International Currents in Educational Ideas and Practices, ed. Peter Cunningham and Colin Brock, History of Education Society. 1988, p. 75).

The situation is often further exacerbated by widespread destruction as a result of civil upheaval, as in the case of Iraq where 5,500 (40 per cent) of the educational institutions were destroyed during and following the hostilities of the Gulf War, with military action being responsible in hundreds of cases, but most of the damage in fact caused by looting and vandalism.10

10 Sue Williams,' Iraq: Education and the Embargo', UNESCO Sources No. 49, July-August 1993.

In seeking to solve the many problems relating to buildings and their use, those responsible for emergency planning in education might find it desirable to move through four phases, as suggested by UNESCO:11

· diagnosis and analysis
· research and development
· planning
· implementation

1l 'UNESCO's Educational Buildings and Furniture Programme'. Educational Spaces, No. 1. Paris, July 1989.

During the first of these phases a number of short-term measures can be taken:

· emergency repairs to existing buildings (especially roofing, glazing of windows, basic heating and sanitation)

· provision of temporary classrooms (including tents and prefabricated buildings)12

· conversion of other buildings to educational purposes (schools housed in hotels in Croatia, for example, and the use of buildings for multiple activities

· supply of basic classroom furniture (tables, chairs and blackboards)

12 For example, a project carried out by WVI (World Vision International) in Azerbaijan has proposed to convert shipping containers into classrooms for IDPs (internationally displaced persons) of primary and secondary school age in conflict-affected areas in the north-west of the country, as many schools in this area were seriously damaged by lighting (United Nations Consolidated Inter-Agency Appeal for the Caucasus. Azerbaijan, DHA, Vol. 3, March, 1995.) WVI proposed to convert 60 empty shipping containers into 30 classrooms. Each container would provide classroom space for 16 students and the classrooms would be furnished with desks, chairs, blackboards and other necessary equipment. Emergency relief supplied by UNESCO in Bosnia involved pre-fabricated schools, one for each ethnic group, implemented via UNPROFOR, and shift schooling (Relief for Bosnian schools paid for by Germany). (Interview, UNESCO, 10 May, 1996).

As far as the longer term is concerned, plans need to be made for:

· more thorough renovation of existing buildings following detailed analysis of needs

· focus on building for more specific educational requirements (e.g. in the case of Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia recently, the reconstruction of special education institutions such as orphanages and boarding schools, for physically and mentally disabled children);13 similarly in Ethiopia UNESCO has provided housing for rural teachers in an attempt to retain a viable teaching force14

· the sustainable development of building programmes which takes account of future reform needs15

· restoration of libraries, museums and other cultural establishments which link directly to education

13 UNESCO: The Caucasus in Crisis, Education For All. UNESCO, No.15, 1994. In 1995/96 UNESCO proposed to initiate an in-depth analysis of the present conditions of such establishments and undertake essential repair of selected buildings.

14 'UNESCO, Educational Buildings and Furniture Programme'. Paris. No. 1. July 1989. Education Facilities Unit of UNESCO, p. 14.

15 In the case of Rwanda UNDP and UNESCO have given assistance to a project concerned with the implementation and management of building programmes in education which has to do with improving staff competence, developing planning techniques, using local resources and producing strategies to maintain existing sites ('Education for All: Educational Buildings and Furniture', Educational Spaces. No. 2, Paris, July 1991, Educational Architecture Unit of UNESCO, p.6).

2.2 Supply of Electricity and Water

As part of the initial emergency repair programme urgent effort should be devoted to restoring or introducing power supplies. Schools and other educational establishments depend for so many of their basic activities and needs on a reliable source of electricity. In some cases of course this will not have existed before the period of crisis in question, but in many the restoration of the power supply will be an urgent necessity, not only for the functioning of teaching equipment but - more importantly perhaps - for heating, lighting16 and cooking.

16 Children in Crisis provided candle-making machines for Bosnia-Herzegovina enabling 1000 candles a day to be produced in Tuzla where in the winter of 1994 there was virtually a total blackout (Open Society News. Fall 1995/Winter 1996, p. 2).

Equally the restoration of a pure water supply will be of great importance, not only for purposes of basic sanitation but also because schools - as with all institutions that bring together large numbers of people - are potentially places where disease can spread if the means to ensure adequate hygiene are not readily available. Here, as in many other instances, the needs in terms of educational reconstruction cannot be divorced from the more general needs of the population in terms of health provision and care.17

17 The United Nations Consolidated Inter-Agency Appeal for the Caucasus resolves: 'Water supply and sanitation deficiencies will be addressed in areas of high concentration of refugees and IDPs in the three countries. Rural water programmes will also be undertaken in communities which are not served, or are under-served, by the national water distribution system. Sanitation programmes will be carried out in remote villages' (United Nations, DHA, Vol. 1, March 1995, p.4). UNICEF plans to restore and develop water supply systems (repair damaged pumping stations, distribute mains and reservoirs and drill new wells) in priority provinces in Angola such as Bengu, Benguele and Kunene (UN Consolidated Appeal for Angola. May 1993, p. 33).

2.3 Environmental Safety and Security

For every 100,000 defused land-mines it is reckoned that more than two million more are laid.18 There are said to be about 110 million mines currently in existence. In most countries which have experienced conflict the presence of mines - for the most part unmapped - is a hazard of major dimension. The International Committee of the Red Cross19 estimates that some 800 people are killed by land-mines every month, 30-40 per cent of them being children under the age of fifteen.20

18 Wolfgang Blum, 'Der Tod unter den Fußen', Die Zeit. 9.2.96, p. 33.

19 UNICEF, 20 November, 1995 (Information from the Internet)

20 In Mozambique the National Demining Commission estimates that at least forty people die and dozens of others lose limbs each month as a result of land-mine explosions (Mozambique News Agency AIM Reports. No. 75, 11 January. 1996, p. 4).

We shall return in Section 5.4 below to the question of mine-awareness among children. At an early stage in any programme of physical reconstruction it will be essential to ensure that exhaustive attempts are made to clear areas affected by mines in the proximity of schools and on the routes to and from settlements. This is an expensive operation costing the United Nations, for example, between £250 and £750 per mine, but it must now be accommodated in planning for most post-conflict development.

Educational institutions are often the target of attack by insurgents; in some instances it will be necessary to ensure the safety of children and teachers by a protective military or police presence of some kind.21

21 During the insurrection period of the mid and late eighties in South Africa teachers and schoolchildren were protected by a police and military presence in highly volatile and politicised areas such as Soweto, Alexandra, and Phola.