There is a strong link between education and a community's ability to cope with disasters or conflict.
When a disaster strikes or a conflict erupts, schools are typically closed to provide shelter to displaced people. In situations affected by armed conflict, sometimes schools are targeted by a group with grievances. Inequitable access to quality education and the lack of culturally sensitive or context-appropriate curriculum and textbooks also may incite grievances and conflict.
Large populations of disillusioned, unengaged and unemployed youth could present a threat to societies experiencing such change in their demographics. Addressing inequalities and inequities can promote social cohesion. Involving children and youth in policy and programme development and expanding opportunities for them to promote social cohesion and comprehensive school safety are considered essential for reducing inequalities and ultimately preventing conflict.
In today's world, environmental stresses also place countries at greater risk of political instability. Yet many countries lack the capacity to confront the challenges of conflicts, natural and human-made hazards and climate change.
Disasters can be mitigated through the promotion of safe schools and the Comprehensive School Safety Framework. Conflict can be mitigated through the promotion of social cohesion, conflict sensitive education and peace-building curricula.
Education ministries, agencies and educators in all positions can be part of a government's front line for preventing or reducing the impact of these contemporary challenges while also strengthening the resilience of children, communities and education systems.