In many fragile and conflict-affected states, teachers are largely responsible for rebuilding and sustaining education systems, even when the government is unable or unwilling to do so. Teachers can be found working in some of the hardest conditions around the world and are often on the front lines of violence.
Education, and, with it teachers, have increasingly become targets of attack.
Between 2006 and 2009:
- 439 teachers, education employees and students were killed in Afghanistan;
- 117 teachers and students were assassinated in Colombia and 435 education staff also received death threats;
- and the list goes on.
However, this form of violence is not the only thing that makes teaching especially difficult in these contexts. Teachers, like their students, have often been affected in other ways by the crisis themselves, including having their livelihoods disrupted by being displaced from their homes and losing loved ones. In addition, often the teachers working in this context are paid infrequently, if at all. A survey of teachers in post-war Liberia showed that, routinely, teachers had to work three jobs (two after they were finished teaching) just to feed their families.
There’s always a lot of creativity in how education is delivered. A school could be under a tree, could be inside someone’s home. It could be in a mosque or a church, it could be anywhere young people can gather safely with adults who can instruct them.