This 30-month research project seeks to assess and measure how formal and non-formal education can mitigate and prevent the escalation of violent conflict in fragile and conflict-affected states.

Existing literature has traditionally focused on education as an instrument of peacebuilding in post-conflict contexts, whereas the potential role of education in conflict prevention is less explored. This study will map the different ways education can prevent and mitigate violence directly.  After testing and determining the key mechanisms for prevention, the research will provide evidence-based recommendations for policymakers and practitioners at the international, national and local levels.

In doing so the project will combine conflict analysis and a study of macroeconomic and social trends to understand how education is linked to the drivers of conflicts (e.g., inequality and poverty, ethnic divisions, linguistic fragmentation and the marginalization of minorities) and the nature of its impact on stability and peace.

Building on reviews of the academic and policy-based literature, the team will also work in partnership with several research and practitioner institutions. The project will address primary, secondary and higher education as well as non-formal education. It will critically engage with a range of components, including:

  • teacher training;
  • classroom pedagogy and language instruction;
  • curriculum and textbook reform;
  • conflict-sensitive programming; and
  • institutional and governance reform of the education sector.

The primary research will attempt to select a mixture of emergency, early recovery and post-conflict contexts where the threat of escalation or relapse persists. The overall goal is to strengthen in a practical way the role of education in conflict prevention and to help improve the resilience of communities during conflict and where the risk of violence persists.