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Engaging stakeholders to build resilient education systems

Research 6 minute read

Workshops facilitated by the GEM Centre support policymakers to better plan for emergencies in education.

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, which disrupted schooling for children around the world, policymakers across the globe are eager to strengthen the resilience of education systems. USAID invited ACER researchers from the Global Education Monitoring (GEM) Centre to share their new Policy Monitoring Tool for Education in Emergencies at a recent learning series.

The learning series on ‘Strengthening resilience capacities of local education institutions and systems’ was coordinated by the USAID Education in Crisis and Conflict Network (ECCN), which is part of the Leading Through Learning Global Platform (LTLGP). The LTLGP provides avenues for the sharing of knowledge, resources and tools to promote educational development.

The GEM Centre co-designed 2 workshops in the learning series. The workshops focused on the application of the Education in Emergencies Policy Monitoring Framework and Tool, which the GEM Centre created during the height of COVID-19 related education disruptions.

The workshops aimed at supporting participants to enhance preparedness and disaster risk reduction capacities of their institutions, with the intention to strengthen education system resilience. Educational decision makers, practitioners and researchers from Latin America, North America, the Middle East, Africa and Asia participated in the workshops.

Participants from across these regions were encouraged to share their experiences and learnings. Some of the challenges observed for education in emergencies included restrictions on discussing system gaps, student transportation issues, risks faced by girls, varied treatment of students of different ages, and issues related to psychosocial support.

The GEM Centre facilitators worked with participants to apply and adapt the Policy Monitoring Tool to their circumstances. They demonstrated how crucial issues can be organised according to 3 types of factors in the Policy Monitoring Framework – Agents, Teaching and Learning, and Systems.

Participants also rated the risk of specific policy issues for teaching and learning in their education systems. Ideally, risk rating would be based on evidence from available data. However, participants’ experiences of data availability in their education systems varied. Whilst some participants affirmed that there was reliable data, others observed the contrary.

One participant commented that: ‘Data are not reliable as there is underdeveloped identification and reporting of children with disabilities, especially ethnic minorities.’ This highlighted how the Policy Monitoring Tool can be used to consider the risks posed by emergencies in education to specific vulnerable populations.  

At the end of the workshops, participants discussed the different risk ratings and how they had determined the ratings. The engaging discussion sharpened everyone’s understanding of how to estimate risks associated with teaching and learning in emergencies.

Participants provided positive feedback about the utility of the Policy Monitoring Tool. For example, one participant remarked in detail that:

‘The Education in Emergencies Policy Monitoring Tool, developed by the GEM Centre, represents a significant stride toward building resilient education systems in the face of emergencies.’

‘By combining a comprehensive framework with a practical tool, policymakers can address critical policy considerations and issues swiftly, adapting them to their unique contexts.’

Through facilitation of this workshop, the GEM Centre gained important insights from policymakers about the application of the Policy Monitoring Tool in different contexts. Participants emphasised the importance of receiving training related to planning for emergencies in education, including how to use the Policy Monitoring Tool.

The GEM Centre will use learnings from the workshop to continue to support education stakeholders to strengthen the resilience of education systems.


If you would like to learn how the GEM Centre can work with you to apply the Policy Monitoring Tool to your circumstances, please contact us at:


About the GEM Centre

The GEM Centre is a long-term partnership between ACER and the Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The goal of the GEM Centre is to improve learning by ensuring that education policies, practices and investments are influenced by high-quality evidence. Learn more about the GEM Centre.


Further reading

Read more about the Policy Monitoring Tool and access the Literature Review that it is based on.

Learn about how the Policy Monitoring Framework guided a review of flexible learning strategies used in the Asia-Pacific region.

Dive deeper into the evidence related to education in emergencies by reading our article published in the academic journal Education Inquiry.

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