|© UNICEF/NYHQ2011-1370/Rula Halawani|
|Students perform during a back-to-school event in the Bedouin village of Kaabneh, in Area C of the West Bank.|
In 2006, UNICEF and the Government of the Netherlands embarked on a four-year partnership to provide educational support to countries facing emergencies and emerging from crisis. The goal of the Back on Track Programme on Education in Emergencies and Post-Crisis Transition was to help countries establish a viable path towards sustainable progress in providing quality basic education to all children. The Government of the Netherlands contributed $201 million and the European Commission provided additional support of $5.76 million.
Back on Track was created to address the precarious conditions that prevent countries from accessing traditional global education funding. The programme’s pragmatic approach seeks to help countries build capacity and reform the whole education sector. At the same time it works to deepen partnerships with communities and civil society. These partnerships are meant to help countries get ‘back on track’ and ready them to access international development aid. The core principle of Back on Track is that countries with internal capacities are less likely to slip back into armed conflict or be overwhelmed by the next disaster.
The programme focuses on broad reforms, innovative programmes, extension of successes through partnerships and accumulation of evidence about what works through robust monitoring and evaluation. It is structured around four broad goals:
1) improving the quality of education in emergencies and post-crisis transitions;
2) increasing the resilience of education in chronic crises, arrested development and deteriorating contexts;
3) increasing contributions by the education sector to improve prediction, prevention and preparedness for emergencies caused by natural disaster and conflict; and
4) preparing evidence-based policies, efficient operational strategies and fit-for-purpose financing instruments for education in emergencies and post-crisis situations.
By the end of 2010, Back on Track had:
• restored access to school and improved education quality for six million children in 40 countries and territories;
• indirectly benefited another 14 million children through national adoption of best practices and innovative financing mechanisms;
• provided training to 335,000 teachers and education support staff;
• constructed or rehabilitated 4,700 schools and classrooms;
• distributed more than 1.8 million teaching/learning materials to children, teachers and communities.