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23 Oct 2018

Call for contributions - NORRAG Special Issue 02 Data collection and evidence building to support education in emergencies

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NORRAG invites specialists and stakeholders interested or involved in education to submit an article in English, French, Spanish or Arabic to NORRAG Special Issue 02 – Data Collection and Evidence Building to Support Education in Emergencies. NORRAG Special issue (NSI) is an open-source periodical. It seeks to give prominence to authors from different countries and with diverse backgrounds. Each issue is dedicated to a special topic of global education policy and international cooperation in education. NSI aims to bridge the gap between theory and practice as well as advocacy and policy in international education development.

The contributions are expected to be short pieces (typically around 1200-1500 words) or multimedia material that can speak to a wider audience of policymakers, academics, researchers, civil society organizations, and other actors working on education.

Special Issue 02 intends to address the question of data and evidence to support education in emergency (EiE) situations. The duration of emergency situations–conflicts but also natural disasters–frequently spans longer than a typical basic education cycle of 12 years. In these contexts, education remains underfunded despite its critical role in bringing back a sense of normalcy and protecting children by providing them with a safe place in precarious environments.

It is shown that a large share of the problem lies in the lack of data and evidence about the situation of children in emergency situations, best practices and critical needs. The lack of data and evidence severely undermines the ability of countries to develop sound and articulated education sector plans and transitional education plans. Against the backdrop of strong requirements for evidence-based plans needed to ensure funding and appropriate monitoring and evaluation of progress, the absence of data and lack of research can jeopardize rapid recovery from emergency situations. Research in emergency settings is further complicated by safety concerns, but also sensitive political, social and cultural environments making identification of “what works” a daunting task.

Guiding sections and indicative issues and topics for the NSI 02 contributions:

Section 1: Global Overview of Data Collection and Evidence Building in EiE

  • What is the current state of data collection and the evidence base in support of “what works” in EiE?
  • What are the critical gaps in the data and evidence base? How might they be filled?
  • How do we define high quality, robust research and evidence in EiE?

Section 2: Data and Evidence to Support Effective Educational Policies and Practices

  • What are promising practices for educational programs in EiE? How have they been measured?
  • How do various program goals (e.g. value for money, ability to scale, etc.) affect evaluation or research approaches?
  • What are promising practices for educational policies in EiE? How have they been measured?

Section 3: Data and Evidence for Immediate Action and Medium- to Long-term Strategies for Mitigating the Effects of Emergencies on Education

  • What are the critical data points needed at the early phases of a crisis?
  • What information is needed to support medium- to long-term planning efforts?
  • What information is needed to inform better prevention and preparedness efforts?
  • How can the field best ensure that existing data and evidence is shared broadly and applied to inform improved policy and programming from local to global levels?

Section 4: Methodological Approaches for Understanding “What Works” in EiE

  • What are examples of promising quantitative, qualitative or mixed methods approaches?
  • What other innovative methodologies should be considered?
  • What should drive our methodological decisions for research in EiE?
  • What challenges do researchers face in conducting high quality, robust research in crisis-affected and/or disaster-affected settings?
  • What innovative collaborations, funding mechanisms or research initiatives may support the development of a stronger evidence base for EiE?

Section 5: Data and Evidence Needs for Sector Planning and Advocacy

  • What data are needed for countries to develop robust education sector plans? What are good examples of strong country-led processes and plans in EiE contexts?
  • What data are needed for global advocacy efforts to garner support from key stakeholders and donors in support of EiE?

If you are interested in participating, we kindly request you to send a confirmation to contribute and a title and short abstract (no more than 250 words) to Dr. Mary Mendenhall ( by November 15, 2018. If you are considering a multimedia submission, please also explain what this might entail; the editorial team will work with you to determine the best fit for the NSI 02. Abstracts can be submitted in English, French, Spanish or Arabic. The deadline for submission of the final article is December 21st.

Since we are asking for short articles, we will privilege those that are accurate, original and relevant. The issue seeks to include contributions not only from researchers, but also from civil society organizations, international organizations and stakeholders, among others, involved in education and who do not necessarily find a space to make their voices heard.

Guest editor: Mary Mendenhall, Ed.D., Associate Professor of Practice, International and Comparative Education program, Teachers College, Columbia University, USA.



NSI Volume 1 analyzed the Right to Education movement: policies, practices, social movements, challenges, impact and models of collaboration between state and non-state actors. The volume was focused on three specific countries: India, South Africa and Brazil. Here is the link to the first volume, which has been translated into 5 languages.

The ongoing NSI Volume 2 analyzes how global reports, such as UNESCO’s Global Education Monitoring Report, World Development Report and Global Monitoring Report of the World Bank, and OECD’s Education at a Glance, but also international standardized test such as PISA, TIMSS & PIRLS, and LLECE, influence the global development agenda, especially in Latin America, but more generally in the global South & East.

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