Education and Conflict: Research, Policy and Practice

Research also suggests education can entrench intolerance, create or perpetuate inequality and intensify social tensions that can lead to civil a key determinant of income, influence and power. Inequalities in educational access can lead to other inequalities – in income, employment, nutrition and health as well as political position, which can be an important source of conflict.

Education in South Sudan: Investing in a better future

The newly-independent country of South Sudan is anchored to the bottom of the world league table for education. More than half of its primary school age children – over 1 million in total – are out of school. Young girls are more likely to die in pregnancy or childbirth than to graduate from primary school. South Sudan’s young people face restricted opportunities for the education they need to build a better future for themselves and their country. It is time for the world to come together and change this picture.

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South Sudan Education Emergency

UNHCR’s leading role with refugees in countries of asylum is not in doubt. However, when refugees return to their countries of origin – which are often trying to recover from the devastation of war – donors do not agree on the extent of UNHCR’s involvement in reintegration activities. Some donors say that UNHCR is not a development agency and reintegration is not its job while others say that UNHCR should be helping devastated countries to absorb returning refugees by building schools and health centres. After decades of discussion about closing the gap between relief and development the international community needs to settle this problem once and for all. Development agencies have a different sense of urgency, timing and culture and they do not come onto the scene soon enough. UNHCR has a crucial reintegration role to play during transitional recovery periods.


Sudan National Human Development Report

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has commissioned independent annual Human Development Reports (HDRs) since 1990 with the goal of putting people at the centre of development, going beyond income as a measure of assessing people’s longterm well-being. The HDRs messages and the tools to implement them have been embraced by governments and people around the developing world, as shown by the publication of many Regional and National Human Development Reports by more than 140 countries over the past two decades. This report is the first National HDR for Sudan and is the result of extensive consultations with leading scholars, government officials and development practitioners. The report examines the relationship between human development and conflict in Sudan. It shows that where conflict surges and thrives, among and within communities, human development suffers the most. And, where conflict is not the case, opportunities to expand human freedoms, obtain better educational opportunities, greater and equitable gender participation, improved infrastructure and better health services were realized. However, in Sudan, human development and conflict remain tied together. The Sudan Human Development Report takes aim at disentangling this complex relationship.

The Effects of Household Assets Inequality and Conflict on Population Health in Sudan

The authors hypothesize a relationship between household assets inequality, conflict and poor health outcomes in Sudan. Sudan’s 31 million people represent diverse cultures, both Arabic and African.Sudan is a poor country, with a Human Development index of 0.41, ranking 171st of 187 countries. The country has suffered political instability since independence from Britain in 1956,with two revolutions and a 40-year civil war. Armed conflict in western Sudan and states bordering South Sudan is ongoing (Central Intelligence Agency 2013).

Poverty, Inequality and the Nature of Economic Growth in South Africa

During the first decade of democracy in South Africa, the economy has recorded one of its longest periods of positive economic growth in the country’s history. One of the more vexing issues within the economic policy terrain in post-apartheid South Africa though, has been the impact of this consistently positive growth performance on social welfare, specifically income poverty and inequality. Many observers have highlighted the potential harmful consequences of persistently high levels of poverty and, particularly economic inequality, on the quality and sustainability of democracy (See for example Bermeo, 2009; Kapstein & Converse, 2008 and Wells & Krieckhaus, 2006). High levels of inequality have been linked to behaviours such as decreased voter turnout, depressed political engagement and high crime rates – all of which can have a negative impact on the quality of democracy. Increasing levels of income inequality also have the potential to divide citizens and contribute to social conflict. In such a situation, the diverse pressures on a government can lead to politicians resorting to surreptitious tactics such as “playing some voters off against each other” (Bermeo, 2009).

Poverty Trends in South Africa

Household expenditure surveys, like the Income and Expenditure Survey (IES) and Living Conditions Survey (LCS), are fundamental components to a survey programme of any statistical agency. They are an essential building block for the consumer price index (CPI) to stay current with the changing spending and consumption patterns of the country and are the best sources of data for the measurement of money-metric poverty and inequality. The consistent approach to the collection of expenditure data through these tools since the IES 2005/2006 allows us to measure trends in the poverty situation of the country between 2006 and 2011.

Inequality in Southern Africa

The Southern African region is characterised by unacceptable high levels of unemployment, poverty and inequality. In many cases, poverty and inequality are on the increase, particularly in countries in crisis such as Zimbabwe and Swaziland. Neither agricultural economies such as Malawi nor resource-rich countries such as Namibia, South Africa and Angola have been able to significantly reduce wealth gaps and the rates of poverty and unemployment.

Current Poverty and Income Distribution in the Context of South African History

In South Africa with its high levels of racial inequality, inequality in income distribution is especially large and persistent. For an upper-middle income country (in terms of GDP per capita and economic structure), South African social indicators (e.g. life expectancy, infant mortality or quality of education) are closer to those of lower-middle income or even low income countries. This reflects the unequal distribution of resources and opportunities. A small group of highincome earners sharply increases average incomes, but has little impact on average social indicators, which are low because of this very same inequality. Even in 1995, before the full advent of AIDS, South African life expectancy at birth was only 63 – ten years less than that of Panama, a country of comparable income, and four years less than that of the Philippines, a country with one-third of South Africa‟s per capita income (World Bank 1997).

Inequality in South Africa

South Africa is one of the most unequal countries in the world. It is often said to be the most unequal, but that is incorrect. A number of countries, for example Namibia and Seychelles, have higher gini coefficients (the measure most often used to measure income distribution) than does South Africa. There are a number of other countries that are clearly very unequal – some major oil producers for example – but, for obvious reasons, choose not to measure the extent of their inequality.

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