Promoting systems-level change for out-of-school children and youth
Hero image for ACCESS featuring drawings of foxes around a large globe acting various stages of education and systems strengthening



For approximately 258 million children and youth, access to education is out of reach due to conflict, poverty, natural disaster, or forced displacement. 

We believe that they should have the opportunity to begin or return to school if they so choose. 

This is why we are undertaking a 44-month research project, ACCESS: Accelerating Change for Children’s and Youths’ Education through Systems Strengthening, which investigates the feasibility and process of embedding Accelerated Education Programmes (AEP) in five countries, drawing on the expertise of researchers and educational stakeholders in each.  

What is ACCESS?

Where we work

Grey world map over a blue background with the following countries highlighted: Colombia, Jordan, Nigeria, Pakistan, Uganda

ACCESS: Transition to Phase 2

ACCESS Phase 2 has the objectives of supporting a process of change towards greater institutionalisation of AEPs and flexible education programming, while also understanding the enabling and constraining factors towards this type of change.

Healing the wounds of forced displacement: the power of education

Throughout the first year of ACCESS, our researchers have found that often, the actions of donors, civil society, government to strengthen education provision for out of school children and youth maintains the status quo. While this work is necessary, it is insufficient to achieve the types of far-reaching, bold or disruptive change which the UN Secretary General notes is required. It also precludes these OOSCY from accessing the types of learning opportunities they need and demand.

Opportunities and challenges to systemic change: Findings from Phase 1 Research

A year into the project, we’re identifying opportunities and bottlenecks to making Accelerated Education programmes and other non-formal approaches to education more accessible, available, adaptable and acceptable to out of school children in youth in Jordan, Colombia, Nigeria, Pakistan and Uganda.

Friendship and Care as True Partnership in Research: A Personal Reflection

In ACCESS, we not only focus on what we do, but how we do it. We strive for co-production of our research. That was our entry into the panel—how we create true and equal partnership within the research team. During that panel, and in many instances throughout ACCESS, I’ve been reflecting on what true partnership means to me. I’ve come to realize that one of the most important elements of true partnership is friendship—truly caring about each other.

Why can’t the west welcome all refugees?

Why is it that these refugees have been welcomed with open arms, while other recent waves of refugees have been walled off, contained, detained, and denied protection and access to basic services? Dr. Ritesh Shah, Project Lead, ACCESS The humanitarian response to...

Deconstructing Ethical and Equitable Research Practices

The long-lasting impacts of colonialism, racism, and embedded power-structures have long been discussed within international development practices more widely. It is only recently, however, that these discussions have come to the fore within the Education in Emergencies community.

Challenging Research-Practice Partnerships

Research partnerships in the humanitarian and development communities have long been susceptible to implicit (and explicit) power structures which affect how the research is designed and carried out, as well as a dissonance between who collects the data, and then makes sense of it all. In ACCESS we have made a commitment to challenge these dynamics.

Protect our education: Making schools in conflict safer for girls

When we arrived in the camp, my friends and I were very happy to go to school every day. But we started being afraid to go because some armed people used to come and attack our school and take some girls away. Now we are not regularly in school. Sarata, 14, internally...

Second Chance at Education for Children and Youth Most in Need

One in three children and youth living in conflict or natural disaster zones are not at school. What can be done to get them back into education for a better chance in life? This is the ambitious challenge ahead of Dr Ritesh Shah at the University of Auckland,...

Pathways to Accessible and Recognised Education: Initial Research Findings

For instance, our team found that in some contexts, learners are not counted as “out of school” because they have never attended school to begin with, despite them being of school-aged.If you could not (re) enter into formal schooling, what opportunities might you...
The University of Auckland logo on left in white over dark blue box. To the right: Education and Social Work written in green over Centre for Asia Pacific Refugee Studies written in blue
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