Teachers have risked their lives just going to work in over 20 countries in the past several decades. Targeted by both government security forces and armed groups, education personnel have been caught in the middle of political, ideological, sectarian, and military struggles in conflict-affected countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East. Teachers have been threatened, injured, displaced, kidnapped for ransom, extorted for payment of their salaries, indoctrinated, arrested, imprisoned, tortured, fired, and killed. Female and male teachers are often affected differently.
This briefing paper focuses specifically on targeted attacks on elementary and secondary education personnel and measures implemented to protect them. Education personnel include teachers, education officials, administrators, support staff of all types, and teacher trade union members. The paper addresses the scope nature, and motives of attacks on education personnel; the impacts of attacks on teachers, the education system, and the larger society; and the range of measures that have been undertaken by communities, policymakers, advocacy groups, UN agencies, and teachers themselves to protect education personnel from attacks and prevent them from recurring.