The Impact of the Boko Haram Conflict on Education in Northeast Nigeria

The Impact of the Boko Haram Conflict on Education in Northeast Nigeria

Gwadabe Kurawa (Independent Researcher, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7615-0.ch006


This chapter examines the impact of the Boko Haram conflict on education. Theoretically, conflict tends to be a dominant and elusive concept. Although it is possible to agree that, in practice, conflict has a positive meaning as there is evidence of this in everyday productive debate, dialogue, and negotiation, the interpretation that emerged in this case is negative, as demonstrated by the violent clash between the Boko Haram Group and the Nigerian armed forces. Therefore, a particular analysis of what this conflict looks like in Northeast Nigeria is presented in this chapter. The chapter also focuses on the threats, especially to education, which have been experienced by the affected community from 2009 to the present day.
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This chapter analyses the impact of the Boko Haram conflict on education. Education, which is a human right, is often difficult to provide in times of conflict. Conflict arises because of real or perceived differences between two or more people, groups or forces. Such conflict also manifests in different forms. The form of conflict this chapter considers is a clash between the Boko Haram Insurgents and the Nigerian forces and those persons affected in the Northeast of Nigeria.

The author chooses to focus on the conflict in Nigeria for three reasons. First, Nigeria has the highest number of internally displaced people in the Lake Chad Basin (Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre [IDMC], 2017), thus education in times of conflict is evidently a problem that needs to be examined. Second, displacement in the country mostly happens on individual or families basis (IDMC, 2017), which makes it problematic to restore education because support cannot be provided to a particular state, where there is a significant number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) and IDP returnees. Third, the author lived and worked for some years as a lecturer at a university in Northern Nigeria and experienced the region’s people as a very lively and accommodating community. It was very distressing to see such people being forced to flee their homes because of the conflict, which they were neither its architect nor were they interested in it, while they ended up paying a huge price because of its consequences.

This chapter is structured as follows: the first part begins with the conceptualisation of conflict. It then examines the triggers for conflicts and exemplifies the challenges schools face during conflict. This is followed by an analysis of education in the internally displaced camps. The second part of the chapter provides a short summary of the Boko Haram conflict and the complex political and socio-economic conditions in the Northeast of Nigeria. It then presents a synopsis and trend analysis of displacement in the region and how this undermines education. The chapter ends with the role of education in conflict prevention and moving development forward, and demonstrates a correlation between illiteracy, poverty and susceptibility to conflict.

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