CAS Higher Education in Emergencies

Higher Education is an essential component of humanitarian response: it supports development and learning, improves quality of education, and builds resilience. This course builds the necessary knowledge and competencies for quality HEiE responses.



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14 ECTS credits
336 Distance teaching hours
Total learning hours (teaching hours and personal work) : 420h




Distance learning


Consuelo Guardia Macchiavello
+41 (0)22 379 96 26


Contact coordinator


CHF 5000.-

Scholarship criteria

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Contribution to the SDGs

Goal 4: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all


  • Develop knowledge and skills related to the design, development and implementation of higher education programs that are relevant and adapted to these contexts
  • Reinforce the right to education across the entire education continuum, including quality higher education that contributes directly to learners’ ability to engage in their community, as well as to their social and economic stability
  • Focus on the integration of digital pedagogy in HEiE programs that are adapted to humanitarian contexts and on innovative learning pathways for learners living in challenging circumstances


Academic staff preparing to engage in higher education in emergencies; humanitarian staff engaged in managing education programs in the field


6 modules:

  • International law and policies & International and National Higher Education requirements
  • Digital and connected learning
  • Program design and implementation
  • Physical and psychological protection and wellbeing
  • Monitoring and evaluation
  • Research in HEiEC


Prof. Abdeljalil AKKARI, Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, University of Geneva


Consuelo GUARDIA MACCHIAVELLO, University of Geneva


“International law and policies and International and National Higher Education requirements” program is open to international students from different countries. Not only it aims to provide intercultural dialogue, but also develop students into international law specialists. An essential tool to achieve integration in Higher Education both at national and international levels.

The main methods of education are on-line lectures with discussions and individual projects. The program consists of law courses and elective courses mainly on the status of refugees and their integration in Higher Education. The course will contain a variety of lectures focusing on international law. The elective part supplements the program with a multidisciplinary aspect of integrating refugees in higher education taking into consideration both international law and national requirements. The example will be the integration of refugees in Higher Education in Algeria as a sustainable development of the Ci-RES project.

By following the courses on “International law and policies & International and National Higher Education requirements”, students acquire knowledge in various fields, such as political science, history, and national jurisdiction. The combination of both law and courses from other disciplines aims to provide a thorough understanding of law field beyond its borders.


We conceive of digital and connected learning as different parts of a same entity that falls under the umbrella term Open Education.

Open Education is essentially founded on values of freedom and transparency from which remaining values of sharing, agency, empowerment, etc. spread. In the Global North, its history, related to the so-called University which centralizes higher education, can be traced back to the Middle Ages. From 1373, when the population in Florence asked for public lectures on Dante, to the XXIst century, periods of dissemination of knowledge animated by the demand of empowered learners alternated with periods of public and/or ecclesiastic control on knowledge. Technology, e.g. print, railway, computers, internet, played a role in both movements – freedom and control. Within this module, we will refocus on values of Open Education to empower humans and their ecosystems in sustainable ways. Once values related to universities are well integrated, we will address technological issues to leverage them.


This module develops know-how about the design and the implementation of higher education programs with a focus on emergency contexts. Participants will acquire knowledge and skills in user-centered instructional design models, taking into account innovation and change management principles, educational development, participatory quality approaches and interculturality.

Participants will be invited to design project proposals that include major dimensions and challenges of educational program development in difficult contexts, such as needs evaluation, curricula/program design, course design, learner evaluation, design of course materials, program coordination, certification, learner support and student management.

In coordination with module 2 we will discuss how to select and apply appropriate technology-enhanced instructional principles to design learning activities that provide a good learning experience. Participants will also learn how to address constraints of emergency contexts, formulate requirements, and help to implement sustainable solutions for the human and technical program delivery infrastructure.


Social-emotional challenges are generally underestimated during the design of higher educational programs in general and they are even more relevant in emergencies and crisis contexts, and the capacity to deal with stress through self-care and build resilience are even more key.

This module allows the students to reflect on their own social and emotional skills with the objective of preparing them to be aware of the specific social and emotional needs of the future beneficiaries from the HEiE programs they will contribute to.


Monitoring and evaluation systems are essential to understand the impact of policies and programs. Effective monitoring and evaluation activities go beyond simply collecting data for reports but rather contribute to improved implementation and performance. This course covers the essentials of effective monitoring and evaluation systems to prepare students to develop and implement them in a range of contexts and content areas. Using diverse local, national, and global case studies, the course links theoretical concepts with practical tools and techniques that can be applied in a range of settings and features participatory learning approaches that engage students directly in developing monitoring and evaluation strategies to build practice and confidence with concepts and tools.


Within contexts of emergencies, production of high-quality research is critical. As experts in generating and mobilizing new knowledge, post-secondary education institutions play an essential role in not only grasping the situation from a research perspective but also in designing and conducting rigorous research during disasters and crises. This course will critically examine the historical and current state of university research focused on addressing emergencies. It will provide concrete cases studies from the World Bank’s four analytical classification groups of economies: low-income countries (LICs); lower middle-income countries (LMICs); upper middle-income countries (UMICs); and high-income countries (HICs). The course will explore the effect of research on several types of emergencies and what gaps need to be addressed by universities. It will provide practical approaches for universities to engage with funders and partner institutions to ensure that the research is suited to the needs of a particular community. The course content delves into how university-based experts often find or generate optimum solutions by combining research knowledge and skills from multiple academic disciplines. The course will portray ways that academia can make major and lasting contributions to all phases of the disaster cycle: prevention, mitigation, preparedness, response, recovery, and reconstruction. This course addresses all phases of the research cycle from problem definition, research design, data collection in the field, data analysis, interpretation of findings, and communication/knowledge mobilization to inform decision-making and actions to be taken as well as education policy implementation.  

This module also examines the main challenges associated with the engagement of post-secondary institutions with emergencies and adversities, whether climatic or geopolitical. We will examine more specifically the effects of these situations on the governance and academic work of post-secondary institutions. The module will pay particular attention to the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the organization and functioning of universities and the effects it exerts on university research. The module will cover different geographical and national contexts in order to illustrate the differences in context with regard to the effects of emergencies on post-secondary institutions.

Contribution to the SDGs

Goal 4: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all