Learning Curves: A Global Thematic Review Working Paper

* This is a working paper and is open for consultation.


There is widespread recognition that children have the right to both grow up in a family and to have a quality education that meets their needs. However, in recent years, Lumos’s programmatic work has highlighted that children’s rights to family life and education can sometimes be seen as contradictory or even mutually exclusive. We have also seen that innovative, practical and policy-based interventions can enable all children to fully enjoy both rights.

Lumos has therefore undertaken the latest in its series of Global Thematic Reviews, examining the well-acknowledged but under-researched relationship between education and institutional care and the fact that many children – especially those who are most vulnerable – can only access education in residential settings, settings which share similar harmful characteristics with institutional care settings. This review challenges the idea that a child’s right to education must be balanced against – or is even in opposition to - their right to family life, and instead highlights the indivisibility of all child rights, as well as a mutual benefit for children of the outcomes of both rights being met. It also demonstrates the critical importance of developing inclusive education systems and robust community-based services, as an integral component of meaningful care reform processes. The research makes clear that actors in the care reform sector, education sector, and other related sectors must work collaboratively rather than in siloes to achieve sustainable and lasting change for children.

This research was conducted by Lumos between July 2021 and December 2022.

This Working Paper is the first published research of Lumos’s Global Thematic Review on Education. The paper outlines the key findings, analysis, conclusions and recommendations emerging from the research, for consultation with key actors in all relevant fields. The information contained in this paper will be validated via a series of targeted engagements with key stakeholders, and Lumos welcomes all feedback and reflections on its content. Following this validation process, a full report will be published in mid-2023.

Please contact lucy.halton@wearelumos.org to share any feedback on the Working Paper.