Bjorn Nordtveit publishes book on “Schools as Protection"

CIE faculty member Bjorn Nordtveit has authored a book on child protection titled Schools as protection?: Reinventing education in contexts of adversity, published by Springer in 2016.


This new work builds on the notion of the ‘Century of the Child’ launched by Ellen Key in 1900 and addresses grim realities faced by children growing up today, not only in specific conflict settings, but also more and more in mainstream schools in the Western context.


Dr Nordtveit says: The idea for this book came from my work with the US Department of Labor. I have worked as an evaluator on many of their child labor and protection-related projects—most recently in Rwanda and Myanmar. I felt that there is a need to summarize ideas and lessons learned from projects and other research related to child labor and school protection. The book later became a larger project, including issues such as child marriage and violence in- and out-of-school.


From shooting and racial violence in the US to horrors committed in ISIS-held areas, we see how children’s wellbeing around the world is an issue that needs attention. This book offers a way forward and proposes ways to ensure minimum standards of safety in schools.


Analysing various contexts of adversity, including poverty and hunger, high incidence of HIV/AIDS, child labor and child marriage, as well as conflict and post conflict-affected areas, Dr Nordtveit illustrates the effects of such contexts on children, including non-enrolment or early drop-out from school, various forms of abuse and bullying at home and at school, increased incidence of child marriage, and abusive child labor.


He argues that the school as an institution could play a stronger role in protection of children and provide better support for children in the transition from childhood to work and marriage. 




The book’s Introduction is written by a CIE graduate—Vachel Miller (Ed.D., 2004), now a faculty member at Appalachian State University. Dr Miller was recently a Fulbright Scholar, teaching doctoral students in a new educational policy and leadership program he helped to develop at Bahir Dar University in Ethiopia.