INTRODUCTION In recent years, the concept of state fragility has become increasingly pertinent to discussion of conflict and education. The Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE), for instance, created a Working Group on Education and Fragility in 2008, which brings together donors, policymakers and academics to ‘catalyze collaborative action on issues relating to education and fragility’ (INEE, 2014). Working Group research and mapping exercises (e.g. SmiThellison, 2013; Davies, 2011; Barakat et al., 2008) and academic publications (e.g. Mosselson et al., 2009; Kirk, 2007) have contributed towards a growing body of literature on education and fragility. However, consideration of state fragility in research on conflict and education introduced a new level of intricacy into what is already a highly complex set of relationships. Research around the ‘two faces’ of education in conflict has already highlighted the multi-directionality of the relationship(s) between education and conflict (e.g. Davies, 2010; Paulson, 2008); fragility introduces further uncertainty around the causes, effects and interconnections of the outbreak of violent conflict, poor educational performance and instability. This complexity is heightened when seeking to explore these multiple relationships empirically as the definition and measurement of concepts like fragility are notoriously difficult (Mata and Ziaja, 2009).