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The 2020 GEM Report will be on Inclusion and Education

The 2020 GEM Report will be on Inclusion and Education

  • Posted: Jun 13, 2017 -
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At the end of last week, the GEM (Global Education Monitoring) Report’s Advisory Board met in Paris to discuss the success of the 2016 GEM Report, hear about the plans for the 2017/8 and 2019 GEM Reports, and decide on the future theme of the 2020 GEM Report. A consensus was reached on the theme: Inclusion and Education.

The desire to leave no one behind permeates the entire 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Two of the sustainable development goals (SDGs) are dedicated to addressing inclusion: A goal on gender equality and empowerment of all girls and women (SDG 5) and one on reducing disparities between and within countries (SDG 10). There is also an unprecedented global commitment to using disaggregated data to monitor gaps and inequalities, in education and other sectors. Disaggregated information is critical to identifying populations who never exercised their right to education, who left school before completing a full cycle, and who did not succeed in acquiring key foundational and transferable skills.

The GEM Report has long taken an equity, pro-inclusive perspective when monitoring progress towards global education goals. Our team has shown that the poorest children are four times more likely to be out of primary school than richest children. An estimated one-third of all out-of-school children at the primary level have a disability. Aggregated analysis from 51 countries found a 10 percentage point gap in primary completion rates between people with and without disability, which is likely an underestimate. About 40% of people around the world are not taught in a language they speak or understand.

In 2010 the GEM Report established the World Inequality Database on Education, WIDE to highlight in countries, who is adversely affected, and through what processes, in order to contribute to policy formulation and resource allocation. Data from this source show the extent to which disadvantage and marginalization undermine success in education progress. They indicate how overlapping disadvantages sometimes create almost unsurmountable barriers for those trying to learn at school or university or through adult training and education programs.

We know that if current policies remain in place, all groups will not enjoy the benefits of education by 2030. New strategies and policies must be adopted to ensure access to the 263 million children, adolescents and youth who are out of primary and secondary school; the 758 million adults lacking basic literacy and numeracy skills; and millions more who, despite having been to school, experienced little improvement in their learning levels and employment prospects.

32Deciding on the theme of future GEM Reports is one of the core responsibilities of its Advisory Board. This Board is made up of representatives from UN multilateral agencies, bilateral agencies, non-governmental organizations, civil society groups and networks, directors of UNESCO education Institutes and individuals from developing countries in all world regions with an expertise in education issues. It is currently chaired by Jeffrey Sachs, UN Special Advisor on the Sustainable Development Goals.

Along with deciding on the theme of the 2020 Report, the Board also advised on useful partners for the dissemination of the 2016, 2017/8 and 2019 Reports. They advised on effective strategies for outreach around the 2017/8 Report due out this October on Accountability and Education. And they gave constructive input into the content of the 2019 Report on migration and education.

The last point on the agenda was to discuss the Terms of Reference for an independent evaluation of the GEM Report, which will take place at the end of this year. This is a triennial practice, which helps the GEM Report to hold itself to account, and continue to improve itself in its content, outreach, and policy-impact.

About the author: Macarena Romero is a political scientist, Masters in International Cooperation and Public Affairs. She is currently working as public policies and advocacy officer in the jesuit NGO Entreculturas in Spain.

Education NGOs meeting in Cambodia and warns about the need of SDG-4 perspective in public policies

Education NGOs meeting in Cambodia and warns about the need of SDG-4 perspective in public policies

  • Posted: Jun 06, 2017 -
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Representatives from numerous national, regional and international non-governmental and civil society organizations and members of the 2030 Education Collective Consultation of Non-Governmental Organizations (CCNGO) from different parts of the world met in Siem Reap, Cambodia, from May 8-9th, 2017. 

The main goal of the meetings was to take stock and discuss the progress made in achieving SDG4-Education 2030 from the adoption and formulation of recommendationsIt analyzed the initiatives undertaken, the main challenges faced, the opportunities identified and ways to move forward. It also discussed the support that CSOs should provide to SDG4 at the national, regional and global levels, as well as the contributions of the CCNGO in this regard.

 

Challenges and Opportunities

The statement issued following the meeting indicates that the challenges to education have been exacerbated by external factors in the social and political environment, in particular, by conflicts, war, violence, fundamentalism and insecurity affecting citizens in such situations. “As far as policies are concerned, they either do not yet exist or are not based on the SDG4-Education 2030 perspective and even, in some cases, diverge from it.” With regard to funding, they noted that both national and official development assistance for education had declined.

Another of the major challenges identified during the meeting is the increased privatization and commercialization of education, and the risk of undermining free and public quality education, aggravating inequalities. They consider that there is still a shortage of trained teachers, compounded by insufficient initial and continuing training and poor working conditions.

 

Recommendations
In addition to identifying the various risks involved in achieving quality, free, inclusive and equitable education, the organizations acknowledged that it is the responsibility of governments to ensure its provision and offer a number of recommendations to do so. The representatives urged those who have not yet done so to formally establish legal frameworks on the right to education.

“We call for intensified efforts to meet the agreed commitments to allocate between 4% and 6% of GDP and/or between 15% and 20% of public spending on education, bearing in mind that more and more resources are needed. Resources for education must be maintained and increased as necessary, even in crisis situations, while respecting the standards of equity and quality.”

In their statement, they strongly recommended that donor countries reverse the decrease in aid and meet the target of allocating 0.7 percent of gross national income to official development assistance to developing countries and 0.15 per cent and 0.2 per cent for least developed countries.

They encouraged Governments to intensify their efforts towards inclusive education, in particular by focusing on gender equality, disability, migrants and refugees, and respect for diversity. They should also remedy the shortage of teachers through the training and recruitment of qualified teachers, and ensure their permanent professional training.

 

About the Collective Consultation

The Collective Consultation of Non-Governmental Organizations on Education for All (CCNGO/EFA) is UNESCO’s essential mechanism for dialogue, reflection and collaboration with NGOs in the field of education. Since its inception in 1998, the scope of CCNGO/EFA has been changed to become an international network of more than 300 national, regional and international NGOs members of the CCNGO/EFA. The network remains an essential mechanism and a platform that allows civil society organizations to contribute to the collective commitment by 2030 with the aim of ensuring inclusive quality education and lifelong learning opportunities for all.

May 25th: education numbers to share on Africa Day

May 25th: education numbers to share on Africa Day

  • Posted: May 25, 2017 -
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May 25th is Africa Day, and we have recopilado some data about the state of the education in the continent. The sub-Saharan region has the highest percentage of non-schooled children: 52% (31 million) don’t go to school. Only 69% reach the last year of primary school, a number that points out the contrast with other world regions, in which at least 90% of scholars end primary school.

“52% of children in scholar age don’t receive an education”

Education is not compulsory in all the countries; on the contrary. In some countries as Botswana, Burundi, Ivory Coast, Eritrea, Gambia, Malawi, Somalia and Zambia an educational law that obliges children to go to school daily doesn’t exist. Kenya is the only country where the school is compulsory until the age of 18. In other countries, secondary education is considered a choice.

In this region, another major problem is the lack of teacher training. Less than three-quarters of primary school teachers are educated, while half of secondary educators have had a tertiary education. In 2014, only 8% of the sub-Saharan population began university studies, a figure that is far from the second region with the lowest percentage of university students, South Asia, with 23%.

The right to quality education for everyone still remains to be one of the great challenges of a continent that is full of diversity and complexity and uneven development levels. Today, Africa Day turns out to be a right opportunity to defend the political actions needed to make the right to quality education a real inalienable right for all people.

BRIEFING | Educational network Fe y Alegría says enough to violence

BRIEFING | Educational network Fe y Alegría says enough to violence

  • Posted: May 24, 2017 -
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In light of the latest shifts of violence and oppression and seen how this circumstance negatively affect the fulfilment of the right to education, we share Fe y Alegría Venezuela by the hand of its General Director, Manuel Aristorena.

“Venezuela has been filled with pain, suffering, anguish, violence, fear, repression and death. Yes, a lot of death, and with cruelty.

Every society experiences struggles and conflicts. And it is the manner in which these conflicts are confronted where a country’s democracy is evidenced or denied. The excessive use of force, the characterization of demonstrations as armed insurrection and not seeing in them the fair indignation of the people, the appropriation of ordinary and civil justice by military tribunals, daily violence and death, the vandalism of public or private property and the cruel treatment of detainees are unacceptable for a democratic society. We are losing lives, democracy, the country.

The solution does not involve facing one another until we defeat the adversary. That’s enough. Let’s leave behind intolerance and those who are intolerant. We need to recover democratic institutionality and the validity of Human Rights. We need to rebuild our democracy so that it promotes hope and life, with institutions that serve all Venezuelans, without discrimination or disqualification.

We have made Pope Francis’s words our own:

“Dramatic news continues to reach us regarding the situation in Venezuela and the worsening of clashes there, with many people reported dead, injured and detained. I share in the pain of the families, to whom I ensure my prayers of intercession, and I appeal to the government and all the members of Venezuelan society to avoid any further forms of violence, to respect human rights and to negotiate solutions to the serious humanitarian, social, political and economic crisis that is exhausting the population. Let us entrust to the Most Holy Virgin Mary a prayer intention for peace, reconciliation and democracy in that dear country”.

Like Pope Francis, we say to all members of society, and especially to the Government: no more violence. No more killed and wounded. No more infusing fear. No more families cornered by tear gas, shotguns and bullets. No more obstacles to the freedom of movement and demonstrations. No more night raids. No more destruction of public and private goods. We reject violence, wherever it comes from.

– Rectors of the National Electoral Council: Follow through with your responsibilities. You can open ways to solutions. Prove that you are an autonomous power. Recognise that a great part of what is happening is because you have not fulfilled your obligations. Be aware that part of this problem is related to the suspension of last year’s consultative referendum.

– Members of the Bolivarian Armed Forces of Venezuela. You vowed to enforce the Constitution and protect the population. You know and suffer this situation. You were not formed to repress the Venezuelan people or to live at war with your brothers and sisters, neighbors and fellow citizens. You are called to think and act strategically. Look beyond individual interests, emotions and reactions to the confrontation. What kind of country do you want for your children and grandchildren? In front of God, your conscience, and the love for your families, ask yourselves: Is it worth what we’re doing?

– Executive power, govern for all of us equally, respect the separation of powers, fight corruption, overcome oil dependence to be an autonomous country, capable of producing food, medicines and services this country deserves and needs. Work hard so that the population can walk safely through the streets and end armed civil groups.

– Attorney General of the Republic, keep being vigilant of the validity of the laws and the Constitution, and sanction whoever violates, breaks or attempts to break constitutionality.

– Members of the opposition, your leadership will be measured by the intelligent movement of the popular mobilizations, overcoming violence in all its demonstrations. You are called to be leaders of the non-violent opposition that can shape the behavior of those who mobilize. The strategy is not violent confrontation. It is about gathering and gaining the support of the largest number of people and social sectors. Be experts in dialogue and negotiation.

Venezuelan society, we need to foster hope, to be firm in our democratic commitment, to positively administer indignation and rage which overcomes the temptation to promote division, hate and revenge.

Let’s act promptly, before anarchy makes us uncontrollable.”

Manuel Aristorena, General Director, Fe y Alegría Venezuela. Caracas, May 20th, 2017

Stand Up For Education: Time to Deliver! GAWE 23-29 April 2017 around the globe

Stand Up For Education: Time to Deliver! GAWE 23-29 April 2017 around the globe

  • Posted: May 24, 2017 -
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Global Action Week for Education in 2017 has placed its focus on ensuring accountability for SDG4, and active citizen participation. In 2015, citizens campaigned successfully for governments to commit to a Sustainable Development Goal which ensured that everyone has the right to quality education – education which should be public, equitable, inclusive and free. Two years later, it is time for governments to prove they are working towards this goal – it is time to deliver.

While there are challenges to the realisation of this right, from long-term conflict to national elections and policy changes, commitments to the Sustainable Development Goals, and to the Education 2030 agenda are long term and cannot be ignored.  

At the same time, citizens must be given a voice in any decision-making process which impacts on their lives. Yet in too many countries the voice of citizens is being stifled; across all regions of the world, certain national governments have taken more aggressive action to limit civil society activity, from restrictions on funding, ‘political activity’ or protest, to direct criminalisation of civil society activity.

Education underpins many of the SDGs, and it is fundamental to the realisation of other rights. Governments must deliver on this goal, and citizens must be able to play their part in holding them to account for it. The cost of not delivering education is too high to bear.

Around the World: A Snapshot of Activity from GCE Members

Throughout the world, Global Campaign for Education members carried out different activities in Global Action Week: this is a brief summary of some of them.

ASIA
In Afghanistan, the Global Education Campaign’s Afghan coalition organized its “Education for All” campaign for Global Action Week for Education 2017. It took place between 6-11 May for security reasons. Around 60 organizations showed interest in being part of this campaign. On Sunday 29 April, the Afghan government held a conference on SDGs.

In India there were activities aimed at public mobilization and social commitment. India is struggling to make a number of changes at a national level in educational policy, including the abolition of child labor and increased aid to children in the most marginalized areas.

 

AMERICA
In Bolivia, the Global Action Week for Education included the presentation of the results of a study on the state of public education in the country, with emphasis on funding; A discussion on SDG4 and its implementation in Bolivia and meetings with education authorities to present studies on the Bolivian situation of education.

The Dominican Republic supported the global call with the motto “We defend quality, inclusive, equitable and participative education” through various mobilization actions with the objective of sensitizing Dominican society about ODS, specifically in education. The activities included an Implementation Workshop and the publication of the Social Guide on Education Policies, a seminar on Progress and Challenges in the implementation of the Education Agenda 2030, a newsletter dedicated to ODS and several round tables, debates and Reflections on different aspects of the education agenda.

 

AFRICA
In Burkina Faso, the National Coalition of Education for All created a new document reviewing the financing of national education, citizen participation and the empowerment of civil society in the development, implementation and monitoring of education policies. Meetings were held with ministers responsible for education, the Minister of Economy, the President of the National Assembly and the Prime Minister. In terms of public events and activities, several political leaders “returned to school” in their local areas. A national civil society forum for education was organized, and the coalition has also created a documentary on the theme of the Global Action Week for Education 2017.

In Gambia, in addition to striving for transparency and accountability mechanisms, specifically to involve women, people with disabilities and other marginalized groups, the Education for All Network included funding demands in its Global Action Week for Education.

 

EUROPE
In Albania, on 23 April, the Albanian coalition for Early Childhood Education launched Global Action Week at the Center for Openness and Dialogue in Tirana. It also circulated a manifesto for education, “We Stand Up for Education,” identifying priorities in local and national education that were sent to political parties. An open forum was held in Kruja Major, north central Albania, under the title “Increasing the funding of education at a local level”. There were other open forums on “Education 2030″ in 8 regions of the country. A public consultation was organized with the participation of social organizations and the education minister on “Education budget, challenges and priorities”, and a public resolution that was sent to the media enhancing the government’s commitment to the SDG4.

In Spain, the Global Action Week focused on the issue of responsibility from the perspective of citizen participation. An event was held with Parliament to generate visibility. The campaign was developed under the slogan “A word for education”.

These are just some of the examples. Cape Verde focused its activities on inclusive education, through seminars and street theater performances, while Brazil emphasized more on the Sustainable Development Goals, as Cameroon did . Countries like Nigeria opted for a protest over the education situation before the National Assembly.

GCE’s Global Campaign Week for Education: active citizen participation and achievement of the Education 2030 Agenda

GCE’s Global Campaign Week for Education: active citizen participation and achievement of the Education 2030 Agenda

  • Posted: Apr 25, 2017 -
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The Global Action Week for Education (GAWE) is an international mobilization initiative coordinated by Global Campaign for Education (GCE). This year it will take place between the 23rd and 29th April, and everyone will “Stand up for education” because it is “time to deliver” – the premises for this year’s campaign. The objective is to make sure governments commit to the implementation of the Education Agenda 2030.  Political advocacy and social mobilization activities will take place at more than 100 countries worldwide, under the premise of active citizen participation, throughout the supervision and implementation of these commitments.

It will focus on reminding the States and the citizens that a democratic government is the key of the Sustainable Development Goals. GAWE 2017 therefore wants to show the need of realistic planning to achieve a public, free, quality, inclusive and equitable education by 2030. We want the governments and the international community to reaffirm and to commit to follow the Education Agenda 2030 by granting clear means to achieve it and by taking into account an active citizen participation.

During GAWE 2017, the challenges for the global achievement of the Sustainable Development Goal 4, which refers to Education, will also be commented, along with different subjects, such as what quality education means, the weakening of the States’ role to guarantee the right to a public and free education, and the reduction of mechanisms for citizen participation in different countries, which include restrictions on social protest or even its criminalization.

In this context, we call on governments to:

  • ensure mechanisms for an active and efficient citizen participation in the Education Agenda 2030, in terms of legislation, planning, accountability and supervision;
  • prioritize and ensure the participation of education workers unions and social organizations in these mechanisms, specially organizations of historically marginalized people, such as students, women, disabled people, natives and Afro-Americans;
  • eliminate and reject the policies and legislations that repress and criminalize social protest and the work of the people who defend human rights and/or who are part from the educational community.
  • Fund and ensure implementation mechanisms in order to achieve the Education Agenda 2030, according to their commitment to strengthen the public educational systems.

We will share more information about the main messages, the objectives and the agenda of GAWE 2017. Please visit GAWE 2017 international website. http://actionweek.campaignforeducation.org/

Refugees in Protracted Exile Need Long-Term Solutions to Education Gap

Refugees in Protracted Exile Need Long-Term Solutions to Education Gap

  • Posted: Apr 05, 2017 -
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The world is just waking up to the reality that investing in long-term solutions is critical for refugees who linger in camps or informal settlements for years and sometimes decades.

The U.N. refugee agency, UNHCR, estimated that by the end of 2015 some 6.7 million refugees – 41 percent of those under their mandate – were in a protracted situation, spending five years or longer in exile.

In camps and villages that have shed characteristics of short-term settlements, children are being born, families are finding ways to survive, and communities hosting refugees are struggling with how to live, work and go to school together.

Education plays a particularly vital role for those who are displaced, as they will be tasked not only with rebuilding their lives, but rebuilding their communities as well.

Last month, I visited three of 12 refugee camps in eastern Chad that are home to over 300,000 refugees from the Darfur region of Sudan who fled during a genocide beginning in 2004. At that time, the global community, including American celebrities and activists, mobilized to decry the violence. Now, few hear about the ongoing instability in Darfur and, to an even lesser extent, the thousands of refugees who fled for their lives.

These are areas of the world where refugees find themselves in limbo. They have no hope of returning home, and resettlement to a third country is reserved for the very few – about one percent. Often, this leaves integration into their host community as their only hope.

Jesuit Refugee Service manages all education programs in eastern Chad, from preschool through tertiary education. Refugees and partner organizations told me time and again about the severe impact of systemic budget cuts and donor fatigue. Thus, dilapidated school structures – intended only to last a brief time – cannot be rehabilitated, students have to attend classes in shifts and teacher salaries and incentives remain low.

In Iridimi camp, I met Ibtissam, a preschool teacher who received training from Jesuit Refugee Service last year, but due to a lack of funds, training was not possible this year. She manages a group of 3-6-year-olds and makes do with very little.

Further south, in Goz Amir camp, I met with another group of preschool teachers who were excited about having the opportunity to provide their children with education at a young age. They spoke of children feeling protected, taken care of and at peace. Parents are able to work while their children are in school. The benefits of education to these refugee communities were palpable.

Yet, like many refugee-hosting countries, Chad is juggling a variety of challenges. This includes a significant influx of refugees fleeing the Boko Haram insurgency in the Lake Chad region, in the western part of the country.

Chad struggles to provide access to education for its own citizens. According to the UNESCO Global Education Monitoring Report, the primary school completion rate in Chad is 28 percent. About 90 percent of students in Chad’s primary schools have to share textbooks with at least two students.

Donors and humanitarian organizations must work more closely to develop and fund programs that focus on integration, in which both refugees and the population of the country hosting them will benefit. As with all protracted crises where a displaced population has lived among, or close to, a host population for many years, integration and collaboration between the humanitarian and development sectors is critical.

For those of us working with refugees who have been displaced for many years, Education Cannot Wait, a new fund for education in emergencies that launched last year is placing much-needed focus on these forgotten crises. The goal of Education Cannot Wait is to validate education as a priority in humanitarian responses to longer-term crises and adequately finance the educational needs of millions of children and young people.

Currently housed at UNICEF, Education Cannot Wait has secured $113.4million from a diverse group of donors. The fund chose Chad as one of three countries to receive an initial investment of $10 million over two years. Education Cannot Wait-supported programs in Chad are being developed jointly with humanitarian and development groups with the aim of benefiting both the refugee and host populations.

Programs will be developed by combining components of both the emergency response strategy developed by the humanitarian Education Cluster, a forum coordinated by UNICEF for NGOs, U.N. agencies, academics and others working on education for the displaced, as well as Chad’s 10-year plan for the Development of Education and Literacy.

By taking both a humanitarian and development approach, the programs under development will focus not only on improvements in infrastructure and basic needs like classroom materials and providing food in schools, but also on non-formal education programs and income-generating activities.

During last year’s Leaders’ Summit on Refugees, hosted by the Obama administration, the Chadian government pledged to take a similar, integrated approach. This included assuming responsibility for, and improving access to, secondary education for approximately 75,000 refugees over the course of the next five years.

The Chadian government also pledged to accredit qualified refugee teachers and allow them to teach in camp, public and private schools. As part of this effort, Jesuit Refugee Service recently launched a scholarship program to enroll refugees in a local teacher-training college and get certified to teach in Chadian secondary schools and in the camps.

There is no singular solution to protracted crisis situations like the one in Chad. But, efforts to engage new donors, collaborate among sectors and focus on opportunities to integrate refugees into host communities are some of the ways that we will be able to increase access to a quality education for refugees facing long periods of exile.

About the author: Giulia McPherson is the Director of Advocacy & Operations at Jesuit Refugee Service/USA and core group member of the GIAN Right to Education for All. Prior to joining JRS, Giulia was with CARE USA for 11 years, most recently as Director of Citizen Advocacy. Giulia has a Bachelors in Political Science from Villanova University and a Masters in International Development Studies from The George Washington University.

Editorial piece originally posted here

UNESCO Mobile Learning Week: technology to promote the right to education for displaced people

UNESCO Mobile Learning Week: technology to promote the right to education for displaced people

  • Posted: Mar 24, 2017 -
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The Mobile Learning Week is currently taking place during this week in Paris, France. It is an event co-organized by UNESCO and UNCHR to examine how new and affordable technologies can promote the right to education in emergency and crisis contexts, and expand learning opportunities and inclusion for displaced people.

The theme of this year’s flagship UNESCO event about the intersection of technology and education will be ‘Education in Emergencies and Crises’. From 20 to 24 March, Mobile Learning Week is bringing together experts, practitioners, ministers of education and ministers of ICT to examine ways to maximize the use of cheap and widely available mobile technologies for the education of refugees and other displaced persons.

Mobile Learning Week 2017 is featuring a symposium with over 70 breakout sessions, exhibitions, and a mix of panel discussions and plenary addresses focusing on the educational needs of displaced persons, whose unprecedented numbers exceeded 65 million in 2015, when an average of 24 people were displaced every single minute.

Fifty-one percent of refugees are children and most of them live in developing countries where many schools are already struggling to educate students in the local community. Even in wealthy countries, an influx of new learners presents considerable logistical, pedagogical and political challenges.

Recognizing the fact that mobile devices are among the few possessions taken by people forced to leave their homes, and that mobile technology can also open doors to education and empowerment, Mobile Learning Week will examine ways to support learners, teachers and systems.

In crafting the programme of this event UNESCO and its partners are seeking to strengthen inclusion in education, preserve the continuity of learning in conflict and disaster contexts, open and enrich learning opportunities for refugees and other displaced people, facilitate the integration of learners in new schools and communities, and serve as a catalyst for innovation in the education sector and improve the impact of humanitarian interventions.

Some of the opportunities that inclusive digital solutions can bring to migrants and refugees are vital communication and information sharing, access to learning, making payments and receiving financial support, and getting health information and psychosocial support. However, the lack of literacy skills constrains refugee communities. Along with cost, low literacy levels comprise the second-biggest barrier to connectivity for refugees (UNHCR, 2016).

Today, approximately 758 million adults, including 115 million youth worldwide, cannot read or write which results in a severe lack of skills needed to benefit from digital technologies.

You can learn more about the right to education for refugees and displaced persons through the teaching contents of the GIAN campaign “Right to education, right to hope” clicking here.

SJ Education networks of Guatemala lift their voices towards the victims of Hogar Asunción

SJ Education networks of Guatemala lift their voices towards the victims of Hogar Asunción

  • Posted: Mar 17, 2017 -
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Last Wednesday, March 8th, a fire broke out at the Virgen de la Asunción shelter in southern Guatemala, which resulted in 37 girls and teenagers killed and almost twenty hospitalized. According to early indications, they themselves ignited the fire to protest the human rights violations they were suffering.

This government-run children’s house, in the hands of the Social Welfare Secretariat of the Office of the President, is home to kids and teenagers and accepts abandoned, abused, and sexually exploited children as well as teenagers that have suffer from sexual and labor exploitation.

In the face of tragedy, the educational works of the Society of Jesus and other allied organizations representing thousands of Guatemalan girls, boys, adolescents and young people have issued a statement in which they express their sadness and indignation at the facts:

“1. We express our deep sympathy and solidarity with the families of the teenagers and young people who died in this unfortunate event and those affected who are in serious conditions in the national hospitals. We pray to God our Lord to give you comfort and strength.

2. We repudiate the unworthy conditions under which this unfortunate event occurred as a result of the omission, inefficiency and irresponsibility of the authorities of the institutions that have been incapable of guaranteeing the life and protection of children, teenagers and young people who are welcomed in the government-run center, violating their rights and damaging their dignity as human beings.

3. We call on the State of Guatemala that this fact does not go unpunished, we request the immediate dismissal and prosecution of the related authorities and the corresponding investigations to be taken so the criminal responsibility of those who are implicated in this fact that has left many Guatemalan families grief-stricken can be deduce. We also demand criminal prosecution to be carried out in cases of mistreatment and rape reported prior to this tragedy.

4. The State of Guatemala must be a guarantor of life, well being and protection of children, teenagers, youth and the family, so we call upon the authorities to ensure that public policies respect and are adapted to the legal national and international framework, in order to strengthen the human being and his rights.

5. We invite all civil society to be vigilant and committed to situations that threaten human life, and especially the most vulnerable.”

EJEGUA (Jesuit education in Guatemala) is formed by Fe y Alegría Educational Foundation, the Guatemalan Institute of Radiophonic Education -IGER-, Belize Bridge Education Project, Rafael Landívar University, Javier Lyceum, Santa Teresita College, San Francisco Javier-URL Network, Rodolfo Robles College .

Last Friday, March 10th, Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales appeared and said that the center will be temporarily closed down since experts say it is not suitable. A lot of children are being deinstitutionalized, a process that began last year when small children were sent back to their biological or foster homes to reduce overpopulation.

The household, in the hands of the Social Welfare Secretariat, was home to about 748 minors, although its capacity was just 400, and within it lived orphans, conflictive minors, children victims of violence, children with disabilities and others who supposedly had been interned for committing crimes.

Girls’ and Women’ Right to Education

Girls’ and Women’ Right to Education

  • Posted: Mar 08, 2017 -
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Gender inequality has been present thoughtout history, and it continues to be a major barrier to human development today. Since 1990, girls and women have taken major steps, but they have not yet achieved the expected gender equity. Too often, women and girls are discriminated against in health, education, political representation, labor market, and so on. The Gender Inequality Index (GII) is used to measure gender inequalities in three important aspects of human development:

  • reproductive health, measured by maternal mortality ratio and adolescent birth rates;
  • empowerment, measured by proportion of parliamentary seats occupied by females and proportion of adult females and males over 25 years of age with at least some secondary education;
  • economic status, measured by labor force participation rate of female and male populations aged over 15 years of age.

Nevertheless, in this post we will focus on the importance of an equal education for both genders, as well as on learning about the differences not only between “Gender parity” and “Gender equality”, but also between “schooling” and “education”.

According to the World Atlas of Gender Equality in Education, participants of the World Conference on Education for All in 1990, and of subsequent international assemblies, embraced an ambitious vision of a world in which “all children would have access to an education that would enable them to realize their highest potential as individuals, parents, citizens and workers”.  In discussing education and gender it is important to distinguish between “gender parity” and “gender equality”. Gender parity intends to achieve equal participation for girls and boys in education, but this does not mean that the education they have access to is one of quality. As we have seen in many occasions, schooling targets alone won´t reach learning objectives. As said by the CGD Policy Paper 104 February 2017, in Uganda, 45 percent of 12 year olds that are in grade 6, were still functionally illiterate.

Furthermore, in Nigeria, approximately 80 percent of people aged between 15 to 24 years of age, who left school after completing five to six years, are unable to read a full sentence. On the other hand , gender equality is understood more broadly, not only as the right to gain access and participate in education, but to achieve benefits from gender-sensitive educational environments and to obtain meaningful education outcomes that ensure that  the benefits of education translate into greater participation in social, economic and political development of their societies.

 

Many of the educational global statements about global goals have conflated “schooling” and “education” by treating them as synonymous or equating them by definition, so that someone who attended school was by definition, educated. Nonetheless, this statement is false, as in many countries around the world, even though many factors have contributed to the increase in women´s participation in education, statistics proved that this education won’t translate into greater participation in their social, economic and political environment, as many of the students  get out of school without knowing how to read.

It is true that the situation has improved in the recent years; whereas enrolments have been increasing since 1970 for both sexes, girls’ enrolment has been rising faster at both primary and secondary levels. Moreover, today women that enroll in higher levels of the educational system are less likely than men to drop out of school, and they exceed men in grades. Nevertheless, despite the progress achieved in recent years, girls continue to suffer severe disadvantage and exclusion in education systems throughout their lives. An estimated 31 million girls of primary school age and 32 million girls of lower secondary school age were out of school in 2013. Sub-Saharan Africa has the lowest proportion of countries with gender parity: only two out of 35 countries. South and West Asia has the widest gender gap in its out-of-school population – 80 percent of its out-of-school girls are unlikely to ever start school compared to 16 percent of its out-of-school boys. Furthermore, a better education often does not translate into better employment opportunities. Even though women outperform men in education, they still face significant discrimination in the labor market and end up in jobs where they don’t use any of their skills.

The lack of gender parity and gender equality is an issue all around the world, as almost all countries face gender disparities of some kind, although the challenges vary widely between different regions, and even at different levels within a country. Consequently, we can affirm that gender disparities and inequalities are prevalent within schooling process in both rich and poor countries. For this reason, women empowerment should be a worldwide priority. Girls’ and women’ education is both an intrinsic right and a latter to help them reach other development objectives. Providing girls and women with a quality education helps break the cycle of poverty: educated women are less likely to get married early and against their will; less likely to die in childbirth; more likely to have healthy babies; and are more likely to send their children to school. Therefore, even though education may not be the only input into women´s empowerment, it is a central one.