News and Events

7 Q&As to Koumbou Boly Barry, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to education

7 Q&As to Koumbou Boly Barry, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to education

  • Posted: Jan 15, 2019 -
  • By: -
  • 0 Comments

The Special Rapporteur on the right to education, Dr. Koumbou Boly Barry, from Burkina Faso, took office on 1st August 2016 following her appointment at the 32nd session of the Human Rights Council.

UNESCO has asked Dr. Koumbou seven questions about the status of the right to education in today’s world.

  1. What role does the UN Special Rapporteur play in the field of the right to education?

My job and responsibility are to ensure that the right to education is respected and implemented worldwide, as well as to report violations. I listen to those who are deprived of their right to education, whether they are individuals or people represented by the civil society. My position also allows me to act as an intermediary between the various actors who play a key role in guaranteeing this right, both at the governmental level and within the legal system, as well as at the budgeting and planning stages. It is essential to ensure this right and to monitor it to ensure that it is effectively implemented. My role is not only to monitor progress in implementing the right to education, but also to assist governments in their efforts to improve, innovate and expand the access to quality education for all.

  1. What is the current status of the right to education?

The truth is that approximately one billion people worldwide do not benefit yet from their right to education, and that the majority of them are women and young people. Although the right to education is improving rapidly around the world, the quality of education still remains as one of the greatest challenges. Are today’s children really learning and acquiring skills? This is something in which we must seriously focus on and continue to follow up in order to build an equitable society. The digital divide is another major challenge. There is a significant risk that millions of people will be excluded. We need to take advantage of innovations and expand them to reach all classrooms and provide equal opportunities for students around the world. We also need to inculcate more values through curricula. Teaching coexistence, tolerance, peace, trust and respect for one another is fundamental to combating fear and hate.

  1. What have been the key achievements?

We must note the achievements over the years. Some countries in Africa have made more achievements during the last 10 years than in more than 60. From school infrastructures for the literacy and education of the girls to the use of technologies for learning, there are plenty of examples of reached targets. It is essential that civil society is involved in education: UNESCO’s normative role in favor of the right to education is essential and the Organization has greatly contributed to this fundamental right.

  1. What is the greatest challenge?

The poor governance of the education systems is one of the major challenges we face. When defining and planning a country’s education sector it is important that all partners are present to participate and contribute to the success of education in their own communities and to create a comprehensive vision emphasizing early childhood education, technical and vocational education and training and research. Budgeting and decision-making in education must be decentralized so that it can be adapted to the needs of different areas and specific vulnerable groups such as displaced people, refugees, poor families and people with disabilities. Communities and schools themselves must be able to make decisions that respond to their needs. Local actors such as parents’ associations and NGOs must be involved in these issues. These are the dynamics that we must apply at school level.

 

  1. What has been the worst violation of the right to education that you have witnessed?

There are many examples. Disabled children deprived of education because they cannot access school facilities. Pupils and teachers imprisoned and even killed for having demanded respect for their right to education or better working conditions. Pregnant girls expelled from school. There are still many places where these severe violations take place every day and this is unacceptable. There is still much to be done.

 

  1. What would you have done differently in your own career?

Having been Minister of Education and Literacy in Burkina Faso, I know that the key decisions taken at the political level affect millions of people as well as their future. I would have liked to become more involved in politics in order to bring about the necessary reforms and changes to my country’s education system.

 

  1. Who inspired you?

My grandmother was an important source of inspiration to me when I was a child. She was a woman of a strong, independent and open character. She taught me from a very young age to take my responsibilities seriously. Alice Tiendrebeogo, author and teacher, former Minister of Education of Burkina Faso, is also one of the people who inspired my career. And, of course, like millions of Africans and people around the world, I admire Nelson Mandela. His wisdom and values will continue to stand and light the way for future generations.

 

Koumbou Boly Barry

Dr. Boly Barry holds a PhD in Economic History from Cheikh Anta Diop University in Senegal. She is the former Minister of Education and Literacy of Burkina Faso and has consulted widely for various governments and international institutions on the right to education. Dr. Boly has been an advocate on gender issues in education. She also has ample knowledge and experience in training and research, a visiting professor at University of Nottingham, United Kingdom, University of Louvain La Neuve Belgium, a lecturer at Ouagadougou University ,Burkina Faso ,Vitoria University, Brazil and Fribourg University, Switzerland. She replaces Mr.Kishore Singh from India.

Originally posted in PatrimonioCultural.com and translated from Spanish to English.

6th World Assembly on Education concludes with new President and new Board

6th World Assembly on Education concludes with new President and new Board

  • Posted: Nov 27, 2018 -
  • By: -
  • 0 Comments

The second and third days of the World Assembly have been crucial for the movement to determine its collective structure and strategic approach. The Global Campaign for Education strategic plan and policy proposals adopted at the World Assembly will define how the movement will continue to progress towards its goals over the upcoming years.

During Saturday the new strategic plan which will set out the central objectives, priorities and goals of the organization for the next four years (2019-2022) was shaped. GCE’s political positions were also shaped and the current Constitution was revised to propose amendments. A key moment of the Assembly, which also took place on Saturday, was the election of the new GCE President and Board. And one of the amendments passed during this Assembly has been the creation of a seat on the Board of Directors for a youth organization.

 

New President

A new elected president, Refat Sabbah, the Secretary General of the Arab Campaign for Education for All (ACEA), takes the initiative to lead the movement towards a transformative, sustainable and fair future, and to ensure the strengthening of collective efforts to hold governments accountable for quality free public education worldwide.

Throughout my life, I have received immense support from my friends and colleagues, whom I consider role models and who play an important role in this growing movement.  I will do everything I can to achieve the just transition that we are all striving for. We still need you and depend on all of you to advise, guide and promote the movement in your regions and national coalitions. I am committed to serving you all and taking the movement to the next level” said Refaat Quote, President of the Global Campaign for Education.

Elected on November 17 at the 6th World Assembly by an overwhelming majority, Sabbah will provide overall strategic direction for the next four years. Refaat Sabbah, brings a wealth of knowledge and experience. Lifelong activist for human rights and education. He is the Director General and Founder of the Center for Teacher Creativity in Palestine, the President of the Arab Network for Civic Education (ANHRE), and has served on the GCE board since 2015. Refaat also founded ACEA, which represents eleven national education coalitions and three regional coalitions from Arabic-speaking countries.

Over the years, the movement has been led by incredible leaders, from the first Kailash Satyarthi to Camilla Croso, who has served since 2011 (re-elected for the second time in 2015). These crucial elections of both President and Board Members determine the direction of the movement for the coming years.

The coordinator of the Latin American Campaign for the Right to Education (CLADE) and outgoing Chairperson Camilla Croso added that “being President of this global and diverse movement has been an honor and a pleasure. I wish to express my sincere appreciation for the collective commitment to economic, social and environmental justice, as well as human rights. At this World Assembly we face challenges and celebrate successes, yet we know that tangible action is still required to ensure a truly transformed education system. I am proud to have walked this journey with all of you and now I leave you in the hands of Refat Sabaah to guide us towards a future that guarantees a good quality public education for all.”

 

New Board

During this 6th world assembly, GCE constituencies elected their new members and board members.

Mr Samuel Dembele (ANCEFA) has been appointed Chairman of the Board. Samuel Dembele is Chairman of the Board of Directors of the African Network of the Education for All Campaign (ANCEFA; since November 2015), Chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Coalition of Education for All in Burkina Faso (CN-ÉPT BF; since April 2014) and General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers for Secondary and High Education (SNESS; since 2010).

Ms Madeleine Zuniga of the Peruvian Campaign for the Right to Education is the new Vice President and Mr Mugwena Malukele of Education International (EI) has been elected as Vice Chair.

 

Article originally posted in Spanish language here

Fe y Alegría International Federation attends the World Assembly for Education in Nepal

Fe y Alegría International Federation attends the World Assembly for Education in Nepal

  • Posted: Nov 15, 2018 -
  • By: -
  • 0 Comments

During this week, November 13-18, the 6th World Assembly of the Global Campaign for Education (GCE) is being held in Kathmandu, Nepal. In this conference, GCE members and partners from all four corners of the world gather to discuss crucial and emerging issues regarding education.

The Global Campaign for Education is the world’s largest civil society organisation working to make the right to quality education a reality for all. The World Assembly, held every four years, is the governing body of the Global Campaign for Education, which brings together members of the GCE organisation to reflect over the achievements of the organization, share the knowledge gained during the previous period, discuss current and emerging issues in global education and participate in shared strategic planning for the next four years.

Lucía Rodríguez Donate from Fe y Alegría International Federation and Luis Carlos Soler, representative of the Red Generación 21+, are currently in Nepal. The World Assembly is one of the largest international gatherings of campaigners in the education sector. 

The theme of the 6th World Assembly is “Transforming education systems to achieve equality, inclusion and justice”. The topic reflects the fundamental belief of the Global Campaign for Education that education is a human right, and that quality education for all is achievable if both governments and the international community have the necessary political will to engage and invest in education policies. It also defines the central strategic areas of focus for the Organisation in the upcoming years.

There will be three main moments:

November 13TH: FRESCE Global Learning Event
It will bring together all national and regional members who are currently funded by the FRESCE program and who often do not have the opportunity to work together in the regions, only about every three or four years, therefore, it is a great chance to discuss in depth, share challenges and successes and to learn from each other.

You can follow the event through the hashtag #EduLearning2018; #EducationResearch #AdvocacyResearch

November 14TH-15TH: Pre-World Assembly Youth Meeting
This year is the very first time that the Global Campaign for Education will organize this event. During two days, young education campaigners from all over the world are invited to discuss and debate the main issues related to the education sector today. In addition, representatives will be invited to present their policy recommendations to be discussed and adopted by the World Assembly.  You can follow the event through the hashtag #gceyouthcaucus2018

November 16TH, 17TH, 18TH: World Assembly
It will have three highlights: a one-day policy forum for a high-level debate on the future of education, a reflection on the impact of GCE and on how to move forward to achieve the targets of SDG 4 that will result in the new GCE strategic plan and policy r, and the election of the Board and the new GCE president.
You can follow all about the Assembly on the Facebook and Twitter accounts from the Global Campaign for Education Spain or through the hashtag #GCEWorldAssembly2018.

Calling for change through a renewed vision and a “holy anger”: Father General’s address to GIAN and social apostolate coordinators

Calling for change through a renewed vision and a “holy anger”: Father General’s address to GIAN and social apostolate coordinators

  • Posted: May 22, 2018 -
  • By: -
  • 0 Comments

In a meeting for discernment and apostolic planning, Father General Arturo Sosa SJ reminded leaders of the Global Ignatian Advocacy Networks (GIAN) and Social Apostolate Coordinators who met in Rome from 23 to 27 April 2018 of the need for “a renewed vision of the deep link between social justice, care for the environment, the struggle for peace and faith.  All this, together, moves people to work for reconciliation among themselves, with creation and God.”  And to bring about change, “we need a kind of passion, a ‘holy anger’… a passion that cries ‘enough.’”

“The GIAN groups are our effort to be a catalyst for this change. I ask you to find the passion and the mission that can re-energise these structures… I know that unless we are focused, specific and targeted, our advocacy will not work well.”

And with preparations underway for the Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops of the Pan-Amazon region that will take place in the Vatican in October 2019, Father General sees this effort by Pope Francis as “a concrete way to help move the Church to implement Laudato Si’” and “also a call to the Society of Jesus to focus on reconciliation with creation as a dimension of the mission we have received.”

The Society of Jesus is currently undertaking a discernment process of their Universal Apostolic Preferences (UAP) that involves a discernment in common, using the GC 36 decrees as a background, Father General’s letter that launched the discernment process, and the initial chapters of the book Shaping our Future.

Ecojesuit shares below a slightly revised version of Father General’s address during the meeting in Rome:

This is a meeting for discernment and apostolic planning and discernment in common means to hear together the Holy Spirit and to make decisions according to the inspiration we feel together.  It is possible only if we gain interior freedom as individuals, as a group, as an apostolic sector of the Society.  It is a conditio sine qua non for this or any group to liberate itself from a sectorial vision of the Society’s mission.  GC 36 is asking this group and the entire apostolic body of the Society to acquire the look of the Holy Trinity.  We are called to look at history with their eyes and find out how we, as a universal apostolic body, can do our best (magis) to make a contribution to the redemption of human beings.  It is also important to remember that discernment in common is a prior condition for apostolic planning.

The next challenging step is apostolic planning.  Both words are important.  The first one is apostolic that means that what we do is not a product of our minds, but a call we receive to be sent to collaborate in the missio Dei.  We are an apostolic body, i.e., a group of people “sent” to be part of a mission.  Therefore, we are not the owners of the mission.  We are followers – disciples of Jesus sent to be witnesses of His Good News.

Planning involves taking seriously this condition of apostolic body.  We are administrators of somebody else’s resources and we are committed to do that work in the best possible way.  We are a group responsible for the call to participate in the reconciliation of all things in Christ.  And so we try hard to do our best.  Following this mission has become, for each one of us and for this group, the deepest sense of why we do what we do.

After the UAP are formulated will come the process of planning how a complex apostolic body like the Society of Jesus can be oriented in the next 10 years.  Provinces, Conferences of Major Superiors, apostolic areas and apostolic works have their own plans.  How can the UAP help the Society in its apostolic planning at all levels to be more focused?  How can the UAP lead us to a better use of our limited resources?

GC 36 confirms and focuses the mission of faith and justice, dialogue and interculturality that inspired our commitment for more than 50 years, since the Second Vatican Council and from GC 32 up to GC 35.  This confirmation means a renewed vision of the deep link between social justice, care for the environment, the struggle for peace and faith.  All this, together, moves people to work for reconciliation among themselves, with creation, and with God.

It is a confirmation of a deep current, of a deep way forward for us, in a world that is at a new moment in history and has become quite different from the world during the post-Vatican II years.  Here is a very important challenge for the apostolic body of the Society of Jesus and for the social dimension of its apostolate: to come to know, understand and share with others what is happening in human history and to find effective ways to help to move it to the reconciliation and justice shown in the Gospel.a

“We come together to form a body of Jesuits and partners in mission organized in such a way that collaboration is a characteristic of the entire apostolic body. Our action is also in collaboration with others within the Church or with those persons and groups struggling for social justice, with peacemakers and with those working for the preservation of the environment.”

“We come together to form a body of Jesuits and partners in mission organized in such a way that collaboration is a characteristic of the entire apostolic body. Our action is also in collaboration with others within the Church or with those persons and groups struggling for social justice, with peacemakers and with those working for the preservation of the environment.”

Getting out of poverty, the possibility to access quality education, participation in making political decisions democratically: these remain unrealised wishes for the great majority of human beings.  How can we, as a universal apostolic body, improve our commitment to help these desires to be accomplished?  How can we face the ambiguous process of human mobility in the actual world where there are new ways of interaction among individuals and peoples oriented to a more integrated humanity, side by side with people fleeing from war or poverty?  How we can combat the trafficking of human beings and new forms of slavery?

Many other questions about our mission of reconciliation and justice can come from what is going on in the world today.  The GC 36 puts before us a very special one:

GC36 asks Father General to continue to work with Major Superiors and Conferences to promote, within the communities and ministries of the Society, a consistent culture of protection and safety for minors, in keeping with the suggestions of the Congregation regarding formation, community life, ministries and governance.

The promotion of a consistent culture of safeguarding involves the transformation of unjust existing structures and a deep change in every culture.  It also a matter of promoting the human rights of vulnerable people.  And so, I have decided that the implementation of this project be entrusted to the Secretary for Social Justice and Ecology.

Pope Francis has convoked a special Synod in 2019 on Amazonia.  It is a concrete way to help move the Church to implement Laudato Si’.  Maybe is also a call to the Society of Jesus to focus on reconciliation with creation as a dimension of the mission we have received.  It is very clear that Pope Francis is thinking not only about a specific geographical area of the world, but that he also wants to move us to more concrete apostolic actions regarding the care of our common home.  How can we introduce this matter in our discernment in common and apostolic planning?

An important accent put by GC 36 is that we are collaborators with God’s action in history today and we are called to become companions in a mission of reconciliation and justice.  To become companions means that we see ourselves as collaborators.  We come together to form a body of Jesuits and partners in mission organized in such a way that collaboration is a characteristic of the entire apostolic body. Our action is also in collaboration with others within the Church or with those persons and groups struggling for social justice, with peacemakers and with those working for the preservation of the environment.

Globalisation today brings us together across the globe and makes networking easier.  Of course it has also widened the gap between rich and poor so it is not totally a blessing – in fact there are many problems.  But, without doubt, it gives us the ability to be a universal body for mission and our Jesuit networks have opportunities now that 10 years ago did not exist.

Since we are largely organized on province lines, the existence of interprovincial networks can be a challenge.  GIAN, as a relatively new project, is experiencing some of the pains of being an interprovincial network in a largely provincial Jesuit structure.  The issues that GIAN addresses are vital ones:

  • Migration
  • Ecology – care of our Common House
  • Governance of mineral and natural resources
  • The right to quality education
  • Peace and Human Rights

Through Laudato Si’, Pope Francis “also wants to move us to more concrete apostolic actions regarding the care of our common home. How can we introduce this matter in our discernment in common and apostolic planning?”

Through Laudato Si’, Pope Francis “also wants to move us to more concrete apostolic actions regarding the care of our common home. How can we introduce this matter in our discernment in common and apostolic planning?”

These are words on a page.  But they represent so much human suffering.  Think of the wars in Syria and in Kivu, in Afghanistan and Iraq.  Think of the millions on the move, searching for a better life because the world’s political and economic system has failed them totally.  Think of the children without education who have to work from a young age.  Think of people exploited in mines so that people in boardrooms and stock markets can make big profits.

To bring change, we need a kind of passion, a “holy anger” if I can put it that way.  We need a passion that cries “enough.”  We need a passion that mobilises people of faith and all people of goodwill to work together for change.  Because the Gospel is about change, about liberation.

The GIAN networks are our effort to be a catalyst for this change.  I ask you to find the passion and the mission that can re-energise these structures.  I ask you to identify, very specifically, the changes you want in each of these areas and then to map out how to get there with an outline of resources needed and a time frame (which for sure will have to be flexible).  Advocacy is not an easy task and the Society needs to improve the ways we do it.

I know that unless we are focused, specific and targeted, our advocacy will not work well.  The Social Justice and Ecology office here exists precisely to help with such strategizing and help the GIAN groups to find that focus, that passion, that energy, that direction.

I see here people at this table who have great experience in all these areas.  Please use that expertise to bring people to freedom.  Use it to fight for justice.  Pope Paul VI said: ‘if you want peace work for justice’.  We do want peace.  Peace is a Gospel promise, a beatitude “Blessed are the peacemakers”, a fruit of the Resurrection.  And so, our mission for the service of faith and the promotion of Justice is foundational, moving us beyond any ideology to a service of Christ carrying His cross and laboring for the peace that the world cannot give.

Thank you again for your presence here. It inspires me in my work. It gives me the consolation and the energy to tackle the issues that face me here every day.

The Society has a great mission and you, both lay people and Jesuits, are part of trying to take it forward and renew it as you discern, pray and work together so that the frontiers of unbelief and of poverty, of discrimination and injustice can be pushed back and so that people can find true liberation and reconciliation based on the Gospel promise and on the person of the Risen Christ.

Thank you and I wish every blessing for your meeting here and an enjoyable and fruitful time in Rome.

Arturo Sosa SJ

Declaration: civil society organizations are optimistic about the replenishment of education funding

Declaration: civil society organizations are optimistic about the replenishment of education funding

  • Posted: Feb 22, 2018 -
  • By: -
  • 0 Comments

The organizations participating in the Dakar Financing Summit have issued a joint Declaration in which they celebrate the significant progress of the countries gathered in Dakar to finance the right to education.

The most important commitments of the conference were those of the developing countries, which added approximately 30,000 million dollars, in additional financing. In addition, the European Union, the United Kingdom, France, Canada, Sweden, Denmark and Norway add a promise of funding that reaches almost 1,800 million dollars. The new Member State of the AME, United Arab Emirates (UAE) will also support an initial contribution of 100 million dollars. The total amount pledged by donors in this replenishment period exceeded 2,000 million dollars. Although this amount is much higher than promised in 2014, it does not reach the goal set by the AME for the next three years, which aims to reach 2,000 million dollars a year by 2020.

On the promises of partner countries in development, even with the significant commitments established today, is not enough to overcome the educational crisis. Worldwide, 264 million children and young people are still out of school, the majority of whom are girls, and 617 million children are in school, but fail to learn the basic skills, due to the scarcity quality of the education they receive. More funding is urgently needed to ensure that SDG 4 is reached on time. Achieving a real breakthrough in the financing of education will require significant internal resources; and that requires social justice. The flows of illicit financing, tax evasion and avoidance, as well as harmful tax incentives, must end. On this, Croso said: “The key to financing education is social justice.” The president of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo, argued energetically about the event: “There is money available in the continent to finance education for this goal, but we must eliminate corruption and illicit financial flows.”

The Norwegian delegation at the conference increased its current contribution by 40% and also, as its delegate said: “committed to increase support to countries with the will to expand their tax base”. Support for various levels of progressive tax systems is fundamental for sustainable global development and for the achievement of education for all.

Now it is the turn of civil society to commit to follow-up on promises in the next three years. We must see these funds arrive where they are most needed, and ensure that they are spent sensitively to improve inclusion, equity, and quality in public education systems.

Check here the complete Declaration of the Civil Society Organizations present at the Dakar Financing Summit.

International Day against the use of child soldiers: the right to education in danger

International Day against the use of child soldiers: the right to education in danger

  • Posted: Feb 22, 2018 -
  • By: -
  • 0 Comments

On the occasion of the International Day Against the Use of Child Soldiers, which was held on February 12, we recall the importance of exercising the right to education as a factor of protection against conflicts and how the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) contributes to it.

There is often a close relationship between forced displacement and forced recruitment of minors. Displaced children are an easy target to be recruited because they often lack protection and education, which makes them more easily manipulated. Girls and boys, some of them with less than six years old who are forced to fight and kill, or are involved in espionage activities. They are forced to lend, support armed groups as informants or messengers or participate in illicit activities such as drug production.

Sometimes girls are also sexually harrased. Many die, are seriously injured or end up prisoners. They are victims of constant abuse that transforms them into violent people, which makes their reintegration into society an enormous challenge.

In the world, more than 230 million children live in areas affected by armed conflicts. The Secretary General of the United Nations, in his 2016 report on childhood, notes the existence of child soldiers in 20 countries, most of the African continent and the Asian region of the Middle East, where there is a higher number of children. armed conflicts. The report highlights the increase in the number of cases of recruitment and use of minors in countries such as Somalia and the Syrian Arab Republic (whose number in 2016 increased by more than two compared to 2015), as well as the high number of cases in South Sudan, where one of the highest numbers of children recruited for military purposes is recorded (1,100).

A “child or girl soldier” is defined as any person under the age of 18 who is part of any type of regular or irregular armed force or armed group in any capacity, such as, but not limited to, chefs, porters, messengers, and anyone who accompanies these groups who are not members of the family. Includes girls and boys recruited to be sexually exploited and / or contract marriage. The definition, therefore, not only refers to a boy or girl who carries, or has carried, weapons (based on the “Cape Town Principles”, 1997).

The use of child soldiers is without doubt the most extreme form of child exploitation. These children go through terrible experiences that leave them desensitized and traumatized; Many of them can not forget the abuses they suffered. In the case of child soldiers, frequent physical injuries are accompanied by sexual abuse and forced marriages, which cause very serious traumas and, when they survive, rejection by their community. The Special Representative of the General Secretariat of the UN, in its annual report of 2017, showed that approximately 40% of children affected by recruitment and use for military purposes are girls.

In situations of displacement, education constitutes an indispensable means of protection and future projection for these children.

The Jesuit Refugee Service works by accompanying, serving and defending the rights of refugee and forcibly displaced children. It promotes schooling programs that protect these minors from the violence of the environment and allow them to have everything they need to be able to learn, restoring illusion and lost childhood. JRS offers collaboration with three specific initiatives:

Central African Republic

Central African Republic is currently plunged into a humanitarian, political and economic crisis since 2012. This situation has led to massive displacements both outside and inside the country: today there are 418,638 people. JRS works in the south and center of the country, specifically in Bangui and Bambari, assisting children to recover a normal life, so that they return to where they should be: the school. Thus, awareness-raising, psychosocial support and general training sessions are held, including actions for peace and reconciliation. In the case of girls, special attention is offered to facilitate their reintegration at the psychosocial and formative levels.

South Sudan

After the independence of South Sudan in 2011, more than 130,000 refugees arrived in Maban fleeing the Blue Nile in Sudan. Little did they imagine that in December 2013 the youngest country in the world was disintegrating into a fratricidal civil war. At that time, the refugees who had arrived in Maban barely two years before, found themselves caught between two wars. While the government of Kartum bombed their lands in the Blue Nile, the country that welcomed them lived episodes of unprecedented ethnic hatred. The children of this area live with the continuous threat of being recruited as minor soldiers. That is why JRS works in the Arrupe Learning Center, a residential school of Teacher Training so that they can improve their performance as educators and help prevent the use of minors in armed conflict, offering them on the contrary a higher quality in education and a space of protection in the schools of the refugee camp.

Movilización nacional por la financiación de la educación por la Cumbre de Dakar

Movilización nacional por la financiación de la educación por la Cumbre de Dakar

  • Posted: Feb 12, 2018 -
  • By: -
  • 0 Comments

El pasado viernes 2 de febrero concluyó en Dakar la Conferencia de Financiación de la Alianza Mundial por la Educación (AME), una cita del más alto nivel cuyo objetivo era movilizar fondos para fortalecer los sistemas educativos de los países en desarrollo, de modo que para 2030 todos los niños y niñas del mundo puedan ejercer su derecho a una educación infantil, primaria y secundaria inclusiva y de calidad. Esta Cumbre de Dakar ha sido la primera de este tipo organizada conjuntamente por un país donante miembro del G7, Francia, y un país en desarrollo, Senegal. También ha sido la primera en reunir a diez Jefes de Estado, tres ex Jefes de Estado y más de cien Ministros, que han demostrado así su compromiso con la causa educativa.

La Cumbre de Dakar ha cumplido con todas las expectativas previstas, tanto en términos de participación – con más de 1.200 participantes, incluyendo líderes de UNESCO, UNICEF, el Banco Mundial, la sociedad civil, y el sector privado, además de la cantante Rihanna, que es embajadora mundial de la AME – como de compromiso económico: los donantes se han comprometido a aportar 2.300 millones de dólares (1.860 millones de euros) a la AME entre 2018 y 2020, aunque el mayor esfuerzo es el de 50 países en vías de desarrollo que anunciaron un incremento de su gasto público en esta materia hasta alcanzar o superar el 20% de sus respectivos presupuestos, lo que representa 110.000 millones de dólares hasta 2020, frente a los 80.000 del periodo anterior.

El liderazgo decisivo del presidente del país anfitrión, Macky Sall se comprometió a aumentar la proporción del gasto en educación al 25% y también contribuyó con US $ 2 millones al fondo de reposición. Senegal se convierte en el primer socio de un país en desarrollo que contribuye al fondo, demostrando su dedicación para mejorar la educación tanto a nivel nacional como mundial.

Los compromisos más importantes de la conferencia fueron los de los países en desarrollo, que ascendieron a aproximadamente US $ 30.000mn en nuevos fondos. Fueron también significativas las contribuciones de la UE, el Reino Unido, Francia, Canadá, Suecia, Dinamarca y Noruega. El monto prometido solo por estos países ha sido de casi 1.800 millones de dólares. El total prometido por los países donantes para este período de reposición fue de poco más de  2.000 millones de dólares. Esta cifra está muy por encima de lo prometido en 2014.

Por su parte, la Federación Internacional Fe y Alegría junto con seis oficinas nacionales en todo el mundo se han movilizado para exigir responsabilidad política con la financiación de la educación de cara a la Cumbre en distintos foros y mediante diversas actividades de acción pública.

Desde Fe y Alegría Honduras difundieron en las redes sociales bajo el lema ¡Financien lo justo! Por una educación pública y gratuita para todos antes y durante el foro y como parte del Foro Dakar Honduras (coalición nacional) que participó en la Cumbre como parte de la Delegación de la CLADE. Desde Fe y Alegría Bolivia desde la Campaña Boliviana por el Derecho a la Educación, de la que forma parte, planteó sus demandas de un mayor financiamiento e inversión en educación en el pronunciamiento “Por una educación inclusiva, equitativa y de calidad , con aprendizajes a lo largo de la vida para todos y todas LLAMADO A LA ACCION”, que también incluía las siguientes demandas: 1) Mejora de calidad de la educación en el Sistema Educativo Plurinacional, 2) Sistemas de Información necesarias y pertinentes , 3) Mayor financiamiento e inversión en educación, 4) Elaboración de políticas, planes y legislación intersectoriales, 5) Consolidación de la participación social comunitaria en educación.

En Nicaragua, Fe y Alegría se ha movilizado en coordinación con las organizaciones que conforman el Foro de Educación y Desarrollo Humano de la Iniciativa por Nicaragua (FEDH-IPN), así como las que aglutina el Consejo de Educación Popular de América Latina y el Caribe (CEAAL). Se dirigieron al presidente de la Nación , organizaron un acto público y se ayudaron de redes sociales para la difusión de sus mensajes por la financiación de la educación.

Organizaciones educativas piden más recursos para la Educación en Nicaragua

Fe y Alegría Dominicana forma parte del Foro Socio educativo, que ha estado activo en esta campaña. El Foro estuvo presente en Dakar a través de un representante de la coalición intenrado la Delegación de la Campaña Lationamericana por el Derecho a Educación (CLADE).

En Entreculturas (Fe y Alegría España) y como parte de la Coalición Española de la Campaña Mundial,  se ha llevado a cabo una difusión amplia en redes sociales sobre el evento de reposición, utilizando y adaptando el material enviado desde internacional y se han realizado tanto reuniones como envío de cartas a los representantes políticos para contar con su presencia y compromiso en la Cumbre.

Por su parte, Fe y Alegría Estados Unidos se ha unido a la campaña también difundiendo el modelo de carta a los y las congresistas bajo el paraguas de la Coalición estadounidense de la Campaña y con la réplica de mensajes en redes sociales.

En Foi et Joie Haïti, se han coordinado con Reunification of Education for All (REPT) y enviaron una carta abierta al primer Ministro, M. Jacques Guy Lafontant y han hecho difusión en redes sociales.

Tras la Cumbre, todas estas y otras organizaciones por el derecho a la educación de la Compañía de Jesús están comprometidos con el seguimiento de las promesas en los próximos tres años. Necesitamos ver que estos fondos lleguen a donde más se necesitan, y para garantizar que se gasten con sensibilidad para promover la inclusión, la equidad y la calidad en los sistemas de educación pública.

Fund quality education for all

Fund quality education for all

  • Posted: Jan 18, 2018 -
  • By: -
  • 0 Comments

Starting February 1st and 2nd, Dakar, Senegal will host government representatives from low and lower-middle income countries and donors, multilateral and civil society organizations, as well as private sector organizations and foundations, at the Global Partnership for Education Financing Conference. These representatives are coming together under a common goal: to mobilize the funding necessary to meet the objectives established under Sustainable Development Goal 4 by 2030 and thus guarantee the right to quality education for all.

To achieve this ambitious goal, governments from low and lower-middle income countries must (1) substantially increase the funds they currently allocate for education to reach between 15% and 20% of their national public budget; (2) progressively increase the tax base so that they allocate more funds for education; and (3) ensure educational investment becomes more efficient and equitable, thus allocating more funds to the most marginalized and vulnerable populations.

However, this would still be insufficient to guarantee quality early childhood, primary and secondary education for all children by 2030. According to estimates, the funding gap would still amount to $39 billion dollars USD.

This is where the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) comes into play, a multilateral mechanism that, since 2002, channels funds from donor countries to 65 recipient countries and which has managed to facilitate access to quality primary education for 72 million children, among other achievements. Thus, the GPE is an essential funding tool to make the right to education a reality, especially among the most vulnerable groups and contexts. That is why the next Summit in Dakar is such a crucial moment, as it will be when the governments of the donor countries commit funds to contribute to the financing of education where it is most needed.

All of the organizations and coalitions that make up the Global Campaign for Education are coordinating to ensure that governments are up to the essential challenge we will face in the next decade: guarantee the right to education for all people and thus build a more equitable and sustainable world.

Fe y Alegría, a global movement that is present in 11 member countries of the Global Partnership for Education–Bolivia, Chad, Spain, Haiti, Honduras, Italy, Madagascar, Nicaragua, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Dominican Republic and the US–urges the governments of these countries to adopt the commitments proposed by the GPE.

We invite you to help us spread the Fund the Future Campaign through social networks, so that through all of our efforts, our common message reaches our public representatives: Education needs funding now. #FundTheFuture #EducationNow #TaxJustice

Looking for concrete ways to take action? Below are the links for the US Citizen actions that the Global Campaign for Education – US has created online:

Contact your Members of Congress and let them know that you believe that all children and youth around the world should have an education!

Share “Fund the Future” campaign resources through your social media networks.

Public education adapted: Darfuri students excel after curriculum transition

Public education adapted: Darfuri students excel after curriculum transition

  • Posted: Oct 09, 2017 -
  • By: -
  • 0 Comments

More than a decade after the initial onset of conflict in their homeland, Darfuri refugees remain in twelve refugee camps near the Chadian border with Sudan. In these twelve settlements, the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) runs its largest education project worldwide, and for the past few years, this project focused on supporting students and educators transition to a new curriculum.

The success of these students, teachers, and the JRS staff involved in this initiative is evident in the results of this year’s Baccalaureate exam (BAC), a Chadian government exam mandatory to certify secondary education. In 2017, more Darfuri students from eastern Chad registered to take the exam than ever before, most those who sat for the exam were approved, and more young women participated than in the years previous.

As in many refugee communities, education remains an essential part of everyday life and an important priority for Darfuri refugees. “When a population moves to a place, due to emergency situations (and particularly after conflict), education is key to restoring child protection standards and promoting well-being, as well as restoring the community,” explains Nadezhna Castellano, JRS’s International Education Specialist.

Since 2003, schools in the twelve camps housing Darfuri refugees in eastern Chad were still following the Sudanese education system. In 2014, the UNHCR and Chadian Government resolved to begin transitioning the academic curriculum used in these schools to the standard Chadian curriculum used throughout the country.

The transition was not easy, and challenges were met at pedagogical, organisational, and political levels: teachers remained unfamiliar with the new curriculum, differing educational structures struggled to be mediated, and textbooks did not exist at many levels. For refugees and other vulnerable communities, a change like this is also difficult on a societal level, “Curriculum represents communal and national identities. We study our geography, our language, and our history…and when you have lost everything, sometimes education is the only heritage you can provide to your children,” says Nadezhna about the difficulties of curriculum transitions within a context of displacement and humanitarian emergency.

In response to these challenges, JRS focused their programs in eastern Chad on educational initiatives that included developing greater teacher capacity. This was done in part through a mentorship program in which Chadian education professionals tutored Sudanese teachers. Equally important was empowering young students with sufficient preparation and encouragement to take the BAC. Some of the educational programming was also specifically geared towards helping to engage, support, and empower young women.

Now, a few years later, the benefit of the transition is coming full circle, and JRS is proud of the accomplishments of the Darfuri students involved in this project. In the next few years, opportunities for successful higher and professional education will only continue to expand in eastern Chad, as JRS education programs focus on supplying additional student scholarships, school kits, continued teacher training, and education advocacy.

As an organisation, JRS prioritises the need of education for displaced populations living in contexts of uncertainty. For Darfuri students living in eastern Chad, the future of education is bright and more certain than ever before.

Piece originally published in JRS web.

“Our most important commitment is with the education system strenghtening”

“Our most important commitment is with the education system strenghtening”

  • Posted: Oct 04, 2017 -
  • By: -
  • 0 Comments

The Latin American Campaign for the Right to Education interviews Carlos Fritzen, General Coordinator of the International Federation of Fe y Alegría, a regional network that has just joined the network.  During this talk, Fritzen discusses the main challenges and opportunities for the realization of the human right to education in Latin America and the Caribbean, and explains how to join the CLADE network can strengthen the activities that Fe y Alegría has been promoting at regional level.

What are the main activities in defense of the right to education that Fe y Alegría has promoted at a regional level?

The International Federation of Fe y Alegría, contributes as a movement of more than one million people, among students, educators, mothers and fathers, in 17 countries of Latin America and the Caribbean. We speak of a total of 2,000 educational centers, from kindergarten through high school, technical and second chance programs. Our greatest commitment is with the strengthening of public education systems. Therefore, we have strong roots and presence in vulnerable communities that fight and demand their right to education.

When it comes to issues such as the right to a quality public education, we join with other organizations, from the local level, where educational activities are located beyond what can be a center, a school, where we are impacting and participating. This is also reflected when there are actions that spread regionally, when we articulate with networks that work for the right to education, such as CEAAL and ALER, in all the countries in which we are present.

In many of these spaces we are members of advisory councils, such as the Central American Integration System (CC-SICA) and UNESCO, which provide various levels of reflection. They are local and regional alliances with different organizations that drive initiatives for a quality public education.

We also lean on with regional agencies that drive advocacy initiatives for “quality education, as a right” such as Catholic Relief Services (CRS), Glasswing, Feed the Children, the Association of Colleges and Universities of the Jesus, among others

Thus we have a basis of work, which is the incidence of the communities, and always articulates a state, country or international level. There is the strength of Fe y Alegría, because there are people who are at the root of the problem, where the lack of public policies, resources, funding and respect for teachers and education professionals is impacting.

We are concerned with strategic thinking, as given by Boaventura de Sousa Santos, from the localization of the problem to the regionalization of the problem and now the globalization of the problem.

What, in your eyes, are the challenges and opportunities for the realization of the human right to education in Latin America and the Caribbean?

A fundamental issue that is pointed out is the growing privatization of education, the conception of education as a business, as a market product. That impacts a lot on what we have for purpose.

Privatization goes hand in hand with a focus on education and educational work as a technical job. There is an ideology of “quality of education” in some areas, with a perspective of integrality in the formation of the person. Arts, values, humanities, health, are out. When everything focuses on what the market requires, pedagogical ideology holds the privatizing interest.

On the other hand, we are also concerned about the crisis of international cooperation and the cuts in educational investment. We know that there is a wider crisis and that this impacts the available resources to strengthen the educational processes. We also have a scenario of absence of State policies that responds to major social pacts.

Another major challenge is the increasing inequality in educational quality. It is necessary to develop educational policies that guarantee equity and relevance by giving more and better education to those who have less, in order to compensate for the disadvantages of their starting situation.

The necessary dignification and qualification of the teaching profession is another great challenge for our region, as well as the inclusion of people with special educational needs. However, we have a great opportunity to change everything. The Agenda 2030 is a framework that commits us all and offers the opportunity to work together to achieve it.

How did the idea of ​​joining the CLADE network and the importance of this alliance awakened?

Fe y Alegría has always been committed to defending and promoting the right to education and we have been a part of the Global Campaign for Education (CME) since its inception. On the other hand, many of our national organizations are part of the national CLADE and CME coalitions or forums.

Being a member of CLADE allows us to join regional efforts with different organizations in the different advocacy processes, strengthening our struggle for the right to education. This alliance also allows us to access a privileged and reciprocal space to share learning; and avoid duplication of efforts, by establishing regional and global synergies.

The original interview in Spanish was published here.