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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 -
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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 -
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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 -
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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 -
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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 -
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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 -
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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.

Fund what is fair: Right to education campaign for Latin America and the Caribbean

Fund what is fair: Right to education campaign for Latin America and the Caribbean

  • Posted: Sep 22, 2017 -
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The Latin American Campaign for the Right to Education has launched this week a campaign for the correct financing of Sustainable Development Goal 4 on the occasion of the 72nd United Nations General Assembly, that is taking place this week too. Fe y Alegría, a movement present in 22 countries of popular education and social promotion, 17 of them in Latin America and the Caribbean, joins this mobilization to underscore the importance of tax justice for guaranteeing the human right to education.

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World poverty could be more than halved if all adults finish secondary school

World poverty could be more than halved if all adults finish secondary school

A new paper released this month by the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) and the Global Education Monitoring (GEM) Report moves this debate beyond politics. It shows that the global poverty rate could be more than halved if all adults completed secondary school.

The paper, Reducing global poverty through universal primary and secondary education, demonstrates the importance of education as a lever for ending poverty and helping improve the lot of adults currently living under the threshold of $1.90 a day. By confirming the links between the two, the paper is welcome news for those working to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal on poverty eradication by 2030 (SDG 1) while reinforcing the investment case for universal secondary education – an education target under SDG 4.

3The new paper builds on the average impact of education on growth and poverty reduction from 1965 to 2010 in developing countries to reveal that nearly 60 million people could avoid poverty if all adults had just two more years of schooling. If all adults completed secondary education that number would increase seven-fold, and 420 million people could be lifted above the poverty threshold. That is enough to cut the total number of poor people in half worldwide, and by almost two-thirds in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.

The numbers would fall because education provides people with the skills they need to boost their employment prospects and their incomes, while helping people to protect themselves from the worst impacts of poverty during hard times. And a more equitable expansion of education is likely to reduce inequality, lifting the poorest people from the bottom of the ladder.

The good news is that ensuring that every adult completes a good quality secondary education is a perfectly feasible and achievable ambition, with the right choices and the right levels of well-targeted investment. The bad news, as the paper shows, is that the number of children and youth out of school remains high in many countries, making it unlikely, if current trends continue, to meet the global education targets for generations to come.

There has been virtually no progress in reducing out-of-school rates in recent years for both primary and secondary age groups. The world has yet to make good on its promise to achieve universal primary education, which was supposed to occur by 2015. Globally, 9% of all children of primary school age are not in the classroom. And the gaps get bigger as children get older, with 16% of youth of lower-secondary school age missing out on education, rising to 37% for those who should be in upper secondary school. In total, 264 million children and youth were out of school in 2015.

6

One of the regions where universal secondary education could have the greatest impact on poverty, sub-Saharan Africa, remains the region with the highest out-of-school rates for all age groups. More than one-fifth (21%) of children aged 6 to 11 are out of school, rising to more than more than one-third (36%) of adolescents aged 12 to 14 and half (57%) of all youth aged 15 to 17.

The paper confirms that education must reach the poorest to enable them and their families to lift themselves out of poverty. But this is yet another story of inequalities. Children from the poorest 20% of families are eight times as likely to be out of school as children from the richest 20% in lower-middle-income countries. And in the world’s poorest countries, children are nine times as likely to be out of primary and secondary school as children in the richest countries.

While calling on countries to improve the quality of education as part of efforts to get all children into school and learning, the paper also stresses the need to reduce the direct and indirect costs of education for families, including school fees, and costs of textbooks and uniforms. UIS data confirm that out-of-pocket expenses for families remain high even at the primary level in many countries. In Ghana, for example, households spend about $87 each year for every child in primary education – a figure that rises to $151 in Côte d’Ivoire and to $680 in El Salvador. Such costs, particularly for the poorest families, can be simply too heavy to bear.

To reduce the financial burden on families, the paper highlights policy solutions to keep children in school, including school-feeding programmes, cash transfers, and complementary health interventions. It also calls for more targeted efforts to safeguard the right to free education among all marginalized groups, such as children with disabilities, refugee and migrant children, and those affected by gender discrimination (whether girls or boys).

Could there be a more cost-effective (and non-political) way to make a dent in global poverty than education? We hope this can be on the table at next month’s High-Level Political Forum at the UN. If the delegates cannot agree on everything, they can surely agree on investment in secondary education as a practical way to ensure that people no longer have to survive on barely two dollars each day.

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    7 months ago
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Post originally published in GEM Report blog

The ODA to education is stagnating and not going to the countries in most need

The ODA to education is stagnating and not going to the countries in most need

  • Posted: Jul 10, 2017 -
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The new policy paper from the report Global Education Monitoring (GEM) of UNESCO starts by noting that the national expenditure in the countries of low rent and medium low can´t cover the costs to reach the Objective of Sustainable Development (OSD) 4, by which the exterior aid should compensate the deficit. But the help to educacion is stagnated since 2010, and the one that is granted doesn´t go to the countries that need it the most, worsening the perspective to achieve the objectives of global education. Next, reference is made to the main content of this report.

The priority of the help to education has decreased for the sixth consecutive year

The global total of the official help to the development (AOD) increased in 2015 a 5% in real terms (cumulatively increased a 24% between 2010 and 2015). This increment can be partially explained by the immigration crisis and refugees in Europe. However, even when the global ODA increases, the help to educacion stagnates. In 2015, it situated itself 4% less than in 2010, which represents a much more inferior  significant quantity of the necessary one to achieve the SDG 4. According to the report, there are few indications that can suggest that the stagnation of the help to education is connected with the immigration crisis and refugees in Europe; simply happens that the donors change their priorities at the expense of education. For example, the transportation sector, that recently would only receive two thirds of what it provided to education, now receives the same or more.

The help to basic education must be better allocated

Even though the general help for basic education increased an 8% in a year, it still is 6% below than in 2010. The bilateral donors (whether or not they are members of the CAD) still play a prominent role (62% of the total), but the multilaterals are each time more important.

The report shows that there are different ways to supervise the part of the total help to education given to the countries with low rent, which is an tematic indicator for the SDG 4.5. . An approach would be to focus in the countries with the lowest incomes classified by the World Bank, the majority of them in Sub Saharan Africa.  With this measure, the countries of low income received in 2015 the 19% of total help to education and a 23% of help to basic education. Both parts were kept constant during 10 years, but abruptly fell in 2015 with the 13% decrease of the global help to education and a 16% of the help to basic education in the countries with low incomes. Another standpoint would be to examine the classified countries by the United Nations as the least developed, where there would enter 48 countries in front of the 32 countries classified by the World Bank. Finally, another standpoint would be to examine the distribution of the help to basic education by religion. The report concludes that the help to basic education should be alienated with the costs that would involve to educate all the kids that are not attending school.

In this way, for example, the cost to provide schooling thr 49% of kids not educated in Burkina Faso would be near 182 million dollars, but this country only received 17 million dollars in 2012. In contrast, the cost to provide schooling to a 2% of kids not educated in Zimbabwe would be of 11 million dollars but the country received 31 million in 2012. This means that the donors must rationalize the money in base of the necessity level of each country.

In this line, the World Alliance for Education (GPE) with a 77% of their disbursements assigned to Sub Saharan Africa and almost a 60% to countries affected by fragility or conflicts, reaches the countries that need it the most. Their model of allocation is based on two elements: the necessities of the educative sector of the partner country and the level of rent of the country in question.

The help to secondary education fell almost a tenth part in 2015

In 2015, the total help to secondary education decreased a 9%, dropping to similar levels to the ones in 2009-2010. In accordance with the data of 2015, three of the country from the G7 weren’t between the 10 first donors to secondary education: Canada was in the number 11, United States in the 15 and Italy as number 18. The bilateral help of the donors of the CAD for secondary education was 14% less in 2015 than in 2009. On the other hand, the help of the multilateral donors to secondary education has increased a 25% since 2009, in spite of a decrease of 10% between 2014 and 2015. As a result, the multilateral donors represent the 38% of the total help to basic education in 2015, in comparison with the 32% in 2009.

The humanitarian ODA to education increased in more than half in 2016, but it continues to be completely insufficient.

In the last five years, the financing requests for the education in emergency cases has increased a 21%. Since 2013, the financing in this sector has recovered, in 2016 it increased in a 55% reaching a historical maximum of 303 million dollars. However, this quantities are insufficient. The education in emergency received the 2.7% of the total of the humanitarian help, extremely below the objective of the 4%. In 2016, the sector received the 48% of what it had asked for in terms of humanitarian aid, in comparison with an average of 57% in all the sectors.

The view of the help to education is changing

The actual levels of help to education are very below the necessary quantities to reach the SDG 4. But the existing programs and several emerging financing schemes can help to restore the balance:

  1. The current campaign of replenishment of the World Alliance for Education (GPE) seeks to raise $3.1 billion for the time of 2018-2020, with the objective of financing $2 billion annually for 2020, four times more than the actual financing level.
  2. The International Instrument of Financing for Education (IFFEd), proposed by the International Commission about the Financing of the Educational Opportunities in the World, could promote close to $10.000million in additional financing per year for 2020, used for the development banks expand their project of education and they focus on the countries with incomes that are medium to low.
  3. The fund Education Cannot Wait established in 2016 has as objective to raise $3.850 million from now until 2020, it would transform the provision of the education during emergencies.

 

Donors should work coordinately so the three initiatives avoid expenses of administration that are unnecessary and the duplication of efforts. However, the new financing facilities aren´t sufficient: the donors must try hard in turn and to substantially increase the revenue of the international funding to education. Moreover, they must increase their commitments (at least the 0.7% of GDP to help and a 10% of this quantity for education) and assure that the help to education goes where it is more necessary.

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.

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