Fe y Alegría proposes challenges for education in Venezuela

Fe y Alegría proposes challenges for education in Venezuela

  • Posted: Jun 24, 2016 -
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Within the forum “Challenges of Education in Venezuela” organized by the National Assembly of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, and in the complex context of the country, the director of Fe y Alegría, Manuel Aristorena, S.J. on behalf of the educational movement, has presented eight challenges so that the right to education can be effective in Venezuela.

1. The classrooms are left without educators; the schools have lowered their enrolments. Few young people want to be educators. Against this deficit of educators, there is the challenge for the Venezuelan state and society to make attractive the teaching career, worthy of the best. This requires dignifying its situation and improving the trainings. There can be no quality education with teachers adding up hours in various schools in order to survive.
2. Against the growing violence and the difficulty of solving problems peacefully, the challenge is to educate for peaceful coexistence, so that the violence will not be attractive to children and young people and that violence does not end with children and adolescents. The State must ensure the peace of the environment: in our schools only they have killed students, teachers, representatives, and a guard and stolen 200 computers. Committed teachers are true heroes.
3. Against the deinstitutionalization process and the citizenship deficit, we are challenged to train citizens able to see the rules as values, citizens aware of their rights and their duties, from early childhood education.
4. Venezuela has record in Latin America for its rate of early pregnancy. An IDEHNA study certifies it. It is the only problem that the Venezuelan State admitted last year in the examination before the International Committee on the Rights of Children and Adolescents in Geneva. There isn´t a massive and adequate approach to regress this problem. Education is needed not only to prevent the early pregnancy, but also for the responsible sexuality. This is a challenge.
5. Quality is a pending issue of the Venezuelan education. Having well-trained managers, professional supervisors who can accompany and having a quality evaluation system is a challenge.
6. 100% of children age of early education is not being attended. According to official data, from every 100 children 23 are outside the system at this age. A major challenge is to universalize the early childhood education. In the Middle Education is a major gap that must be covered as well. It is a challenge building the necessary spaces to guarantee the right to education and providing the necessary resources.

7. Against the problem of the rentier mentality and the productivity crisis, the challenge is to educate for entrepreneurship and productive work, to assure graduates to creatively solve problems, generate quality services and have the skills for productive work.
8. The classrooms also are left without students, especially in Middle Education. Against school dropouts, the challenge is to update the Middle Education curriculum, so it can be relevant, useful, once again, attractive, along with improving school climate.

World Humanitarian Summit Marks Key Moment for Education in Emergencies

World Humanitarian Summit Marks Key Moment for Education in Emergencies

  • Posted: Jun 13, 2016 -
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After two years of worldwide consultations, last month over 9,000 participants came together in Istanbul for the first World Humanitarian Summit to chart the future course of humanitarian action. The Summit brought together 173 United Nations Member States, 55 Heads of State and Governments, some 350 private sector representatives, and over 2,000 people from civil society and non-governmental organizations.

This tremendous gathering of humanitarian practitioners, together with policymakers, created an historic opportunity to raise awareness about the important role that education plays in rebuilding lives during and after conflict, and its unique role in bridging an ever-present gap between humanitarian and development actors.

Education was at the forefront of the Summit proceedings with a series of side events addressing challenges and innovations in delivering education in emergencies and protracted crises. Jesuit Refugee Service, alongside UNRWA, the Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE), the Global Campaign for Education, TheirWorld and War Child, hosted one such event entitled Delivering Quality Education in Emergencies: What Needs to Be Done? This event featured practitioners, philanthropists and champions advocating on behalf of increasing access to a quality education for refugees and the forcibly displaced.

A Special Session on Education in Emergencies followed and featured the launch of Education Cannot Wait, which aims to transform the global education sector for children affected by crisis by focusing specifically on meeting their educational needs. This effort will both mobilize and coordinate support for these critical programs, which currently only receive two percent of humanitarian funding.

At the launch event, representatives from the United Kingdom ($43.8 million), the United States ($20 million), Norway ($11.2 million), the European Union ($5.6 million), the Netherlands ($7.8 million) and philanthropy Dubai Cares ($2.5 million) pledged just over $90 million to the new Fund. Other governments, including Canada and France, delivered supportive statements but have not yet made a financial commitment.

We applaud champions, including former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, for spearheading efforts to launch Education Cannot Wait and for those donors who have supported this effort through their initial commitments.  Yet, we must do more.

Education Cannot Wait has an initial goal of raising $150 million in its first year so that it can adequately begin to address gaps in delivering education programs to those in need. The next pledge “moment” may present itself at a Summit set to take place on September 20 in New York City during the UN General Assembly. The Leaders’ Summit on Refugees, organized by the Obama Administration, will take place on the margins of the UN General Assembly. The Summit will convene Heads of State and Government who have made new and significant commitments this year to address the global refugee crisis.

The collective goals of the Summit are to increase funding to international humanitarian organizations and UN humanitarian appeals; increase opportunities for resettlement and other forms of legal admission for refugees; and expand access to employment and education for refugees in major refugee-hosting states. By including education as a key outcome of this Summit, we can continue building momentum towards achieving goals set forth by Education Cannot Wait.

In the midst of the highest levels of forced displacement the world has seen since World War II, we are seeing unprecedented levels of political will to address these tremendous challenges. As we recognize the historic opportunity presented in the new Education Cannot Wait Fund and look towards this September’s Leaders’ Summit, we must continue to have at the forefront of our minds those individuals, families and communities we are seeking to serve by creating greater opportunity for a quality education.

Giulia McPherson is the Assistant Director for Policy at Jesuit Refugee Service/USA. She leads the organization’s policy and advocacy efforts as they relate to global education and U.S. asylum policies and oversees a community engagement program to educate and mobilize advocates. Giulia can be reached at or @giuliamcpherson.

Supervising the Education Fund for Emergencies: GCE statement

Supervising the Education Fund for Emergencies: GCE statement

  • Posted: Jun 02, 2016 -
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The Global Campaign for Education, in which several institutions of the Society of Jesus are involved, welcomes the launch of the Education Cannot Wait fund for education in emergencies, which was announced at the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, Turkey, 23-24 May 2016.

In the official statement, just released today , the GCE welcomes these pledges and will be holding governments to account by analysing these commitments in the coming days. It is crucial to ensure that new monies have been pledged, and that countries supporting the new Fund do not double-count commitments, such as those made during the February 2016 Syria Conference, or draw back their support from existing mechanisms, such as the Global Partnership for Education.

The European Union, the Netherlands, Norway, the United Kingdom, and the United States have all made financial contributions for the first year of the fund so far, with Denmark indicating its willingness to make a financial contribution in 2017. The fund’s target for the first year is US$150 million, with an overall ambition of achieving $3.5 billion over a five-year period; by the close of the World Humanitarian Summit, just over 50% of the year one target had been pledged.

Similarly, GCE urges those governments making pledges to the new fund to commit to delivering the vision of equitable, inclusive and free quality education to which they have pledged for every child in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Education 2030 Framework for Action; all children, young people and adults have the same rights, and these rights should not be compromised for those living in crisis contexts. We particularly call on governments to ensure that public funds dedicated to education are used for quality, public provision and systems, and not to support for-profit private companies seeking to draw financial profit from humanitarian crises. This practice, known as ‘disaster capitalism’, has already been applied in several cases and contexts, and has proven to be profoundly detrimental to the realisation of human rights. For the right to education, it places quality, equity, and inclusion in serious jeopardy.

GCE also welcomes the fund’s commitment to being inclusive and transparent in its own governance. We call on the fund to adhere to the principle of engaging with and including civil society, both in its own governance arrangements and in its ways of working on the ground. The voice of citizens is vital to ensuring that its work is well-informed, and held accountable by those it seeks to serve.

GCE submitted its own pledge to the World Humanitarian Summit. The pledge encompassed building civil society capacity in countries afflicted by disaster and conflict to ensure citizens are involved in sector planning in and for such contexts, as well as monitoring education financing and delivery. At local, national, regional and international levels, GCE is also committed to advocating for increased and additional resources for education in emergencies and crises, and monitoring such commitments and delivery of services.

The statement above can be downloaded in English

Immigrant youngsters detention: neglecting the right to education in USA

Immigrant youngsters detention: neglecting the right to education in USA

  • Posted: Jun 01, 2016 -
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Thursday, Jan. 28, was a cold morning in Durham, North Carolina. Wildin David Guillen Acosta went outside to head to school, but never made it. He was thrown to the ground and arrested by agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). He has been in detention ever since. Wildin, now 19 years old, fled his home in Olancho, Honduras more than two years ago. He was detained when crossing the border, but, as he was a minor at the time, he was allowed to join his family in North Carolina, USA. He started out at Riverside High School, and was set to graduate this June. He wanted to become an engineer. Instead, he has been locked up in the notorious Stewart Detention Center in rural Lumpkin, Georgia, which is run by the for-profit Corrections Corporation of America.

Wildin is just one of hundreds of thousands of children who have fled the violence of Central America in recent years, either alone or, often, with their mothers. They come primarily from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. Honduras is now one of the world’s most violent countries, and Olancho has one of the highest murder rates there, causing many to flee. The U.S. Army and the Drug Enforcement Administration both have special-forces units permanently stationed there, joining in counternarcotics operations that have also killed Hondurans.

Wildin was arrested in part of a series of immigration raids, dubbed “Operation Border Guardian.” Many believe its intent was to create fear among those still in Central America who might consider taking the perilous journey north to the U.S. “As I have said repeatedly, our borders are not open to illegal migration,” Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson said at the time. “If you come here illegally, we will send you back consistent with our laws and values.” Immediately after Wildin’s arrest, family, friends, classmates and teachers at Riverside High demonstrated their values, rallying to support him and five others who were similarly arrested. The group of imprisoned youth is often referred to as the “NC6.” Durham’s Human Relations Commission appealed to ICE to release him, as did the Durham City Council.

Wildin’s request for asylum was denied, and on March 19, an immigration judge denied his appeal to reopen his case. He was set for deportation back to Honduras on March 20. However, bowing to the enormous public pressure brought by this youth-led grass-roots organizing, ICE Director Sarah Saldana issued an order that morning, delaying his deportation. Wildin’s case for asylum is before the Board of Immigration Appeals, a process that could take months or even years to resolve.

Wildin Acosta remains locked up in ICE’s private prison in Georgia. His request that his schoolwork be sent to him was initially denied. After public outcry, the warden relented. Many high-school students get detention for refusing to study. Wildin is stuck in permanent detention, and he has to fight for his right to study. That is determination and commitment Jeh Johnson and everyone at ICE should agree is “consistent with our values.”

News originally posted in by Amy Goodman and Denis Moynihan.

The Humanitarian Summit: Education Fund and Safe Schools Declaration

The Humanitarian Summit: Education Fund and Safe Schools Declaration

  • Posted: May 26, 2016 -
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The First Humanitarian Summit that has taken place this week in Istanmbul has come to an end and different actors have accompanied and served the process to make feasible an Education Fund to provide education in emergencies; the Jesuit Refugee Service, under the lead of its Director Tom Smolich SJ organized a side event on quality education called: Delivering quality education: What needs to be done? in collaboration with other education organizations like Educate a Child, Save the Children International, MBC Hope and Dubai Cares.

UNESCO’s Director-General, Irina Bokova, welcomed the new Education Cannot Wait—a fund for education in emergencies that was launched at a special session of the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul in the presence of the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

The Fund’s immediate aim is to raise $3.85 billion over the next five years to reach 13.6 million children whose education has been disrupted by conflict and other humanitarian emergencies. The Fund is expected to reach 75 million children and youth by 2030. One in four of the world’s school-aged children, nearly half a billion, live in countries affected by crisis. They are either missing out on their education, receiving poor quality schooling or run the risk of dropping out of school.

On its behalf, the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) is gratified the international community made a commitment to education through this Fund, which follows on the heels of the JRS Global Education Initiative launched last December.

“Education Cannot Wait is an important step forward in helping to ensure that the most vulnerable and disenfranchised have access to an education,” said Jesuit Refugee Service International Director Fr Thomas H Smolich SJ in Istanbul. “JRS feels education is always part of any emergency situation.”

Dean Brooks, Director of the Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies, said, “we’ve been fighting to get to a moment like this for a very long time, so many people and organizations have come together to create this moment.”

In the report Providing Hope, Investing in the Future: Education in Emergencies & Protracted Crises, JRS confirms that education is a life-saving intervention for children and adolescents who are forcibly displaced from their homes. For decades, in emergencies where many agencies provide basic humanitarian assistance, JRS has been on the ground organizing educational and recreational activities to heal trauma, promote human dignity, and build skills.

The new Fund aligns with UNESCO’s work as the lead UN agency entrusted with the coordination of Sustainable Development Goal 4, “to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.”

A policy paper, ‘No more excuses’, released ahead the World Humanitarian Summit published by UNESCO shows that only 50% of refugee children are in primary school and 25% of refugee adolescents are in secondary school.

At governamental level, The Safe Schools Declaration, developed through state consultations led by Norway and Argentina in Geneva throughout the first half of 2015, provides states the opportunity to express broad political support for the protection and continuation of education in armed conflict, and is the instrument for states to endorse and commit to implement the Guidelines for Protecting Schools and Universities from Military Use during Armed Conflict. The Declaration was opened for endorsement at the Oslo Conference on Safe Schools convened by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on May 29, 2015. A first group of 37 states endorsed it that day and that number has since grwon up to 53 after de Summit.

All efforts at different levels are welcome to make the effective right to education for everyone in the emergencies and protacted crisis contexts.

Investing in the Future: Why Education in Emergencies Cannot Wait

Investing in the Future: Why Education in Emergencies Cannot Wait

  • Posted: May 19, 2016 -
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Nora’s story is not unique. When she was three years old, she fled violence in Darfur, Sudan with her family and has been living in a refugee camp in Eastern Chad ever since. Going to school was not an obvious path for her. She sells biscuits in the market to help support her family and many girls like her are not in school.

In fact, 75 million children and adolescents aged 3-18 have had their education directly affected by emergencies and protracted crises. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), only 50 percent of refugees or internally displaced persons are enrolled in primary school, 25 percent in lower secondary school, and very few have access to pre-primary or tertiary education.

On May 23 & 24, global leaders will gather in Istanbul, Turkey for the inaugural World Humanitarian Summit where a new initiative to mobilize support for education in emergencies will be launched.  Education Cannot Wait, a fund for education in emergencies will look to transform the global education sector for children affected by crises by focusing specifically on meeting their educational needs.

Nora, now 14 years old, is enrolled in a school run by Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS), a nonprofit organization rooted in the Jesuit tradition of educating young people. JRS currently operates education programs in more than 25 countries serving over 110,000 refugees and other forcibly displaced persons.

In a new report – Providing Hope, Investing in the Future – JRS identifies a series of barriers faced by displaced families and children, including lack of legal status, poor infrastructure and lack of materials, change in language or curriculum, discrimination, significant learning gaps and dealing with the effects of trauma.

To address these barriers, JRS implements several key strategies, including:

  • Parental Involvement to Ensure Access and Retention
  • A Holistic Approach that Meets All Student Needs
  • Complementary Programs for Parents and Families
  • Investment in Teacher Training and Tertiary Education
  • Emphasis on Language Skills and Remedial Education
  • Youth Programming Focused on Life Skills and Leadership Training

Past investments in educational progress are in jeopardy as we face a record number of long-standing conflicts and resulting global displacement. At this important time, JRS calls on donors, governments and the humanitarian and development communities to take action. Access to education must be prioritized in all stages of humanitarian response with a focus on effective transitions to long-term sustainable solutions, in particular for protracted crises.

We must leverage the Education Cannot Wait Fund and other opportunities to address the lack of access to education for the forcibly displaced. Children like Nora are waiting for the opportunity to go to school and create a future for themselves and their families.


Giulia McPherson is the Assistant Director for Policy at Jesuit Refugee Service/USA. In this capacity, she leads the organization’s policy and advocacy efforts as they relate to global education and U.S. asylum policies and oversees a community engagement program to educate and mobilize advocates. Giulia can be reached at or @giuliamcpherson.

Red umbrellas to march for public financing of education in Panama

Red umbrellas to march for public financing of education in Panama

  • Posted: May 12, 2016 -
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This April 26th, students and teachers from the Centro Profesional y Técnico (Professional and Technical Centre) Padre Joaquín López and López from Fe and Alegría Panama, gathered with red umbrellas in their hands, near the intersection of Pedregal, to join the international mobilizations that, on the occasion of the Global Action Week for Education, are held with open umbrellas to ask our politicians to protect the education and to allocate budget to fund the commitments they have made to ensure the Right to Education.
One of the main lessons learned in the last 15 years is that good intentions and political commitments can only be achieved when there is sufficient and quality funding.
2016 began with the approval of a new Agenda for Education, in which the world States give themselves another opportunity to ensure an inclusive, equitable and quality education and long-life learning for all people. The deadline: 2030.
Nowadays 124 million children and young people in the whole world do not go to school, 59 million of them have no access to primary education and 65 million do not attend high school.

They want to draw attention to the protection role that the school and the education have on children.
Specifically, they demand:
1. To sign the agreement by Meduca, where the Fe y Alegría teachers’ salaries are subsidized, this way ensuring the free education for many vulnerable students, as has been achieved in other countries.
2. To comply with the Agenda for Education 2030 commitments, in order to ensure a quality education, inclusive and equitable and promote long-time learning opportunities.
3. That the Government establish a clear plan to increase their contribution to fund the education.
4. An accounting for the society on how are meet the commitments signed for the Right to Education and the Sustainable Development Goals.

Education Cannot Wait: a fund for education in emergencies

Education Cannot Wait: a fund for education in emergencies

  • Posted: May 11, 2016 -
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One in four of the world’s school-aged children – 462 million – now live in countries affected by crisis.  Of these, 75 million children aged 3-18 years, living in 35 crisis-affected countries, are in desperate need of educational support.

Education for these children has long been neglected, but there is a growing recognition of its central importance. Built on extensive consultation and dialogue among a range of stakeholders, Education Cannot Wait – a fund for education in emergencies is an education crisis fund designed to transform the global education sector, including both humanitarian and development responses. It is based on a Overseas Development Institute proposal that aims to design a global operational model to fill the gap on financing, join planing and response, inspire political commitment, strenghten capacity and improve accountability on education during emergencies.


Launching at the World Humanitarian Summit in May 2016, the platform aims to deliver a more collaborative, agile, and rapid response to education in emergencies in order to fulfill the right to education for children and young people affected by crises. It is about both restoring hope to millions of children and demonstrating that the governments who signed the 2030 Sustainable Development Goal pledge intend to keep their promise.


This fund aims to raise nearly US$4 billion to reach 13.6 million children in need of education in emergencies within five years, with the goal to reach 75 million children by 2030 and will perfectly align to the fulfillment of the SDG 4 on quality education.


The updates on the report can be followed  through Twitter under the hashtag #EducationCannotWait  and the original article was extracted from the International Network for education in Emergencies.

Walk for Free and right financed Education in Guatemala

Walk for Free and right financed Education in Guatemala

  • Posted: May 03, 2016 -
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The civil society plays a key role in claiming the right financing for public education in the country and from this perspective, Fe y Alegría Guatemala supported the Walk for Free Education in the country last week.

Carlos Fritzen SJ, International Federation Fe y Alegría general coordinator pointed out that “as bottom and common framework, as challenges in education, we must highlight the lack of adequate financing to invest in education, so that education actually becomes quality education with holistic formation. We don’t want any kind of education but the best possible public education for everyone”

On its behalf, Fe y Alegría Guatemala coordinator, Miguel Cortez SJ, claimed: “unfortunately, Guatemala is one the countries that least invests in education of the region, we all know that, our education is not up for what we, Guatemalan people deserve and we should invest more in education. A quality education with a methodology that reaches all youngsters and children.”

It is worth reminding that, coinciding with the general elections that took place last October in Guatemala and that have concluded with the election of Jimmy Morales as President of the country, a large pool of Jesuit educational institutions have presented EJEGUA, a proposal for educational priorities that the new President will have to take into account in order to guarantee a public educational system that lives up to the Guatemalan population.

Click here to watch the full video on the Walk on Guatemalan Radio Television (Spanish language).

Claiming 4% of investment in education in Dominican Republic

Claiming 4% of investment in education in Dominican Republic

  • Posted: Apr 22, 2016 -
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The Coalition for Education with Dignity (CED) was created in order to put pressure on the government measures taken with regard to education. Their aim was to get the Dominican Republic to raise public investment in education, since right now it does note even reaches a 2.3%, when the minimum of GDP stipulated in the Education Act is a 4%. This helped the creation of the 4% movement whose purpose was to get the Dominican government to increase public investment in education to a minimum of 4%.

The CED published a political stance document in which they describe themselves as a social movement that aims to defend public management so that they can give a twist to the design of public policies, particularly the education one, so that they respond to collective benefit and not individual interests; and make education a space to form free, critical and creative people, able to participate and create a participative, equal, united and democratic society. Thus the CED opens a new form of political organization and expands its scope to the claim of improved public policy.

The success of the 4% campaign has two pillars. First of all, it is a process of maturation for an organized civil society, where individuals are able to work together and bring different groups together to same claims. And second of all, the campaign generates consciousness and a national monitoring strategy through training and awareness campaigns.

Likewise, in existing consultations, education emerged as the center of the political and social agenda of the country, making it a priority that has the citizenship consensus. Therefore, the CED focused on claiming a greater investment in education and other groups were able to join the cause.


Under this campaign, the CED calls on the population into the streets wearing something yellow as a symbol. Demonstrations in front of the main government buildings were organized, and people carried yellow umbrellas to draw the attention of walkers and politicians. After that, those umbrellas became the command of claim. Images and videos of the manifestations spread in social networks causing widespread outrage in society and the 4% claim became one of the hottest public opinion matters in the country.

This massive demand by the population was effective thanks to a straightforward and easy to understand message. With it, they achieved to place the issue on the national debate for nearly two months. Moreover, big personalities of the country as journalists, actors and singers, as well as national and international jurists and NGOs among others, joined to this “yellow umbrellas Revolution”.

This helped the campaign reaching national dimensions, and 91% of the Dominican population joined with a common aim, achieving the 4% minimum. Civil society was organized with a given work structure, whereby people’s efforts were channeled to achieve effective challenges in every area of the country. Along with this, the CED continued its acts of vindication in 2012 until the new president managed to approve a budget line of 4% of the GDP for the same year pre-university education.