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India: Two official meetings to set the education agenda towards 2030

India: Two official meetings to set the education agenda towards 2030

  • Posted: Jan 15, 2016 -
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United Nations’ new sustainable development agenda entered into force the 1 of January. In it, 17 goals of vital importance for the future were laid out being one of the most crucial of them to achieve a quality education for all. Moreover, the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development has shown the great importance of education as it is a key element for this development.

Due to this importance, two conferences for education are taking place in India this week. The first one is titled ‘Education as a Driver for Sustainable Development Goals’ in the city of Ahmedabad and it has been organised by the Centre for Environment Education together with UNESCO, the UNEP and India’s government. Its main objective is to bring together global experience of the different actor in making education public policies and to emphasize on the importance of education when it comes to achieving the sustainable development objectives. At the same time, the conference allows its participants to share their expertise on education to understand that all communities need to put education forward in order to help achieve the sustainable development goals. The expected outcomes of this conference are: to be able to put into action what has been learned during the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development by creating education programs and to stress on the importance of the Global Action Program on ESD through workshops such as quality education and alleviation of poverty. The Plan of Action has been just released today.
The second conference is entitled “Comparative Perspectives on the Right to education for Minorities and Disadvantaged Groups” and it is taking place today and tomorrow (15-16th January). This conference aims to gather participants from different countries like South Africa, India and the UK to engage them and make them conscious of the challenges that the implementation of the right to education for minorities and disadvantaged groups have. There will be several panels from various national and international organisations such as the Law Commission of India with different and very important topics to discuss such as the Role of Public and Private Actors: Challenges Facing the Right to Education,  Gender Equality in Education: Moving Beyond Access to Primary Education, Measuring Quality and Enforcing a Right to Quality Education Balancing the Right to Freedom of Religion and Culture and the Right to Education The Role of Courts in Realizing the Right to Education.

Among the panel of experts that will speak during the workshops there will be participants of the Human Rights Law Network, the Indian NGO Pratham representative Shailendra Sharma, professors of the University of Oxford and Pakistan and different charipersons of the Ministries of Legal Resources and the National Comission of Minorities.

“No more walls: for the rights of the migrant people”

“No more walls: for the rights of the migrant people”

  • Posted: Dec 18, 2015 -
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In the International Migrants Day, various jesuit organizations who serve migrants in the borders and support a hospitality campaign have made public a Declaration in which they express the need of the public policy on migrations of the region of Latinamerica and the Caribbean commit with the Human Rights and the international protection principles.

“Day after day, in 2015 we have seen evidence of the global character of migrations and the multiple causes that force people to move. Recent interceptions of people coming from Syria in Central America and the border with Texas show, once more, the global reach that conflicts have and the social crysis of an interconnected world and the great resilience of human beings facing the horror of violence, war and poverty. If the Syrians run away from war reaching up to Latin America, the population of the Northern Triangle of Central America scape from violence of extorsion, forced recruitment and kidnapping and social exclusion. The population from Haiti leave a country where violence have increased since the earthquake in 2010 to reach not only Dominican Republic but also Ecuador, Brasil and Chile. In Colombia, dialogues between the government and FARC, raise hope for peace, however, it still remains a dynamic of forced displacement, outcome of the armed confrontation, and violence in the pacific Colombian coast displaces population up to Ecuador, Peru and Chile. An increasing number of Cubans start a long way by land towards the United States, starting from Ecuador or Venezuela and passing through Colombia and Central America. From África, Nigerians and Senegalese people start reaching the Southern Corne. However, the answer from the States is inadequate, since they are not responsible of the vulnerability of migrant people or forced displaced people. It is inverted a lot of money in putting obstacles the path of migrant people than in attending their circumstances, identifying cases that require special protection and enhancing social integration. The resilience of United States, Mexico, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panamá of giving refugee to centralamerican migrants neglects their fundamental rights.

The burocratic barriers and the lack of collaboration between Haiti and Dominican Republic have diminished the reach of the National Regularization Plan through which haitian migrants can for the first time have the opportunity to access to legal residence in Dominican Republic. In Costa Rica, coming out from migratory irregularity means paying a unavailable fine for most of the migrants from Nicaragua. The complexity and costs of the administrative processesm the arbitrary application of the laws and the prejudices raise legal, economic and social walls as hard as phisical walls. The borders remain being places where rights are arbitrarily vulnerated. The “South Border Plan” between Mexico and Guatema have harshened the policial controls forcing migrant people to look for alternative routes where they are easy criminal captures.

The closure of the border with Colombia, imposed by Venezuela since latest August, has been accompanied by massive deportations of Colombian people, in violation of the non-return principle of the Art. 33 of the Ginebra Convention.  Nicaragua has closed its border with Costa Rica unilaterally to block the transit of Cuban migrants towards the United States, increasing their vulnerability situation. The regulatory framework of Chile gives a great gap of discretionary decisions to the officers in the borders, which affects the possiblities of admission to the country of the afro-colombian population that remains “stranded” in the Peru territory. Among all these walls that neglect the dignity and rights of the migrant people, the Hospitality Campaign urges Governments to follow the examples of hospitality of the civil society, as shows the network of 60 shelters for migrants that are running in Mexico”

 

You can read the full Declaration in Spanish language here

Deaf students at the Startup Weekend in Quito, Ecuador

Deaf students at the Startup Weekend in Quito, Ecuador

  • Posted: Dec 16, 2015 -
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The second Startup Weekend took place in Quito from the 6th to the 8th November. It was an event in which three deaf students, teachers and mothers of the Special Education Unit from Fe y Alegria (UEEFA) of the city of Santo Domingo participated.

The event gathered about 70 people from a variety of professions, occupations and interests. Under this call, proposals had to be focused on “Improving Lives”, so participants had to share ideas, form teams, and build products and initiate projects around issues or social needs.

During the first day of the event, 3 girls from the UEEFA deaf students group presented their proposal to improve labor inclusion of deaf people through ICTs. After presenting around 30 proposals, all participants voted and chose the top 7 ideas to develop over the next few days. The proposal presented by the three girls went on to the second phase where the team joined the mothers and teachers for the construction of social entrepreneurship. Subsequently, and thanks to the help of mentoring specialists, they proceeded with the design, programming and validation of a business plan.

The last day of the meeting the presentations were showed to leaders of the local entrepreneurial framework, who made their comments and suggestions on the ideas presented.

The team argued its proposal entitled “A new opportunity”, which involved the creation of a virtual platform to facilitate the business sector with an access to professional profiles of people with disabilities so labor inclusion of this group of priority is stimulated.

This proposal was awarded an Honorable Mention for its successful approach, the strength, commitment and passion of the team, for proposing a non-existent service in the Ecuadorian market (which make it easier for disabled people to access a decent work and the business sector) and for its compliance with labor legislation in an easier way including expert advice.

From Fe y Alegria, we want to congratulate the team for their achievement and for proving there are no barriers to their dreams.

Original piece of news in Spanish language here.

2030 Agenda: From words to action, a new challenge has begun

2030 Agenda: From words to action, a new challenge has begun

  • Posted: Dec 10, 2015 -
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Interview with Camilla Croso, President of the Global Campaign for Education

At the UN Summit on Sustainable Development that took place from the 23 to the 25 of September 2015, the Transform our world: the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda document was formally adopted. In it, 17 objectives on sustainable development were fixed. These objectives cover different areas like social and environmental development, justice and peace, and a great commitment to human rights and gender equality. Education has been one of the main topics of the summit and this has been reflected in the 4 article of the document that seeks to “ensure an inclusive and equitable quality education and to promote lifelong learning opportunities for everyone”

Camila Croso, the president of the Global Campaign for Education (GCE) and the General Coordinator of the Latin American Campaign for the Right to Education, was selected to participate in the UN Summit as a spokeswoman of the civil society. Moreover, she participated in the panel for the Fight against inequalities, empower women and do no leave anybody behind. After the Summit, Camila shared the steps that need to be followed in the next 15 years in order to comply with the goals of the agenda and she also gave her opinion on the achievements and the challenges that had been drawn from this world meeting.

The resolutions adopted at the Summit need a strong collective commitment and the civil society has played a decisive role in the drafting of the United Nations agenda. According to the president of the GCE, this Summit has given the opportunity to social movements to get involved with the education challenges and it has also made possible for the people that work for education to get involved in the fight for other rights.

Furthermore, Camila stated that the biggest obstacle that prevents the agenda from being truly universal is the division between developing and developed countries. From this derives the problem of financing the projects to achieve the objectives.  Public policies depend from the private sector in order to finance the projects because of the sharp decline of the international cooperation. Regardless of the progress made in this UN meeting, the civil society has gotten into a new fight to implement the Summit agreements. It is of vital importance to achieve that what has been written in paper is really implemented successfully.

The United Nations Assembly approved an education objective with 7 goals and 3 means of enforcement. After the meeting in New York, several meetings took place in order to elaborate an action framework to implement the agreed measures. Such framework was approved last 4 of November in Paris. The coordinator of the CLADE pointed out that, in the Summit, they achieved to establish 12 years of free education and another year of pre-school but that the big challenge of the civil society was to include free education in the global objectives and its indicators.

Camilla Crosso described her experience as a great responsibility as she was in charge of transmitting what was said in the debates and the fight for education of the civil society, but she also stated that it was very satisfactory and that the dialogue within the education field clearly showed the reflection of a collective work.

Collaborating with the academia: GIANs and the University

Collaborating with the academia: GIANs and the University

  • Posted: Dec 04, 2015 -
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As a finishing touch to the “Networking for Justice” meeting that took place in Loyola from the 16 to the 20 of November and in which 60 people from different continents, Jesuits and laypeople and people from various sectors of the Society of Jesus, including the four Global Igantian Advocacy Networks that work in migrations, the right to a quality education for all, ecology and governance of natural and mineral resources participated, the last ones participated as well in a Round table at the Comillas University in Madrid, Spain, last Monday the 23 of November.

The Round table was entitled “Global challenges, networking responses” and was chaired by the Rector of the University, Julio L. Martínez and Marta Muñiz, Head of ICADE Business School.  Some leaders of the GIAN networks intervened in the colloquium: Benny Juliawan, leader of the Migrations network, Lucía Rodríguez and Augustin Kalubi, leader and member of the network for the right to education respectively, Julie Edwars, leader of the network for the governance of natural and mineral resources and Daniel Villanueva, the director of the Spanish NGO Entreculturas.  

The meeting was an opportunity to share some lessons learned from the networking that has been carried out at a global level by the Society of Jesus since 2008, in areas such as ecology, migrations, natural resources or education.

Lucía Rodríguez started off by stressing the need of this new way of organization to deal with the repercussions of globalisation for the most vulnerable. She also highlighted the strengths of the Society of Jesus when it comes to networking as it has been an international apostolic body since its creation. She also explained how this new working procedure demands a new organisational culture in which it is essential to constantly search for synergies and resources, dialogue, a shared leadership and high motivation, generosity and dedication.

The speakers shared concrete networking experiences: in the Migrations network, they presented a vision of a possible legislative strategy that would have to take into account the diversity of migratory flows in the world, the awareness campaign of the Governance of Natural Resources network with Alboan about the extractive industry and the use of minerals in electronic devices, or the monitoring and participation of the network for the Right to Education in the international education agenda towards 2030.
The Round table finished with the words of Daniel Villanueva in the hopes that the meeting would open channels of collaboration with the academy and with the motivation that the ground covered by the networks up until now together with the internal cultural change that the Society is experiencing will be useful to work together and horizontally for global justice and the most vulnerable people in the world.  

“Global challenges, networking answers” the Right to Education GIAN in #Networking4Justice

“Global challenges, networking answers” the Right to Education GIAN in #Networking4Justice

  • Posted: Nov 20, 2015 -
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The Global Ignatian Advocacy Network (GIAN) for the right to education participates in the meeting Networking For Justice that is taking place in Loyola at this time. In this international event organized by the Secretariat of Social Justice and Ecology, the 4 Global Ignatian Advocacy Networks participate: Ecology, Governance of Natural and Mineral Resources, Migrations and the Right to education, which is coordinated by the international federation of Fe y Alegría under mandate of the CPAL, as well as the Xavier Network and the coordinators of the Social Sector of the different conferences at a global level.

On this first day of the meeting, a preliminary assessment of the networks since their creation in 2008 has been carried out; presenting the strengths and the huge challenges they face in a world full of global challenges that ask for global responses. The underlying question is if networking is the most appropriate tool for this global response and the fight for justice.

Lucía Rodríguez, coordinator of the GIAN for the right to education, has shared the advances of the last few years. These achievements include  the participation in spaces for dialogue together with other networks  in the definition and the achievement of a quality education as an objective of the Sustainable Development Agenda 2015-2030 approved in New York last September, the launching of www.edujesuit.org as a communication and participation tool of the GIAN for the right to education or the collaboration with other networks like the GIAN for ecology, Jesuit Networking or Educate Magis of the Secretariat of Education.

The challenges the networks face are huge and they coincide in many cases. One of the words that has been heard the most is conversion, to transform reality it is necessary to carry out an internal conversion, make these global challenges our own in the way we act and live daily as organizations but also as Jesuits or collaborators in the works of the Society of Jesus.

For that, education plays a leading role and as a challenge to achieve global justice for the GIAN for the right to education, they want to achieve that the people involved in education institutions of the Society feel that the right to a quality education is not to provide the service to the students but to the whole population of a country, influencing the national and international education laws so that human rights become effective.

From the visit to the holy house of San Ignacio, where we started this morning, it resonates with force how San Ignacio wrote the Spiritual Exercises because he did not want to keep the experience to himself as he wanted it to be useful for others, sharing his gift and capacities with others so they could grow and carry out the biggest service for the Kingdom of God, that we translate to social justice for a better world.
The Global Advocacy Networks (GIAN) and how they can help to face the global challenges in today’s world will be reflected on next week in a round table that is organized by the ICADE Business School and the spanish NGO Entreculturas in Madrid, Monday the 23 of November. In this conference will participate the coordinator of the GIAN for the right to education, Lucía Rodríguez and of the members of the core group for Central Africa, Augustin Kalubi sj, as well as Benny Juliawan, sj.  From the GIAN for Migrations and Coordinator of the Social Sector of the provincial Conference of Asia Pacific Julie Edwars from the Network for governance of natural resources.

The new commitment era for the States: The UNESCO Framework for Action on Education 2030 has been adopted

The new commitment era for the States: The UNESCO Framework for Action on Education 2030 has been adopted

  • Posted: Nov 18, 2015 -
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Ministers and leading representatives of the education community convened at UNESCO headquarters  to formally adopt the Framework for Action on Education 2030 has been adopted in the 38th UNESCO General Conference celebrated in Paris on 4th November. This document develops the principles and strategies for the implementation of education’s Objective number 4 of the new sustainable development agenda. The States committed to “ensure an inclusive, equitable and quality education and to promote learning opportunities throughout life for everyone”. Therefore, the Framework is a strategic document that will guide the States action during the next 15 years. The session counted with the participation of organizations and societies like: the Global Campaign for Education, Education International and the International Association of Universities.

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The Global Campaign for Education, who directly contributed to the drafting of the document, welcomes its content: “With the adoption of the Framework for Action on Education a true universal agenda has started. Its amplitude reflects the sustained effort of the civil society. We are happy with the centrality of inclusive education and a free primary and secondary education, as well as the wider quality perspective that has been finally adopted”.

The president of the GCE said in her speech that she values that the document recognizes that the organizations formed by the civil society are crucial in the processes of defining public policies. Moreover, she argued that the participation of the civil society in those contexts is not possible in some countries as social movements, including those of teachers, are criminalized. At the beginning of the High Level Meeting, the French Minister of Education defended gender equality in every country and highlighted that inequality is contemptible. “We have the responsibility to act and ensure that the origin of the students does not determine their education perspectives and future opportunities”

Other important elements that were mentioned in the States interventions were: education for peace and human rights, multiculturalism, the need to prioritize the education of  young people and adults, the appraisal of teachers and the importance of the Education Objective 4 for the fulfillment of the rest of the objectives in the Agenda. The UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education closed the Meeting calling for a strengthening of the public education systems.

Regarding social participation, the Steering Committee for Education 2030, that will follow the implementation of the Framework for Action, will still count with two seats for civil society organizations and one for teachers. Moreover, the collective consultation of NGOs will remain and will be institutionalized in the structure of the follow-up of the new global education agenda. 

You can view the full text of the Education 2030 Framework for Action here and the GCE President Camilla Croso’s speech at the UNESCO Special High Level Meeting here.

Pope Francis stands for education in the margins: refugee children and youth

Pope Francis stands for education in the margins: refugee children and youth

  • Posted: Nov 13, 2015 -
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On Saturday, 14 November at 12pm, 15 refugees, as well as staff and friends of the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS), will attend a private audience with Pope Francis. The Pope will speak about the importance of education for refugee children and youth as a means to build peace and foster the development of more resilient and cohesive societies. The event will commemorate the 35th anniversary of JRS, founded by the former Superior General of the Society of Jesus, Pedro Arrupe SJ.

Pope Francis has long urged Catholics to welcome refugees, saying the world is currently suffering from a “globalisation of indifference,” ignoring those who cry out for mercy. On Saturday, as a precursor to the Holy Year of Mercy to launch on 8 December, the Pope will formally recognise and pledge support for the JRS Global Education Initiative, an initiative aimed to extend JRS’ educational programmes to 100,000 additional refugees by the year 2020.

Refugees face a variety of barriers trying to access education, from overcrowding in schools to xenophobia in host communities. Their fundamental right to education is often lost. Among refugee children, only 36% globally go to secondary school and less than 1% have the opportunity to pursue a higher education.

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Children in Bangui, Central African Republic continue to learn despite the conflict around them. Access to education can keep children safe and protected from risks, including gender-based violence, recruitment into armed groups, child labor and early marriage. (Laura Sheahen)

 

For 35 years, JRS has provided quality education as a tool for people to better fulfill their own potential and fully contribute to the growth, strength and stability of their communities. Schools allow those who have been forced to flee their homes to rebuild a shared space, a community, a sense of normality. Pope Francis has historically called the public to protect refugees and care for the most vulnerable. Access to education can keep children safe and protected from risks, including gender-based violence, recruitment into armed groups, child labor and early marriage.

The Jesuit Refugee Service programmes are found in 45 countries, providing assistance to: refugees in camps and cities, individuals displaced within their own countries, asylum seekers in cities, and to those held in detention centres. The main areas of work are in the field of education, emergency assistance, healthcare, livelihood activities and social services.

At the end of 2014, JRS employed approximately 1,400 staff: lay, Jesuits and other religious to meet the education, health, social and other needs of nearly 760,000 refugees and IDPs, more than half of whom are women. Services are provided to refugees regardless of race, ethnic origin or religious beliefs.

Jesuit Refugee Service

November 17th: Society of Jesus international meeting for justice

November 17th: Society of Jesus international meeting for justice

  • Posted: Nov 12, 2015 -
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The Society of Jesus, especially through the Social Justice and Ecology Secretariat (SJES), strives to respond to the call of General Congregation 35 (2008) to “establish advocacy links of mutual support between those who hold political power and those who find it difficult to voice their interests… setting up these bridges, offering us new ways of understanding in depth the mechanism” and the Global Ignatian Advocacy Networks (GIAN) are challenged to respond.

Drawing on the experiences of the four GIANs – migration, governance of natural and mineral resources, ecology, and right to education – the SJES is convening an international meeting entitled Networking for Justice from 16 to 20 November 2015 in Loyola, Spain that will bring together the GIAN core groups and other international networks of the Society such as representatives from Xavier Network  with its Jesuit Missions and other development NGOs, International Federation of Fe y Alegría, and the Social Justice Delegates of all Apostolic Conferences of the Society of Jesus.

This international gathering intends to evaluate to what extent networking in the Society of Jesus has favored the fulfillment of its mission in the struggle for justice. It also aims to identify and communicate the main lessons learned and to propose concrete measures to further enhance this way of working. The meeting is part of a major commitment to promote global networking as a means to promote social justice.

Through this meeting, it is hoped that the reach of the Networking for Justice meeting is broadened and strengthened and serve as a space to share key messages, resources, and outcomes. This is why communication is essential and we should be able to explore ways to help move and communicate the evolution of the Society of Jesus in recent years through networking.

Based on words of the Society’s 35th General Congregation (GC), which recognize that the Society of Jesus should work as a Universal Body with the same mission, the new technologies can become “powerful instruments for building and supporting international networks.” We aim to share and empower the capacities of everyone to consolidate our efforts, fully exploiting all channels that technology can offer. This allows us to deal with challenges that are global in sharing a vision. On the one hand, it allows us to focus on matters concerning internationalization yet keeping a local perspective and, on the other hand, it allows us to develop collaborative skills that must overcome cultural barriers.

This Loyola meeting offers GIAN an excellent opportunity to do a pitstop in its journey and analyze the achievements and the obvious limitations of our work. The years have made us less naïve about the possibilities of networking, but also more realistic about the transformative capacity and the ability to establish links that can achieve a well-coordinated work with defined goals and necessary resources.

Networks are not magic solutions. They need efforts, new skills and abilities, and they are certainly the most effective way to internationally recognize our local efforts. Networks allow us to continue doing our work in a renewed way and share it with those who are physically far away but with whom we share a mission. The assessments we make in Loyola will have to help us define the activities in the coming years. Therefore, this is an important opportunity.

GC35 also reflects the curricular emphasis on the social impact of technology, recommending that new communication technologies are put at the service of education and of those at the margins. That is why the meeting in Loyola seeks to widely communicate the discussions, provided by the communication managers of the organizations participating at the event. We look forward to the support of social media, a great ally in such times and other communication channels such as Ecojesuit.

Therefore, communication is an important aspect of our meeting. Participants involved in these networks will have to be prepared for short interviews. It is very important to add extra resources to connect networks. We must promote a flow of real communication, not to reduce it to an e-mail chain in English, representing the “dominant” culture that could disregard intrinsic cultural aspects of local communities. Again social networks have a key role to play. Basically it is about recognizing the importance of local commitment, their cultures and traditions, and how this wealth can be connected with technologies to promote greater equity.

For regular updates on the Loyola meeting, the Networking for Justice website  was recently launched and there will also be online dispatches of information before, during, and after the meeting. For those interested in the Jesuit global networking taking place, there is the option to subscribe to the newsletter subscription for timely updates. Networking for Justice can also be accessed through Facebook  and Twitter.

Original post from ecojesuit

Jesuit educational institutions demand State responsability for Guatemalan students

Jesuit educational institutions demand State responsability for Guatemalan students

Coinciding with the general elections that took place last weekend 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.  

This advocacy initiative is mainly driven by the Rafael Landívar University -URL-, the Loyola school, the Javier Lyceum, the Educational foundation Fe y Alegría, the Guatemalan Institute of radiophonic education -IGER- and the labour educational Project Puente Belice. Currently, these institutions offer training at all educational levels for more than 100.000 boys, girls, young people and adults distributed all over the country. From high school to university level, and in different modalities of formal education, formal and non-formal extracurricular education and technical professional training. Thus, they believe that the current circumstances that the country is going through represent an opportunity to become an inter-institutional group that contributes to the analysis and the proposal to improve the educational situation in Guatemala, as nowadays it presents serious problems that especially affect vulnerable groups.

This document proposes the reduction of the educational desertion and the extensive coverage, “strengthening the general scholarship programs and the scholarships for the accelerated formal education or second chance education for young poor people that abandoned the educational system, can open a window of opportunity for them.” They alert about the high percentage of young people that don’t study nor work (25,1% or around 800.000 youngsters according to the INE) and propose the strengthening  of the comprehensive technical training and the generator of decent employment opportunities by the State. Moreover, they propose the improvement of the educational quality from the learning methods and subjects, including fundamental competences for life using learning contexts that encourage their development as active citizens that are engaged with the social and environmental surroundings in which they live. They also highlight the importance of endowing the educational system of quality, with well trained and well-paid educators and from the relevant and adapted education centres.

While other countries already exceeded the 6%, Guatemala only destined the 3.2% of their GDP for education in 2015, therefore, in the document they urge to increase social investment improving the fundraising and reducing corruption, to create alliances with other state and autonomous institutions that could support education. Lastly and as a revindication against the short termism of the public policies, they think that the educational priorities and the budget allocation for this policy can’t suffer any electioneering alterations and should be established as a priority for the State of Guatemala.  

News item extracted from complete article here (in Spanish)