January 18, 2019

Five things you need to know this week: education and early learning news

Clockwise, from top left, a bombed school in Yemen, children in the Philippines, girls in Kenya and students in Guinea

Our news roundup includes children back at school in Guinea and Yemen, making schools safer in disaster-prone Philippines - and a star of TV's Stranger Things.

1. Millions return to school in Guinea

Millions of children in Guinea went back to school this week after three months of strike action by teachers.

Staff walked out at the start of October after their union accused the government of reneging on promises of a pay rise. But a deal should guarantee teachers a 40% increase and allow negotiations to begin over a base salary.

About one million children - one in four - are out of school in the West African country.

2. Making schools safer in disaster-prone Philippines

The Department of Education (DepEd) formally forged a partnership with Save the Children Philippines and Prudence Foundation for the Education Safe from Disasters Programme

Photo credit: Philippines Department of Education

A three-year programme has been launched to make schools safer in the Philippines. Every year the country is hit by natural disasters caused by typhoons, earthquakes, floods, volcanic eruptions and landslides - as well as armed conflict in some areas.

The country's education department has promised to help children learn in safety and reduce the risk of death, injury and trauma during emergencies.

The project, which will be piloted in schools in metro Manila, will ensure students, teachers and education officials are better prepared for risks and disasters. School buildings will also be retrofitted to make them safer.

Education Safe from Disasters was launched in partnership with the Prudence Foundation and Save the Children Philippines, whose CEO Albert Muyot said: “Children face the harshest impact of disasters and emergencies, as they miss out on school, suffer injury and deaths.”

Theirworld’s report Safe Schools: The Hidden Crisis has revealed the growing threats to the safety of children and teachers from conflicts, natural disasters and other forms of violence.

3. Girl's rescue shows communities can help end child marriage in Kenya

Campaigners said the rescue of a 12-year-old Kenyan girl forced to marry a man almost three times her age shows community policing is key to ending child marriage.

The girl was saved by police and charity workers from a remote village near Kenya's southwestern border with Tanzania following a tip-off through a neighbourhood watch initiative.

Local leader John Paa told the Thomson Reuters Foundation: “I am glad that the community policing is working. We have been teaching our members and urging them to immediately report female genital mutilation, early marriage, security and parents who deny their children a chance to go to school."

Almost one in four girls in Kenya are married before they reach the legal age of 18, says the United Nations.

4. Teachers paid again at bombed-out school in Yemen

Air strikes have destroyed many schools in Yemen

Photo credit: UNICEF / Madhok

Its books have been looted and walls blown out - but a school in war-torn southern Yemen is hopeful that regular pay at last for its teachers can keep them and their students in classrooms.

"In the past few months things have stabilised, teachers' salaries have begun to be paid and hopefully things will continue this way," Hoda Naged Useid, the head of the Arwa school in Taiz told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Whole sections of Arwa school are unusable and all books, equipment and chairs have been stolen. Until September, the children were using a nearby mosque to study in.

"We were determined to return to our school and we began clearing the rubble," said Useid, hopeful that more pupils would join the 700 already there.

The conflict has put two million children out of school and left over 2,500 schools damaged or destroyed.

5. Stranger Things star Millie sees how vulnerable children learn

Millie Bobby Brown, right, sees early childhood development kits at the centre in Copenhagen

Photo credit: UNICEF / Tachman

Millie Bobby Brown - star of hit TV show Stranger Things - has discovered how some of the world’s most vulnerable children are being helped to learn. The UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador visited the organisation’s global supply headquarters in Copenhagen, Denmark - the world’s largest humanitarian warehouse.

The British actor helped to assemble early childhood development kits, which offer children living in conflict and disaster areas access to play and learning.

Each kit is designed to help caregivers create a safe learning environment for up to 50 children who have experienced trauma and stress. It includes art supplies, puzzles and games, and board books and puppets for storytelling.

Millie Bobby said: “You can’t help but think about their circumstances and what more we can all do to lend a hand.”

We are a global children's charity committed to ending the global education crisis and unleashing the potential of the next generation.

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