January 25, 2019

Five things you need to know this week about global education

The extent of school bullying, deliveries by drone and learning centres for Rohingya children are in our weekly roundup.

1. Global partners to help improve quality of education

Students in primary seven at Zanaki Primary School in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, during an English language class

Photo credit: World Bank

When countries are working to improve their education systems, they need ways to track their progress. A new global partnership announced this week will develop tools that governments can use to make decisions to ensure that all children are learning.

The World Bank, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the UK’s Department for International Development announced their partnership at the Education World Forum in London. A Global Education Policy Dashboard will soon be tested in 13 countries and then expanded.

Penny Mordaunt, the UK’s International Development Secretary, said: “Our innovative partnership will help governments analyse evidence to show why children aren’t developing these essential skills and recognise what interventions they can put in place to improve their education systems and invest in their most important assets – their own people.”

The World Bank is also launching Successful Teachers, Successful Students - a global platform to ensure teachers are equipped with the right skills and knowledge before entering the classroom and are supported throughout their careers.

2. Extent of school bullying is revealed

One in three children have been bullied at school in the past month, a United Nations report has revealed.

Physical bullying is the biggest problem in most regions - but in North America and Europe psychological bullying is the most common, followed by sexually-related bullying.

The findings are revealed in the UNESCO report Behind the Numbers, which looked at 144 countries and territories. It said bullying must be addressed because it significantly affects children’s mental health, quality of life and academic achievement.

Schools should be safe places where children can learn free from conflict, violence and fear. But Theirworld's recent report Safe Schools: The Hidden Crisis projected that 620 million girls and boys – nearly 40% of all school-age children worldwide - will live in countries where their education is at risk from environmental threats, war or violence by 2030.

3. School books delivered by drone

Children at a remote primary school in Indonesia needed books and backpacks. That's not always easy in a country made up of 17,000 islands. So they had their supplies delivered by drone. Learn more in this video...

4. Huge effort to help Rohingya children learn

More than 145,000 Rohingya refugee children living in camps in Bangladesh are now attending UNICEF-supported learning centres.

The UN agency said a huge effort from the humanitarian community had resulted in 1,600 centres being built for children whose families fled from violence in Myanmar.

The aim is to eventually reach 260,000 children with education this year through an extended network of 2,500 learning centres run by 5,000 teachers and Rohingya volunteers. 

Edouard Beigbeder, UNICEF Representative to Bangladesh, said only immediate needs had been met until now and not every child could be reached.

But he added: “This year we are scaling up services to reach more children than ever before while focusing on improving the quality of education each child receives.”

5. Cuts mean Palestinian school won't be built

A school for Palestinian children will be left unfinished because aid from the United States is ending on February 1.

The $1.4 million school facility in the Bethlehem area will be abandoned, according to a report by the US-based National Public Radio.

Anera, the US-funded aid group carrying out the school project, recently received notification from the American government that it may have to tear down the school, said its head Sean Carroll.

President Trump last year slashed US aid to the United Nations agency that delivers education to 726,000 Palestinian children in Gaza, the West Bank, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. UNRWA had warned that could mean shutting the schools - but other donors stepped up to provide funding.

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