August 09, 2019

Five things you need to know this week about global education

Children who are displaced from their homes and whose education is disrupted by conflict will be helped by a "Learning Passport"

Photo credit: Dubai Cares

Our roundup includes great news for Palestinian students, a "Learning Passport" to help displaced children and a boost for Venezuelan migrant kids.

Palestinian schools to stay open thanks to donor support

Support from donors and partners means that more than half a million Palestinian children will be able to go back to school for the new academic year.

The future of over 700 schools run by the United Nations agency UNRWA has been under threat since the United States withdrew its substantial funding last year.

But 530,000 students in the West Bank, Gaza, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria will going to classes in September after international donors stepped up again to fill the funding gap.

“We are extremely grateful to our donors whose dedication to preserving the right to education has allowed us to announce today that all UNRWA schools in our five fields of operations will open,” said UNRWA Commissioner-General PierreKrähenbühl. 

"Many families will find deep reassurance knowing that their children will be in classrooms come September. The courage displayed every single day by our students in the pursuit of their education despite the challenges of having to cross check-points, live in areas of conflict or under occupation is an inspiration to us all.

"Access to education is a fundamental right and a pillar of our agency’s mandate. Quality education is at the heart of human development and the numerous achievers around the world who had attended UNRWA schools can tell thousands of stories about their years in UNRWA schools. We are extremely proud of them all.”

UNRWA has been providing education to Palestine refugee children since 1950 and 2.5 million students have graduated from its schools.

Learning Passport for children on the move is backed

Dubai Cares will support children whose education has been disrupted by crises

Photo credit: Dubai Cares

A project aimed at providing quality education for children caught up in humanitarian crises is to be supported by Dubai Cares.

The UAE-based philanthropic organisation announced $300,000 backing for a two-year research and design phase of the project. It explores the development of a curriculum framework referred to as a "Learning Passport" that would be recognised internationally to help children on the move.

The Dubai Cares grant is part of a $5 million commitment made last year towards UNICEF’s Generation Unlimited, a new global partnership to work with and for young people.

Dubai Cares programme director Annina Mattsson said: “Emergencies are affecting more and more people around the world, due to wars, natural disasters as well as political and social unrest. Children are always the most impacted, with their education being interrupted and delayed at best, or even ceased at worst.”

Schools shut down in troubled Kashmir region

The Indian government has closed schools and barricaded roads in the Kashmir Valley

Photo credit: UNICEF / Vishwanathan

Some schools in Indian-administered Kashmir have reopened today after all schools were closed indefinitely following a security crackdown.

The Indian government flooded the region with 10,000 extra soldiers, banned public gatherings and cut off telephone and internet services after stripping the state of Jammu and Kashmir of its special status.

"All schools, colleges and academic institutions, both private and government, are advised to remain closed as a measure of caution," Deputy Commissioner of Jammu Sushma Chauhan said on Sunday night.

Both India and Pakistan claim the Himalayan region of Kashmir belongs to them. Each control different parts of it and there is an agreed ceasefire line.

Last week India revoked a part of its constitution that allows the Indian-controlled state of Jammu and Kashmir to largely run its own own affairs.

Education boost for Venezuelan migrant children born in Colombia

Boys and girls cross the border from Venezuela to head to the buses that will take them to school in Colombia

Photo credit: UN Photo

Colombia will give citizenship to more than 24,000 children born to Venezuelan migrants - to prevent them from being stateless and less able to access education and healthcare.

The measure, which will cover all Venezuelan children born in Colombia since August 2015, will be in force for two years, said President Ivan Duque.

"Today we are supporting children, we are supporting these helpless little ones who want to have a right to citizenship and we're proudly saying that they are Colombians," he added.

Stateless people often have trouble travelling and struggle to access public services like education which require identity documents.

Of the hundreds of thousands of Venezuelan children who fled from the long-running political and economic crisis over the border into Colombia, about half are not in school.

Schools still under attack in Ukraine conflict

A boy stands among the rubble of a damaged school in Ukraine

Photo credit: UNICEF / Morris

The conflict in Ukraine continues to affect the education of thousands of children. So far this year, schools have been damaged by 23 conflict-related incidents. There were also five cases of military presence close to schools and nine incidents resulting in threat of death or injuries to students, teachers and parents.

In Donetska last month, a school was damaged, a kindergarten had windows shattered by shrapnel and the land next to a third school was left heavily cratered by shelling.

Since the conflict began in 2014, more than 750 schools have been damaged and many more disrupted, according to the Ukraine Education Cluster in its August report.

It is estimated that over 700,000 children and teachers in more than 3,500 schools in eastern Ukraine are affected by the hostilities and in need of humanitarian assistance.

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