February 22, 2019

Five things you need to know this week about global education

Education Cannot Wait is launching programmes to help children in the central African Republic and Afghanistan

Photo credit: ECW

Our roundup includes a movie star's video tribute to 10 of the world's best teachers, a plea not to abandon refugee children and a school meals crisis.

'Teachers are superheroes' says film star Hugh Jackman

The 10 finalists for the Global Teacher Prize 2019 - which comes with a $1 million prize - were announced yesterday by movie star Hugh Jackman.

In a video message, the X-Men and Greatest Showman star paid a powerful tribute to the work of teachers around the world. 

He said: “When I was a kid there were lots of superheroes that I wanted to be.  But I can tell you right now, from where I stand, with all my experience, the real superheroes are teachers – they’re the ones that change the world."

Jackman reveals the finalists in the video below. The winner of the prize, run by the Varkey Foundation, will be announced on March 24.

Gordon Brown: don't leave refugee children without hope

Conflict is one of the biggest barriers to education

Photo credit: ECW

New funding is needed urgently to prevent millions of children and youth being left without education and hope because of escalating crises, Gordon Brown has warned.

The United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education said: "A lost generation is not only identified by empty classrooms, silent playgrounds and short, unmarked graves. A lost generation is one where hope dies in those who live."

Brown spoke at the UN about the plight of young refugees as he appealed for new funding for education in emergencies. He said two new programmes will be announced this month to help children who are out of school because of conflicts and disasters.

Both will be launched by Education Cannot Wait (ECW) - the fund to deliver education during humanitarian emergencies that was established after campaigning by Theirworld and our Global Youth Ambassadors.

Read the full story.

Gunmen kidnap 170 children from Cameroon school

176 people, mostly students, were kidnapped by gunmen at Saint Augustin's College in Kumbo

170 students and several staff who were kidnapped from a school in Cameroon were freed the following day.

Gunmen abducted the students from Saint Augustin's College, a Catholic boarding school in Kumbo. It is the largest school kidnapping in the country's English-speaking regions since separatist unrest began in 2017. 

In November, almost 80 children were seized from a school in Bamenda, along with the principal and a teacher. All were later freed.

Their News recently looked at the issue of attacks and kidnappings at schools in Cameroon. Joannes Paulus Yimbesalu, a Global Youth Ambassador for Theirworld who is originally from the North-West region, told us: "The circumstances behind some of the recent kidnappings remain unclear but many suspect they are in exchange for a ransom. This is not about hatred of education.

"They are using education to force change, to challenge the government. They have hijacked the education system to be heard and stay relevant."

Children dropping out of school in meals crisis

A lack of funding is depriving 120,000 children of a daily primary school meal - and education - in Madagascar.

The World Food Programme says that is aggravating already low enrolment and high dropout rates.

40% of the 300,000 primary school children in Anosy, Androy and Atsimo Andrefana regions who should receive a daily hot meal from WFP have gone without since November.

For many children, the meal of cereal, pulses and vegetable oil fortified with micronutrient powders is their only one. So it is a powerful incentive for parents to send their children to school instead of out to work.

“It’s beyond tragic that our already limited coverage has been further curtailed, depriving some of the country’s most vulnerable children of essential help – even the prospect of a decent future”, said Moumini Ouedraogo, WFP’s Representative in Madagascar. “It costs only $50 to feed a child for a year."

Thousands of schools in Pakistan have no water or toilets

One of the major reasons for high dropout rate among girls is unavailability of toilets in schools

Children at almost 10,000 government-run schools in one province of Pakistan have no toilet facilities - and over 9,000 schools don't have drinking water.

Balochistan has just under 900,000 children attending more than 13,000 primary, middle and high schools. But over one million children are still out of school.

The figures are in education department documents obtained by DawnNewsTV

They also show that over 7,900 schools in the province do not have boundary walls, while there are 5,296 "one room, one teacher" schools.

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