Five things you need to know this week about global education

Girl At School In Niger
A seven-year-old girl attends school in Niamey, the capital of Niger. A global education summit in 2022 will explore how to get crucial education funding to millions of children (UNICEF / Frank Dejongh)

Girls' education, International Finance Facility for Education, Theirworld

Theirworld welcomes UN chief Antonio Guterres' plan for a global education summit next year - and we endorse a call to protect education in Afghanistan.

Theirworld urges action to protect Afghan education

A global outcry followed the news that the Taliban has excluded girls from secondary schools in Afghanistan. The education ministry said only boys and male teachers were to report back for classes this week.

Theirworld was among more than 50 civil society organisations to endorse a call to action supporting the education of Afghanistan’s children and young people.

A statement said: “Protecting the right to education of Afghanistan’s population will require a significant increase in coordinated international support. Supportive of the effort by Italy, acting as G20 president, to develop a common international strategy in response to the crisis in Afghanistan, we urge G20 member states to ensure the strategy includes a plan for education and lifelong learning for all.”

Most schools in Kabul have stayed shut since the Taliban captured the capital last month. But boys’ secondaries reopened on Saturday, while some Afghan girls went back to gender-segregated primary classes. 

Taliban officials have promised girls will be able to study – but only in segregated classrooms when a “secure transportation system” had been set up for students in grades six to 12.

A UNESCO report published earlier this month showed Afghanistan has made significant gains in education over the past 20 years particularly for girls and women. The number of girls in primary school increased from virtually none in 2001 to 2.5 million in 2018. The percentage of female teachers increased from 27% in 2007 to 36% in 2018.

Global summit to tackle education funding

News Roundup September 24 Global Summit

Half of the world’s students are still affected by school closures due to the Covid-19 pandemic (UN Photo / Rick Bajornas)

Theirworld has welcomed a call from United Nations Secretary-General Antoñio Guterres for a global summit in 2022 to “forge a common vision for education”.

His report Our Common Ground, released during the UN General Assembly, said the Summit on Transforming Education will build on the work of the Education Commission and explore how to get the crucial International Finance Facility for Education (IFFEd) fully operational.

Theirworld has championed IFFEd – a groundbreaking way to fill a current funding gap and finance education for millions of children around the world.

In his report, Guterres said: “Our priority should be to help children and young people to catch up on learning lost during the pandemic while transforming education systems so that students reach their full potential. I will champion lifelong learning for all.”

Ubongo celebrates another success

Ubongo, a Tanzania-based social enterprise which creates and distributes digital learning content, is celebrating its second awards honour in a month.

After being chosen as one of 11 finalists for the Theirworld Education Innovation Awards 2021, Ubongo has been taking part in our introductory classes to help develop plans to scale up its programmes.

Now it has been recognised by the MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) Virtual Solve Challenge. Ubongo is one of seven entries selected as Solver Teams in the Equitable Classrooms category.

Ubongo produces affordable, localised learning for African families using “edutainment” programmes on TV, radio and digital platforms. You can learn more about its work in the video above.

Gordon Brown to champion vaccines for all

News Roundup September 24 Gordon Brown

Gordon Brown has been appointed as the World Health Organisation’s Ambassador for Global Health Financing

Gordon Brown, the UN Special Envoy for Global Education, has been appointed as the World Health Organisation’s Ambassador for Global Health Financing.

The former British Prime Minister has been campaigning for wealthy nations and the private sector to ensure a fair distribution of Covid-19 vaccines to save lives, end the pandemic and restore education and livelihoods across the world.

The WHO and UNICEF have called for all school staff to be included in Covid-19 vaccination plans and for children aged 12 and above who suffer from underlying health conditions to be immunised amid rising Delta variant numbers.

Brown said: “Our immediate task is to work together to finance the vaccination of the whole world and protect the poorest countries from the terrible effects of Covid-19 and other diseases.”

Education aid for earthquake children

News Roundup September 24 Haiti

Children benefit from psychosocial and educational activities at a center supported by UNICEF and IDEJEN in the aftermath of 14 August Earthquake (UNICEF / Ergen)

Education Cannot Wait – the global fund for education in emergencies – has announced a $1.5 million first emergency response grant in Haiti after last month’s devastating earthquake.

The funding will reach 18,000 children impacted by the 7.2 magnitude earthquake, which killed more than 2,000 people and caused havoc to the education system just weeks before schools are due to reopen.

Initial assessments revealed more than 300 school buildings were destroyed or severely damaged, affecting about 100,000 children and teachers.

The ECW-supported 12-month grant will help to provide safe learning spaces, school meals, mental health support and non-formal education for marginalised adolescents.

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