Fighting Poverty and Hunger for Quality Education

salam low resBy Salam Al-Nukta, youth advisor to the GEM Report

The youth population is continuously increasing, and is estimated to reach 1.8 billion this year. Obviously, it is a large population of mass power. Yet, as we say goodbye to another year’s International Youth Day, as the new Youth Advisor for the Global Education Monitoring (GEM) Report, I think it crucial to point out that a vast portion of youth energy remains confined by physical and mental chains in countries affected by war and conflict. This must be addressed.

In my home, Syria, young people face many challenges. My country is the home of 4 million young people, of whom none have managed to survive war’s impact. A 6-year war has produced 4 million young people left behind with a low quality education, more hunger, increasing numbers of poor and displaced people… and so the list goes on.

Most youngsters saw quickly that the key for a sustainable and safer future was to flee Syria to a developed country. Others were less fortunate, restrained by the high costs of leaving and other social and economical barriers. Continue reading

Posted in Arab States, Conflict, Learning, Nutrition, Out-of-school children, Post-2015 development framework, refugees, Refugees and displaced people, school violence, sdg, sdgs, syria, Uncategorized, Youth | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Promoting indigenous knowledge within the Sustainable Development Agenda

9th blogBy Giorgia Magni, Education Research Consultant, and author of a background paper for the 2016 GEM Report

The preparation for the future begins with the lessons of the past”. These are the words of Tuimoce Fuluna Tikoidelaimakotu, a young member of the Korova settlement in Fiji. The “lessons of the past” he is referring to are those embedded in the traditional knowledge of his community, which have been passed down through the generations. As the 2016 GEM Report due out on the 6 September will show in more detail, these lessons are vital to understanding how to protect the environment around us, and, as such, should be all of our responsibility to protect.

Tuimoce tells a story of how, for centuries, indigenous populations have used their knowledge to adapt to hostile conditions, managing to live in harmony with nature by finding ways to sail the ocean in search of new soils to cultivate and new water sources when their reserves began to run low. Nowadays, this traditional knowledge is more important than ever. Threatened by the negative effects of climate change and the adverse impact of industrialization, it has become vital for these populations to restore and revitalize the knowledge that for centuries has been key to their survival. Continue reading

Posted in curriculum, Post-2015 development framework, Sustainable development, Teachers, teaching, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Planning for Language Use in Education: Best Practices and Practical Steps for Improving Learning

By Alison Pflepsen, a research education analyst at RTI International,

1Imagine a classroom in which a teacher is required to teach in a language her students do not speak or understand well. During the reading lesson, students struggle to master the most basic skills because the words and sounds of the language taught are foreign to them. During the science lesson, the children are unable to read their textbooks or apply their existing knowledge on the topic. When it comes time for mathematics instruction, the teacher struggles to communicate in a language that is challenging to her, too, while students find it hard to understand and ask questions. At home, most students are unable to receive support from their parents, who also do not understand the language of instruction.

The situation described above is all too common in many places throughout the world, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa and parts of Asia, where millions of children are expected to learn in a language they do not understand. According to a recent paper on language policy in education by the GEM Report, up to 40 % of the global population does not have access to education in a language they understand. Teachers, too, may be required to teach in languages they do not know well. The consequences are profound, with children unable to learn and increasingly at risk for dropping out; teachers demoralized by their inability to communicate well with students; and entire school systems failing to provide a meaningful education. Continue reading

Posted in curriculum, Equality, Language, Learning, sdg, sdgs, Teachers, teaching, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Missing from school: the education challenge in sub-Saharan Africa

Silvia Montoya, Director of the UNESCO Institute for Statistics, and Aaron Benavot, Director of the Global Education Monitoring Report

infographic _03

With the Eurozone in turmoil and sluggish economic growth in the US and elsewhere, investors may well see sub-Saharan Africa – still one of the fastest growing regional economies on earth – as the new frontier. While the region’s economic growth has slowed, falling from 4.5% in 2014 to 3% in 2015, it continues to outpace growth in many of the world’s most advanced economies. However, as the World Bank has noted, the region faces major economic headwinds, from disparities and poverty to falling commodity prices.

Today, the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) adds another headwind to the list: serious challenges in the region’s education. If African economies are to become more competitive, they must be able to draw on a schooled and skilled population. Indeed, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) recognise that the completion of secondary schooling is a minimum to be able to compete in an increasingly globalised economy. Continue reading

Posted in Africa, Basic education, Developing countries, Gender, Learning, Millennium Development Goals, Out-of-school children, Primary school, Secondary school, Skills, Testing, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

We have a heavy workload: 263 million children and youth are out of school

Silvia Montoya, Director of the UNESCO Institute for Statistics, and Aaron Benavot, Director of the Global Education Monitoring Report

infographic _01We have known for years that there are far too many primary-age children out of school: the stagnating numbers have been there for all to see. Far less has been known about the numbers of secondary-age adolescents and youth out of school, and in particular those of upper secondary school age who are – or should be – on the brink of a productive adult life. The numbers are out today, and they are every bit as alarming as we feared they would be.

In total, about 263 million children and youth are out of school, according to new data from the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS). This figure is roughly equivalent to the entire populations of Mexico and Russia combined. When broken down, the numbers show that there are still 61 million children of primary school age (about 6-11 years) who are not in the classroom, and 60 million adolescents of lower secondary school age (12-14 years). The total figure also includes, for the first time ever, the UIS estimate of those of upper secondary school age (15-17 years) who are not in school: 142 million. That is a staggering figure: roughly equal to the entire population of Russia. It is simply unacceptable to squander such a precious human resource, just as they enter adulthood and seek to be active and productive members of their societies. Continue reading

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How to help people love learning

By Muhammad Usman, Pakistan, a 2016 PAL Network Fellow, and ASER Pakistan’s Data Analyst003_PHOTO USMAN BLOG 2016 PALNetwork_Headshot_MuhammadUsman

We listen to the same music.

We watch the same movies.

We eat the same food.

We farm the same land.

We speak the same language.

In so many ways, India feels like a home away from home.

It’s not just these historically ingrained similarities that make India special to me, a Pakistani. There’s something else, too. We do the same work. Barely 400km from my office in Lahore, Pakistan my colleagues in New Delhi are working on the same projects, grappling with the same challenges, and celebrating the same achievements.

What’s more incredible is that it’s not just in India and Pakistan that this work is happening. We belong to a growing global network of 9 full-member and 4 provisional-member countries, working across 3 continents to assess the basic reading and numeracy competencies of over 1 million children annually, in their homes, through citizen-led assessments. Continue reading

Posted in Basic education, Literacy, teaching, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

Is overeducation a threat in Latin America?

Raul RamosDr. Raul Ramos is Associate Professor in Applied Economics and Researcher at the Grup d’Anàlisi Quantitativa Regional, University of Barcelona, Spain.

Fortunately, differences between countries with regard to the education levels of their population continues to decline very markedly. According to Barro-Lee’s database , in the last 30 years, while the average number of years of schooling of the adult population in many developed countries has grown moderately (for example, in the United States has gone from 12.4 years in 1980 to 13.5 in 2010), in many other countries the growth has been spectacular. Some examples: in Brazil it has grown from 3 to 8 years  of schooling between 1980 and 2010; in Colombia from 4 to 9; in Mexico from 4 to 8.

Much of this increase is due to the population’s greater access to basic education levels, but progressively the percentage of population that accesses and finishes college is higher. In fact, the percentage of adult population with university studies observed in several Latin American countries (Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico, Panama and Peru)  is between 15% and 30%, the usual values in most developed countries. Continue reading

Posted in Employment, Learning, Quality of education, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments