“If comprehensive sexuality education can happen in Pakistan, it can happen everywhere.”

By Aisha Ijaz, Aahung, Pakistan

I work on reproductive health for an organization called Aahung in Pakistan. For over 20 years now, we have been developing and advocating around comprehensive sexuality education, or, as it is called here, Life Skills Based Education (LSBE).

In 2018, the Sindh province in Pakistan became the first to introduce LSBE content. And Balochistan is working on doing the same soon. This blog discusses the work it entailed over the past decade to get to this point in what is a conservative society. I describe the barriers we have come across along the way – some of which still remain for other provinces yet to be convinced on the issue.


Back in 1995, we were the first organization that not only worked exclusively on sexual and reproductive health in the country, but also with young people on the issue. We developed jargon round it in the local language – making sure there was accurate and appropriate terminology. We built teaching tools on LSBE, and we now work to build the capacity of teachers in schools, training them on our content. Continue reading

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#FaceTheFacts: It’s time to bust the myths on comprehensive sexuality education

Luciana Ianiri

Image: Luciana Ianiri

Comprehensive sexuality education is an essential part of a good quality education that improves sexual and reproductive health, argues Facing the Facts, our newest policy paper out today jointly with UNESCO. Released at the Women Deliver Conference during an event with Rt Hon. Helen Clark, the First Lady of Namibia and Vivian Onano, the paper explores the resistance to sexuality education in many countries and the obstacles to its implementation, seeking ways to overcome them.

Globally, each year, 15 million girls marry before the age of 18. Some 16 million girls age 15 to 19 and 1 million girls under 15 give birth. This not only spells the end of their education, but is often fatal; pregnancy and childbirth are the leading cause of death among young women.

Young people also account for a third of new HIV infections among adults and across 37 low- and middle-income countries, yet only approximately one third of 15 to 24 year olds have comprehensive knowledge of HIV prevention and transmission.

In the face of these facts, our new paper calls for children and young people to receive comprehensive sexuality education before they become sexually active. This helps them protect themselves from unwanted pregnancy, HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, and promotes values of tolerance, mutual respect and non-violence in relationships. Continue reading

Posted in Gender, Health, HIV/AIDS, Reproductive health, sexuality education, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Forgotten or ignored? Education gets no mention in the draft political statement for the UN High Level Political Forum

Zaatari Camp Jordan

UN Photo/Sahem Rababah

The zero draft of the political declaration of the High Level Political Forum (HLPF), taking place this year under the auspices of the General Assembly, has been released ahead of a consultation among UN Member States in New York today. But it does not once mention education.

The draft mentions empowering girls; supporting the most vulnerable people; and reaching those furthest behind first, ‘freeing humanity from the tyranny of poverty’, committing to inclusive economic growth and helping children and youth reach their full human potential. But it fails to mention the role that education can play in driving this progress and making change possible. Why? Continue reading

Posted in Governance, Post-2015 development framework, sdg, sdgs, Sustainable development, Uncategorized, united nations | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

The learning assessment market: pointers for countries – part 2

By Silvia Montoya, Director, UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) and Luis Crouch, Senior Economist, RTI International [1]

In a previous blog, we argued that the market for learning assessment is very inefficient and therefore warrants public action. As things stand:

  • More than half of countries do not participate in a cross-national assessment, makes it hard for them and for the international community to benchmark their progress towards the learning outcome indicators in SDG 4.
  • Countries that may want to participate in a cross-national assessment, and agencies that could cover the cost, both face obstacles standing in the way of effective and cost efficient solutions.

Today, we want to contribute further by proposing a series of possible solutions for five forms of inefficiency and the problem of inequity. While the solutions have different political and monetary costs, they are all relatively easy to adopt. And, in an ideal world they would all be carried out more or less simultaneously as they are all highly complementary with each other. Continue reading

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Aid to education falls slightly in 2017, shifts away from primary education

mathsIn 2017, aid to education totaled US$ 13.2 billion, down 2% or US$288 million compared to 2016. The figures analysed by our team show that the level of aid to education continue to stagnate, growing by only 1% per year on average since 2009. These figures raise questions about the global commitment to achieving SDG 4, the global education goal.

A drop in aid to education could be something to celebrate if it looked like it was due to governments needing less, but this doesn’t seem to be the case. Governments in low income countries spend, on average, 16% of their budgets on education, far more than richer countries, and are off track meeting even the 2015 target of universal primary education.

There has been big talk about ambitions ever since 2015, when our new education agenda was set. However, efforts have focused on elaborating the financing architecture and not increasing the financing. A new multilateral mechanism, the International Financing Facility for Education, which aims to lower the cost of borrowing for education for middle income countries, is expected to be announced later this month. It adds to the Global Partnership for Education, which provides grants to low income countries, and the Education Cannot Wait fund, which focuses on emergency contexts. It seems that donors may be shifting money around, tinkering with different ways to spend a fixed sum, but not giving more. Continue reading

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Global Action week for Education: Civil society urges citizens to claim their right to education

By Global Campaign for Education

global campaign for educationThe Global Action Week for Education (GAWE) is a flagship event for the civil society education movement.  Since 2003, this annual week of action led by the Global Campaign for Education has successfully chosen topical and timely themes relevant to education challenges of the day. This year it has been no different. The 2019 overarching theme: Making the right to an inclusive, equitable, quality, free public education a reality under the slogan My Education, My Right(s) is a call to citizens to claim their right to education.

Worldwide, 2019 is a critical year to ensure the timely delivery of free quality education for all by 2030. Children starting school in 2019 will complete their 12 years basic education by 2030, a global deadline set aside to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We call on the international community and vested education stakeholders to act now and ask government to realise the right to free, inclusive, quality public education for all by signing this petition.

Despite significant improvements in literacy and narrowing of the gender gap, still 750 million adults, two-thirds of whom are women, remain non-literate in 2016. Today, millions of children and youth in school lack the minimum literacy and numeracy skills due to overcrowded classrooms and inadequately trained teachers. More than 617 million children and adolescents are not able to read or handle mathematics proficiently. Continue reading

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School doors might be about to open for undocumented children in South Africa. Let’s make sure they do.

First issued in the Mail & Guardian, South Africa

Last November, we commented in the Mail & Guardian on the contradictory laws in South Africa that discriminate against children of immigrants. There are now signs of change, with a letter issued to the African Diaspora Forum (ADF) from the minister of basic education, Angie Motshekga, announcing that “as an interim measure” the department will “ensure that no learner without proper documentation is refused admission to a public school” and has developed a circular for the provinces directing that “all learners, irrespective of their citizenship status, should not be denied admission to any public school”.

south africa gary

This move is something we have been pushing for since the launch of our latest report on migration, displacement and education. Building Bridges, Not Walls looks at practices that help or obstruct migrants and those forcibly displaced to fulfil their right to education. These range from countries that have made choices to overlook paperwork, financial implications and politics to open school doors, to countries that outright excluded them. Continue reading

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