By Global Campaign for Education
The 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.
In 2017, 262 million children of primary and secondary school age were out of school. Education in emergencies is a challenge that we must address. Just last month cyclone Idai hit sub-Saharan Africa in one of the worst humanitarian disasters. In Mozambique 263,000 children are out-of-school and over 3,300 classrooms were destroyed. In Zimbabwe, almost 150 schools have been impacted, affecting an estimated 60,000 children and an estimated 200 schools have been negatively impacted in Malawi.
These challenges highlight the critical need to transform the quality of education, while expanding access to ensure that no one is left behind.
MyEducation, MyRight(s) – the global role of civil society
This is why, now, more than ever, civil society is rising up to these critical issues and most importantly raising the education flag to meet the Agenda 2030 looming deadline. Civil society is a strong and valuable partner and should be consulted and involved with decision making at all levels. Over the years, civil society has broken barriers and influenced the direction of education policy and delivery in their countries, through building their reach, their skills in monitoring, research and policy analysis, and their capacity to engage with and influence policymakers.
GCE is delighted to have UNESCO join the GAWE2019 by calling for the ratification of the Convention against Discrimination in Education, the only legally binding international treaty exclusively dedicated to the right to education.
For the Global Action Week 2019, worldwide, coordinated actions have taken place targeting ministries of education, politicians, reaching out to teachers as well as refugee children in emergencies.
In South Africa, a successful launch event took place in Johannesburg, hosted by the GCE Secretariat. Amongst the attendees was the Minister of Basic Education who spoke about the need to unify all stakeholders and ensure that all children are in school and assessing quality education.
In the United States, GCE-US led a discussion on ChildFund International’s global approach to ‘School-based violence prevention’ to highlight the impact and find solutions to school-based violence.
In Nepal, a public protest organised by NCE-Nepal took place at Maitighar Mandala with at least 150 participants demanding for the Federal Education Act on time and for the delivery of the right to education for all Nepalese children.
In Benin, the Coalition Béninoise des Organisations pour l’Education Pour Tous (CBO-EPT) will host a press conference in Cotonou to assess the degree of to which municipal actors and local authorities own SGD 4. In addition, a round table will take place on gender equality in schools.
In Burkina Faso, the Coalition Nationale pour l’Education Pour Tous du Burkina Faso (CN-EPT/BF) has organized a national forum under the theme ‘Emergency education in Burkina Faso: how to deal with it?’ to discuss the education emergency and propose solutions.
In Albania, the Albanian Coalition for Children’s Education together with the youth network will host the first youth summit, prioritizing the right to education with a focus on secondary and tertiary education.
In Afghanistan, under the Education for All campaign, a national conference will take place in Kabul organized by Watch on Basic Rights Afghanistan Organization, the Movement for Support of Quality Education in Afghanistan, the Afghanistan National Education Coalition and other civil society organizations. The focus of this campaign will be on implementation of SDG 4 in Afghanistan and the third National Education Sector Plan.
In Palestine, the Palestinian Coalition for Education for All will host a press conference in cooperation with the Ministry of Education. The event will present the results of a national curriculum analysis.
The Latin American Campaign for the Right to Education (CLADE) and its members in different countries will promote face-to-face and virtual dialogues with a view to analyzing and discussing education challenges at a regional and national level. In Guatemala, a Collective of Education for All hosted dialogues in different regions of the country and presented recommendations to the government to enforce SDG 4.
Follow the events on Facebook and Twitter and the hashtags #GAWE2019 #MyEducationMyRights.