A unique opportunity to design and deliver education for refugees

Teacher Lim Bol from South Sudan

Teacher Lim Bol from South Sudan teaches refugees in Uganda

By Joseph Nhan-O’Reilly on behalf of a coalition of organisations working to support education for refugees including the Initiative on Child Rights in the Global Compacts, a coalition of 30 UN, civil society and philanthropic organisations that are working to ensure that children’s rights are promoted in the two global compacts on migrants and refugees.

On September 19, 2016 the United Nations General Assembly unanimously adopted the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants. The Declaration was hailed as the foundation of a new approach by the international community to large movements of refugees and migrants, as well as to protracted refugee situations.

It sets out a Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF), with specific actions needed to ease pressure on host countries, enhance refugee self-reliance, expand access to third-country solutions, and support conditions in countries of origin for return in safety and dignity.

In adopting the Declaration, UN member states also called on UNHCR to develop a Global Compact on Refugees. The Compact will combine the CRRF with a Programme of Action that sets out actions for both Member States and others to ensure the full implementation of the promises made in the Declaration.

Consultations on the Programme of Action begin again this week in Geneva and will focus on measures to help meet the needs of refugees and host communities, including to education.

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Why are people talking about a teacher shortage in New Zealand?

new zealand 1At the end of February, the government of New Zealand called the teacher shortage a “ticking time bomb“, with the number of people training to join the profession at the pre-primary, primary and secondary education levels having dropped by 40% between 2010 and 2016.

The Education Minister, Chris Hipkins, said “the numbers were going in the opposite direction between 2008 and 2010”. As a result, one media outlet, the Education Gazette, was advertising over 600 primary and secondary school teachers’ jobs. The shortage was picking up traction.

The shortages were worse in some areas, such as Auckland and Maukau, the main union for secondary school teachers, the PPTA, found in a survey taken last November. The Auckland Secondary Schools Principals’ Association (ASSPA), for instance, showed in a new paper that the teacher shortage in high schools in Auckland was projected to hit 3000 by 2027.

The gaps are also found to be more extreme in some subjects. “Principals are considering the prospect of cancelling subjects for lack of trained and qualified teaching specialists,” the union said. A Council for Educational Research report conducted in 2015 showed that 71% of secondary schools had difficulties covering the teacher shortage, 52% of which were in key curriculum areas. The president of the Secondary Principals’ Association of New Zealand, Sandy Pasley, said a multi-agency planning taskforce group had been set up with the ministry to look specifically at the teacher shortage for “hard to staff subjects” such as science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

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A postcard from this year’s Comparative and International Education Society Annual Conference

By Will Smith, Senior policy analyst at the GEM Report

cies 3The most unique aspect of the Comparative and International Education Society Annual (CIES) conference is the convergence of the global education community into a single location. It is a tremendous opportunity to learn about key trends in the field and, most importantly, exchange ideas with some of the best thought leaders in this space.

The 62nd CIES conference, held in Mexico City, saw a focus on South-North dialogue and South-South collaboration, and an ambition to expand awareness of and engagement with the voices and actors that have historically been marginalized in education research and institutions.

I represented the GEM Report team at this year’s conference participating in several workshops, consultations and panels on topics ranging from accountability, privatization, inclusion, and gender over the week-long event. Continue reading

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The Chilean students are back for more: protesting for education equality

For the third time in the past 12 years, Chilean students are back on the streets calling for equality in education. This time they are protesting a decision taken by the Constitutional Tribunal to overturn the Higher Education Law, which would have made university education free and banned universities operating for profit.

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Credit: Ibar Silva

The education scene in Chile has seen a few U-turns. Free education was overturned in 1981, which led to an explosion of private providers and one of the most stratified and segregated education systems in the world. High school students hit the streets in 2006. They were followed in 2011 by university students who protested against the cost of tuition, the related student debts, and the rise of private institutions. As a result, when Bachelet was elected for her second term with 62% in 2013, partly on the wave of these protests, she brought in free tuition reforms and turned over the voucher-heavy education system that had been creating unwanted inequalities in access.

It was these reforms that recently have been claimed to be unconstitutional by a group of private universities. They were also claimed by many to be unsustainable, initially estimated by the Ministry of Finance to cost $3.14 billion per year.

Private higher education institutions are nothing new. They have been growing steadily the world over, as we showed in our recent policy paper. They account for 49% of student enrolment in Latin America, rising to 80% of students in Chile in 2015. Chile, according to the OECD, now has the fourth most expensive university system in the world. And, subsequently, the cost frequently falls on students’ shoulders. National education accounts for 2013 show that households in Chile were covering 55% of the costs of total higher education expenditure. Continue reading

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Ensuring learning with educational technology in emergency settings

UNESCO’s annual Mobile Learning Week provides a unique opportunity for policy makers, civil society organizations, teachers, students and academics to share knowledge, innovations and good practices in mobile learning. A key theme at this year’s event is the role of technology to address challenges created by displacement – and how to leverage it to deliver quick responses for populations on the move. This blog authored by Luke Stannard and Michaelle Tauson examines Save the Children’s efforts to use educational technologies in humanitarian contexts.

Animation Class photo

Yaarub and Sulafa in an animation workshop in Lebanon. © Save the Children

Quality and inclusion are two pillars of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4 on education. With a growing need to address low learning outcomes and with an expanding population of displaced children at risk of having their education opportunities disrupted or cut, educational technology (EdTech) is increasingly proposed as a potentially effective response in humanitarian contexts.

save the childrenWhile many believe that new technology is inherently positive for education, there is little applicable evidence that is relevant for those engaging in education in emergencies. That said, there is nearly three decades worth of research into ‘what works’ in EdTech.

At Save the Children UK we felt that, if we cautiously cast the net a little wider, there were areas where research from more stable contexts could be used to inform practice in emergency settings as well. Our researchers spent eight months working to collate this evidence. The report, EdTech for learning in emergencies and displaced settings: a rigorous review and narrative synthesis, reviewed over 130 academic papers on EdTech’s impact on learning outcomes. Continue reading

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More than just symbolism? France makes pre-primary school compulsory from age 3

france blog 1President Macron of France announced yesterday that, as of 2019, school will be compulsory in the country for all children from age 3, making France the country with the lowest compulsory age of education in the European Union.  Apart from a few European countries, which begin compulsory education at four years of age, eight countries in the EU start it at five years, and almost half of EU members start it at six.

Explaining his move, Macron tweeted a list of the benefits that he believes come from more time in school, including playing, drawing, learning to write, and improving chances of work.

Already today, 97% of children aged 3 years old (and almost 100% of children aged 4 and 5) go to pre-primary school in France. This new policy, therefore, would only affect access for about 25,000 children in total.  This change, therefore, in Macron’s own words, is to ‘even out social inequalities’. Continue reading

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How technology can boost accountability in education

mlw2018-cover-imageThis week, as UNESCO’s annual flagship event on ICTs in education Mobile Learning Week, is taking place in Paris, the GEM Report takes a look at the growing interest in the role of technology and big data in facilitating citizen engagement and improving accountability in education.

It is impossible to dispute the importance of accurate education data and information for monitoring commitments to deliver quality, equitable education for all. As a result, governments worldwide are increasingly investing in new technologies and web-based tools to transform education management and delivery systems.

In 2017, for example, the governments of Kenya, India and Pakistan invested in technology to improve information available to decision makers. Proponents have cited the ability of these technologies to assist policy makers to analyze student progress throughout their education trajectories, monitor leakage and fraud, such as ghost teachers and schools, which deprive millions of children worldwide from receiving an education.

The 2017/8 Global Education Monitoring Report Accountability in education: Meeting our commitments highlighted the need for collecting transparent and relevant data about the strengths and weaknesses of education systems to enhance accountability in education. The Report showed that technology creates new possibilities for citizen engagement and access to information via online platforms than ever before, thereby enabling real time feedback and communication between education providers and users. Yet the Report cautions that countries need to be judicious in their use of data, keeping in mind the costs and time needed for data collection, which many low and middle-income countries cannot afford. Continue reading

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