The recent devastation caused by the earthquake in Haiti has been followed by an influx of humanitarian aid and relief. In the aftermath of a natural disaster such as this, food and water, medical care and shelter are considered the three priority relief components. The question is; should education feature as the additional ‘fourth pillar’ of humanitarian aid? The importance of education goes undisputed, but it is especially important for those affected by natural disasters. Education is not only the right of every child, it can also respond to the psychosocial needs of those affected by trauma, and restore a sense of normality and hope for the future. In the longer term, it is also essential for the nation’s reconstruction and economic and human resource development.
In Haiti, a country where almost half of the population is under 18 and 55% live below the poverty line, the importance of investing in the education system cannot be stressed enough. Before the earthquake struck, only 50% of children were enrolled in school. Could the quake provide the opportunity and investment necessary to build the education system for the better and ensure that the excluded 50% get access to an education? The government of Haiti and the international community must take action together now to prevent a lost generation of Haitian young minds.
Data taken from UNICEF http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/haiti.html
This week the Education For All Global Monitoring Report 2009-2010 was launched in New York. This year’s edition focuses on reaching the marginalised. This is an issue that is relevant for many countries around the world and highlights the plight of the 60 million unreached girls who remain out of school.
Since 2000, the number of girls in school has dramatically increased. In many countries, the number of girls enrolled in school in fact exceeds that of boys. These are encouraging results, but in many cases can be deceptive. In many countries, the overall increase in enrolments conceals worryingly low enrolment rates of girls within particular areas or social groups. Minority communities can face multiple sources of exclusion. Rural location, poverty, language barriers and ethnic discrimination can all pose barriers to minority groups gaining access to school. However, girls often face a double disadvantage; their exclusion as a member of the minority group is compounded by a gender based disadvantage. At age 7 only 54% of indigenous girls are in school in Guatemala compared with 71% of indigenous boys and 75% of non indigenous girls. These children may be considered part of a ‘minority group’ in their respective countries but together they make up millions of children worldwide who are being denied their fundamental right to a basic education. ‘Reaching the marginalised’ was released in New York on 19th January and will be launched in the UK on 8th March.
UNESCO is organizing an online discussion on Gender equality, Education and Training as part of the 15-year review of the Beijing Platform for Action. Each week, the interactive forum will explore and analyze emerging developments, challenges and policy issues related to this important area of gender equality. Participation is welcome from all individuals, networks and organizations interested in this critical area of concern.
As part of the debates and events commemorating the 15th anniversary of the Beijing Platform for Action, the United Nations’ Inter-Agency Network on Women and Gender Equality (IANWGE) is organizing a series of online discussions dedicated to specific critical areas of action related to gender equality. These discussions will contribute to the 15-year review of the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action at the 54th session of the Commission on the Status of Women from 1-12 March, 2010
You can join the discussion now at:
UNGEI ‘Leaders for Education’ Interview Series
In the lead-up to the global conference, UNGEI is rolling out the Leaders for Education interview series. The series will feature 10 global leaders from various sectors, including government, business and civil society, who have contributed to girls’ education and gender equality or whose personal stories are inspirational and highlight the power of quality education for all.
Zainab Salbi, co-founder and CEO of Women for Women International
Ela Bhatt, the founder of the Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA)
Navanethem Pillay, The United Nation’s High Commissioner for Human Rights
Ana Ivanovic, Tennis Player, Photo Model and Global Sports Star
John T. Chambers, Chairman and CEO of Cisco
Hilde F. Johnson, Deputy Executive Director of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)
Beyond Access Equals Newsletter
Equals is a newsletter on Gender, Education and Development, featuring articles written by researchers, practitioners and policy makers, conference reports, book reviews and letters, published by the Beyond Access team.
Equals Newsletter: Gender, Education and Development