“To deny people their human rights is to challenge their very humanity,” Nelson Mandela once said. Today, the humanity of 128 million children and adolescents living in countries is impacted by armed conflicts, forced displacement and climate-induced disasters, where virtually every single one of their human rights are being challenged. The most central one, and in all too many cases, their only hope - their inherent right to an inclusive quality education, as enshrined in international human rights conventions - is brutally challenged, if not also willfully ignored or denied.
H.E. Rangina Hamidi is the first female Minister of Education of Afghanistan in the last 30 years
. Minister Hamidi was born in Kandahar, Afghanistan, fled with her family to Pakistan in 1981 during the Soviet Occupation and eventually immigrated to the United States. She attended high school in the United States and received her B.A. degree with a double major in Religion and Gender Studies at the University of Virginia.
Although learning centres in Cox’s Bazar Kutupalong Refugee Camp are closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Mariom Akhter, a Rohingya mother of four, is grateful not only for the schooling her children have had but the training sessions she as a parent was able to attend. The skills she learnt has helped her assist her children with their education at home in a crisis.
It’s something she’s likely needed to help her children with over the last few weeks after a Mar. 22 fire spread through the camp, destroying the shelters of at least 45,000 people as well as important infrastructure, including hospitals, learning centres, aid distribution points and a registration centre. At least 15 people were reported dead and 400 missing.
On 5 December 2019, heavy rainfall triggered landslides in Cibitoke province in northwestern Burundi. Twenty-seven people were killed and almost 2,000 were forced to relocate. Along with the lives and homes lost, the school in the Nyamakarabo village was also destroyed. Today, some children in the village walk over two hours a day to attend an over-crowded school in a neighboring village. Others have yet to step back in a classroom.
As the world marks the one-year anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic on 11 March 2021, initial progress reports on Education Cannot Wait’s (ECW) COVID-19 emergency responses to date show that the Fund and its partners have already reached over 9 million vulnerable girls and boys in the midst of the worst education crisis of our lifetime.
Nujeen Mustafa is a Syrian refugee, youth advocate and champion for children with disabilities for the UN Refugee Agency
At just sixteen years old, Nujeen Mustafa made the 3,500-mile journey from Syria to Germany in a steel wheelchair. Nujeen was born with cerebral palsy and spent the majority of her life confined to her apartment in Aleppo, Syria, where she taught herself English watching shows on TV.
Access to an inclusive quality education is a universal human right. When the inherent right to a good education is ignored or denied, the consequences are severe. For a girl in country of conflict or forced displacement, the impact is brutally multiplied.
The Honourable Karina Gould
was first elected as the Member of Parliament for Burlington in 2015.
A graduate of McGill University and the University of Oxford, Minister Gould is passionate about public service and international development. Before her election as the Member of Parliament for Burlington, she worked as a trade and investment specialist for the Mexican Trade Commission in Toronto, a consultant for the Migration and Development Program at the Organization of American States in Washington, D.C., and spent a year volunteering at an orphanage in Mexico.
Education Cannot Wait (ECW
), the Inter-agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE
) and the United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative (UNGEI
), today launched a new toolkit
to support stronger integration of gender equality in education responses for children and youth in countries affected by emergencies and protracted crises.
In the lead up to International Women’s Day, the Inter-agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE), Education Cannot Wait (ECW) and the UN Girls’ Education Initiative (UNGEI), are launching a new core resource package for gender in education in emergencies: the ‘EiE-GenKit’!
Education Cannot Wait’s (ECW) COVID-19 emergency response
has reached over 9 million children and youth (47% girls) to date. ECW’s COVID-19 emergency grants span across 33 crisis-affected countries/emergency contexts.
“As we enter 2021, education must be at the core of pandemic response and recovery efforts,” says António Gutteres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, in his interview with Education Cannot Wait (ECW) for this monthly issue, reminding us that “upholding our pledge to leave no one behind starts with education.”
Education Cannot Wait’s interview with the Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres, focused on the crucial role of education in the lives of crisis-affected children and youth, follows below.
ECW: Why is education a priority in emergencies and protracted crises?
: The COVID-19 pandemic has upended societies and created the largest-ever disruption of education systems, affecting more than 1.5 billion students. While remote solutions were rolled out, 1 in 3 children missed out on such opportunities, exposing and exacerbating inequalities and vulnerabilities, especially for those in crisis situations. In such circumstances, education protects girls and boys from sexual violence and exploitation, trafficking, early pregnancy and child marriage, forced recruitment into armed groups and child labour. It also ensures that they continue learning, offering them hope for the future. As we enter 2021, education must be at the core of pandemic response and recovery efforts. Without resolute political commitment by global leaders, as well as additional resources for Education Cannot Wait, and its UN and civil society partners, millions of girls and boys may never return to school. Investing in the education of these vulnerable children and youth is an investment in peace, prosperity and resilience for generations to come – and a priority for the United Nations.[related_articles]
Education Cannot Wait (ECW), the Global Education Cluster (GEC), the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the Inter-agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE), Switzerland, UNICEF, the University of Geneva, UNESCO and UNHCR are delighted to announce the launch of the Geneva Global Hub for Education in Emergencies.
Looking back upon 2020, we all bear the scars of a devastating year; none so much as girls and boys around the world. The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted education for over 1.6 billion children and youth globally and continues to do so. It has also deepened socio-economic inequities and heightened insecurities around the world, further impacting the lives of girls and boys everywhere. Ongoing, protracted conflicts, forced displacement and the worsening climate crisis were no less forgiving.
Education Cannot Wait (ECW) - the first global fund dedicated to education in emergencies and protracted crises – was on the ground in Burkina Faso last week with its Director, Yasmine Sherif, to launch a new multi-year programme that aims to provide an education to over 800,000 children and adolescents in crisis-affected areas.
Thirteen-year-old Wita Kasanganjo is a pupil at Maratatu Primary School in the Kyangwali Refugee Settlement based in Uganda’s Hoima district. But last month, when Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni ordered the re-opening of schools for the first time since the mid-March nationwide closure, Kasanganjo was not part of the returning group of students. The government, in a cautious lifting of coronavirus lockdown restrictions, has allowed only pupils who are part of the final year or candidate classes to return to their schooling.
María Victoria Angulo is Colombia’s Minister of Education. She holds a Master´s Degree in Development Economics from the Universidad de Los Andes and a Master´s Degree in Specialized Economic Analysis from Pompeau Fabra University (Barcelona, Spain). The minister has more than 20 years of experience in educational policy development.
Education and health care were high on the agenda when the United Nations vowed to work toward a better future by setting 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to be met by 2030.
H.E. Mr. Stanislas Ouaro became the Minister of National Education and Literacy of Burkina Faso in February 2018 after a long academic career. Between 2012 and 2018, Mr. Ouaro was the President of the Université Ouaga II. Prior to that, the eminent mathematician held several teaching and administrative posts with Ouagadougou University. Mr. Ouaro is widely published, and has also served as the President of the Réseau pour l’Excellence de l’Enseignement Supérieur en Afrique de l’Ouest
(Network for Excellence in Higher Education in West Africa). A leading advocate for education and equality, Mr. Ouaro has been awarded several academic awards in Burkina Faso and elsewhere.
Education is not a privilege. It is a fundamental human right. Yet, education is undervalued even at the best of times. We often fail to connect the dots between the right to education and the realization of all human rights. As noted by the Nobel-winning economist Amartya Sen, we have failed to give ‘this massive potential in transforming human lives’ the attention it deserves.