Liverpool striker Mo Salah gave children at Al Farooq Omar school in Cairo a day to remember when he paid a surprise virtual visit to share his views on the benefits of digital learning. Salah, is an Ambassador for Instant Network Schools. The initiative, set up in 2013 by UNHCR and partners, works in some of the most marginalized communities in Africa to give young refugees, local communities and teachers access to digital learning content and the internet. To date, INS supports 56 schools across six African countries, benefitting 129,000 students. Eighteen of the schools are in Egypt.
“When there are floods, we take our shoes and socks off and put them in our school bags,” says Fathimath. “We have to wade through the water to our classrooms.” Fathimath’s school is on a small island about a 45-minute boat ride from Male, the capital of Maldives – and just 30 metres from the ocean. The only thing protecting the school from rising sea levels are a handful of coconut palms, some of which have already collapsed into the sea, and a line of sandbags packed under the school’s main gate. Even with this precaution, the area still floods a few times a year, covering the school courtyard.
The COVID-19 pandemic could drive up the share of 10-year-olds who cannot read a basic text, to around 70 percent in low- and middle-income countries, according to preliminary analysis from an upcoming World Bank report. This rise is a result of the prolonged school closures and poor learning outcomes despite government efforts to deliver remote learning. In many of these countries, schools have been closed for as many as 200 to 250 days, and many have yet to reopen.
Let’s reflect on education as we look to 2050: What should we continue doing? What should we abandon? What needs to be creatively invented afresh? UNESCO is proposing answers to these three essential questions in its new global report on the Futures of Education entitled Reimagining our futures together: A new social contract for education. The foundational principles of this new social contract are: assuring the right to quality education throughout life and strengthening education as a public common good.
UNESCO’s Futures of Education initiative, launched in 2019, aims to rethink education and shape the future in the face of accelerated climate change, persistent inequalities and social fragmentation. While advances in digital communication, artificial intelligence, and biotechnology have great potential, they require investment in digital literacy and infrastructure. As UN Secretary-General António Guterres said of the COVID-19 crisis: “We have a generational opportunity to reimagine education.” Find out more in the Futures of Education report launched on 10 November.
Meet Aya, Lucas, Alex and Sophia. Like all young people, they want to be healthy and happy, to understand their bodies, have good relationships and avoid unintended pregnancy, violence and sexually transmitted infections including HIV. To make this a reality, they need good quality Comprehensive #SexualityEducation (CSE). Learn more about UNESCO’s efforts in CSE.
New UNESCO data from 100 countries shows that only 53% of the world’s national education curricula make any reference to climate change and when the subject is mentioned, it is almost always given very low priority. Furthermore, fewer than 40% of teachers surveyed by UNESCO and Education International were confident in teaching about the severity of climate change and only about one-third felt able to explain the effects of climate change on their region or locality. Over a quarter of those surveyed felt some approaches to teaching climate education were not suited to online teaching.
Mozambique is one of the most disaster-prone places in the world. In a country where over 65 per cent of the population live in rural areas and most rely on agriculture as their source of income, the destruction caused by cyclones, droughts, floods, and pests affects millions of people. As a response to these challenges, WFP and partners have launched an Emergency School Feeding Programme in Mozambique to promotes school attendance and participation among children in crisis-affected areas, while improving their access to healthy food.
Effective lifelong learning and quality education for all is essential for a better future of work. If teachers, trainers and support workers are to fill this need they will need to master new technologies and learning techniques and receive support to deal with their expanded responsibilities. ILO works to increase support for education workers.
UNESCO is joining Minecraft on the ‘Global Build Challenge 2021: Making Peace with Nature’, as part of its programme to engage students worldwide to address the urgent environmental crisis.
Since 2001 Afghanistan has made advances, according to a UNESCO report. The report found that the total number of enrolled students increased from around 1 million to 10 million learners. The number of girls in primary school increased from almost zero in 2001 to 2.5 million in 2018. In 2021, 4 out of 10 students in primary education are girls. Yet these critical gains for the country’s development are at risk and the right to education for all learners, especially girls, must be upheld in the face of a looming humanitarian crisis.
A child’s right to education cannot be safeguarded in conflict zones without education itself being protected. Education can be a lifesaver. Out of school, children are easy targets of abuse, exploitation and recruitment by armed forces and groups. In 2020, there was an increase of 17 per cent on attacks on schools compared to 2019. The International Day to Protect Education from Attack (9 September) brings attention to the importance of safeguarding schools as places of protection and safety for students and educators and the need to keep education at the top of the public agenda.