DAKAR / NEW YORK, 6 May 2014 – “The abduction of eight more girls in Nigeria is an outrage and a worsening nightmare for the girls themselves and for the families of the more than 200 girls who have been stolen from their communities in the last several weeks.
“That the girls are alleged to have been abducted to prevent them from attending school is especially abhorrent.
“UNICEF calls on the abductors to immediately return these girls unharmed to their communities, and we implore all those with influence on the perpetrators to do everything they can to secure the safe return of the girls - and to bring their abductors to justice.
“Our hearts go out to the families of these girls. UNICEF continues to monitor the situation and expresses its solidarity with the people of Nigeria.” (via UNICEF statement on second abduction of Nigerian school girls | UNICEF Canada : No Child too Far)
Girls brave violence for their education in northern Nigeria.
The kidnapping of 234 girls from a physics exam by Boko Haram grabbed the world’s attention. But this isn’t isolated – fear of school has become ingrained in northern Nigeria
Halimatu Usman, 14, spends her days doing house chores in her home of Marte, near Lake Chad in Borno state, Nigeria. Her school has been shut to pre-empt attacks from members of the Jama’atul Alhul Sunnah Lidda’wati wal Jihad or Boko Haram (meaning western education is forbidden) a group waging an insurgency to establish an Islamic government in Nigeria. As she fills the earthenware pot, she counts herself lucky not to be in a refugee camp in neighbouring Niger Republic or among the 234 girls abducted by Boko Haram insurgents from a physics exam in GGSS Chibok and taken to the Sambisa Forest reserve, leaving their parents and an entire country distraught. (via Girls brave violence for their education in northern Nigeria | Global Development Professionals Network | Guardian Professional)
SPAIN has recorded the highest number of school drop-outs in the European Union for the third year in a row.
Nearly a quarter of young Spaniards (23.5%) grow tired of the education system and quit before reaching the compulsory age, according to Eurostat.
While this is double the EU’s average rate of 11.9%, it is still Spain’s best result on record and a huge decrease from 2007’s 31%.
(via Massive drop-out rate in Spanish schools)
Bangladesh: Innovative Floating School Improves Access to Education
The floating school works in the remote river basin where access to education is hard, particularly during the monsoon season. From late June to October one third of the country goes underwater, making access to basic services very difficult. “It is the main reason for school drop outs in rural Bangladesh” Mosammat said. Were it not for innovative inventions such as this floating school, many of these children would find accessing education impossible.
The school collects children from their homes, teaches them on board and returns them at the end of the session. Mosammat describes the boat’s architect’s philosophy as ”if the children couldn’t come to school, then the school should come to them”.
(via Bangladesh: Innovative solutions to improve education for the disadvantaged | World Education Blog)
In the Netherlands … 15-year-olds score higher than the OECD average in reading, mathematics and science literacy. So how does one country achieve such good results? Cees, who teaches in a secondary school in Amsterdam, says: “I find it difficult to answer why the Netherlands is doing so well, because what do grades mean? To which countries do you compare?
But there are several clues to the Netherlands’ high performance in his answers he gave to our questions about how he does his job. They reflect many of the strategies to provide the best teachers that we outline in latest EFA Global Monitoring Report, Teaching and Learning: Achieving quality for all, including getting enough teachers into school; training teachers to meet the needs of all children; including the disadvantaged; providing teachers trainees with mentors; and providing ongoing teacher training and professional development. (via Student-focused learning helps the Netherlands achieve | World Education Blog)
AMMAN, Jordan, April 24 (UNHCR) In a suburb of Amman, surrounded by piles of garbage and stray sheep, Jamal and his cousin Akram teach the Arabic alphabet to a small group of Syrian refugee children. The classroom is a small orange tent where the young pupils sit on the ground with their text books on their laps. A whiteboard dangles from a wall of the tent.
It’s very simple, but effective. In a country where about half of the school-aged Syrian refugee children are unable to attend public schools, the residents of an informal camp in the Jordanian capital’s Kherbet Al-Souk district have taken matters into their own hands. (via UNHCR - Syrians get round education crunch by running their own school in Jordan)
Over 40 percent of India’s children drop out of school before finishing 8th grade, despite a recent law designed to provide free and compulsory elementary education for all.
Most students who quit school are from the lowest rungs of Indian society. A new Human Rights Watch report, “They Say We’re Dirty,” shows that discrimination by teachers and school officials fail to provide a welcoming and child-friendly school environment for these children.
(via Q&A: Talking Discrimination and School Dropout Rates in India | Human Rights Watch)
UK: Teachers ‘should check holiday plans for FGM clues’
Teachers should scrutinise the holiday plans of families from communities that practise female genital mutilation (FGM), a conference has heard.
School staff should also watch for signs of FGM, such as frequent toilet trips and girls in pain.
The Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) says teachers need more training to help them identity and protect girls at risk.
At least 66,000 girls and women in the UK are believed to be victims of FGM.
Campaigners say girls are most at risk of undergoing the procedure during the long summer holidays.
ATL general secretary Dr Mary Bousted said: “Teachers have been put in a position of great responsibility. What they need now is clear guidance on how to fulfil those responsibilities.
"They need a clear system for reporting their concerns."
Dr Bousted welcomed the letter that Education Secretary Michael Gove sent to schools last term, urging them to protect girls at risk from what he described as “this very serious form of child abuse”.
(via BBC News - Teachers ‘should check holiday plans for FGM clues’)
PESHAWAR, Pakistan, Apr 7 2014 (IPS) - Following scattered defiance of the Taliban earlier, a new wave of students is now heading for education in schools and colleges across the troubled north of Pakistan.
“There is a steady increase in enrolment of students because parents have realised the significance of education, and now they want to thwart the Taliban’s efforts to deprive students of education,” Pervez Khan, education officer in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), tells IPS.
In 2012, he says, the literacy rate for girls was three percent in FATA. That rose to 10.5 percent in 2013.
The boys literacy rate shot up correspondingly to 36.6 percent compared to 29.5 percent.
The Taliban are opposed to modern education. They have destroyed about 500 schools, including 300 schools for girls.
Khan says the Taliban’s campaign against education is only propelling more of the tribal population towards schools.
“The majority of people know that the Taliban are pursuing anti-people activities, such as damaging schools, and therefore they are now coming in droves,” he says.