By Simrin Singh, Senior Specialist on Child Labour, ILO
In a hot and bustling Jakarta suburb, a group of young girls – and one boy – charmed me with their songs, dances, messages, and laughter. Like many teenagers around the world, they could sing and dance to music from Justin Bieber and Bollywood, text with their friends and family, chatter about trends, their dreams and aspirations. These were clearly the lucky ones. They had a childhood, finally. They had a place to come to in their free time, interact with their peers, learn, and unleash their creative energies. They sang loud and proud “I will reach my dreams.”
By Bertheline Nina Tchangoue (Cameroon), Member, Global Education First Initiative Youth Advocacy Group
I will never forget this sad story that happened when I was 11 years old. My first year in secondary school, I had a classmate and best friend called Maimouna. Maimouna was 12 years old but had to stop her education because of forced marriage. I was so traumatized and I could not eat or concentrate on my studies. My parents had to take me to the hospital for consultation, but doctors said I needed to rest and stop thinking.
It was only because of a letter I received from Maimouna two weeks after the sad news of her marriage, that I regained power and courage. In the letter, she explained every single detail about her marriage to me. She wrote that her father had to get her married to repay a debt of 150000FRS CFA, which is approximately 300 USD, and that if the money was reimbursed completely, her marriage would be terminated. After reading my friend’s letter, I thought of how I could help Maimouna come out of such a terrible life. I felt in the bottom of my heart that I could help her, but I didn’t know how. Continue reading →
By Sumaya Saluja, Youth Advocacy Group member of the Global Education First Initiative
In December 2012, civil society, with the technical support of the United Nations began an intensive process of planning national consultations on the post-2015 agenda in both developed and developing countries. Nine global constituencies (civil society, women’s associations, industry, trade unions, farmers associations, research institutes, government, elected officials and youth) were tasked with carrying out countrywide discussions across the eleven thematic issue areas laid out by the United Nations:
Today, UNICEF launches the 2013 State of the World’s Children Report. As we accelerate efforts towards realizing MDG 2 and achieving Education for All, the new report draws attention to a large segment of children who are not in school and have long remained invisible, hidden and forgotten: children with disabilities.
Children with disabilities are significantly less likely to be in school than their peers without disabilities. A 2004 study in Malawi found that a child with a disability was twice as likely to have never attended school as a child without a disability. The 2008 Tanzania Disability Survey found that children with disabilities are also 50 per cent less likely than their peers without disability to complete primary school and progress to higher levels of education. Continue reading →
New data webpages for 29 countries with thousands of education data points
Only few insiders know that the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) is gathering vast amounts of data and education indicators from dozens of GPE developing-country partners. There are thousands of precious data points representing all aspects of a country’s education sector – unfortunately often buried in lengthy documents.
GPE is a unique partnership dedicated to getting all children into school for a quality education. To achieve education results, we rely on the expertise and support of a vast network of partners comprising developing countries and all development actors.
All these partners produce large amounts of all kinds of data traditionally presented in the usual panoply of education sector plans, joint sector reviews, aide memoires and financial reports. All too often, the data is stacked away in these reports and not easily accessible. Continue reading →
This documentary film explores the importance of clean, hygienic toilets and safe drinking water in Indian schools to ensure that girls are empowered to exercise their right to education. It has been said that India is the open defaecation capital of the world, where people have more mobile phones than toilets. In the film, the non-profit organisation HEEALS (Health Education Environment and Livelihood Society) communicates about and advocates for the need to address the fact that only 44 per cent of schools in India have separate toilets for girls, and some schools only have a single toilet that is so unclean – and that carries not only the risk of disease but the risk of sexual harassment – that girls opt to drop out of school.
A call to action to promote gender equality in education This is a joint blog by Nora Fyles, Yona Nestel and Koli Banik
What are key challenges that prevent gender equality in education? What evidence do we need to make an investment case for girls’ education and gender equality – at the global and national level? What actions should be taken now to accelerate progress in the 1000 days left to the Millennium Development Goals deadline?
These were some of the questions discussed at the ‘gender equality in education’ roundtable held during the recent Learning for All Ministerial Meetings in Washington, DC. The United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative (UNGEI) and Plan International convened gender and girls’ education experts to discuss the emerging trends and challenges in girls’ education, progress made to date, and the necessary actions needed to achieve gender equity and equality in education in the run-up to the 2015 deadline of the Millennium Development Goals and beyond. Continue reading →
Girls and careers in information communications technology (ICT). A contradiction?
Unfortunately that is the case in so many classrooms and companies around the world. Teenage girls use computers and the Internet similar to boys — they text, they take pictures on their phones, yet they are five times less likely to consider a technology-related career. In fact, in the OECD countries, women account for less than 20 per cent of ICT specialists. Today, on International Girls in ICT Day, I’m wondering how we can reverse that trend.
Yesterday, I spent the afternoon at Fairmont Heights High School in Capitol Heights, Maryland. I had the privilege of talking to dozens of young women who are passionate about technology and are getting trained and certified in IT skills through Cisco’s Networking Academy program. I also met Ashley Covington, a Networking Academy graduate who is currently a systems administrator for the City of Baltimore public schools. Ashley told us that she loves her job and “I take pride in my data center.” That is music to my ears. Continue reading →
April 25 2013 is a super day for girls and women in technology and Cisco was very present! I am so energized by the fantastic people I met throughout the day commencing with a breakfast session Women2020 platform hosted by DIGITALEUROPE with the topic of Women In Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics for Smart Growth of the pillars of the European 2020 Strategy.
The morning session included a panel chaired by Ms. Cheryl Miller, Founder of Women2020, and Dr.Hamadoun Toure’, Secretary-General of the International Telecommunications Union; Ms. Eva Fabry, Director European Centre for Women and Technology; Ms. Marietje Schaake, member of the European Parliament for the Dutch Democratic Party; Dr. John Higgins, Director-General Digital Europe; Ms. Patricia Reilly Member of the Cabinet-Research, Innovation and Science; Ms. Linda Corugedo Steneberg, Director for Cooperation-DG Connect; Ms. Sabiine Everaet, CIO Europe Group at Coca Cola and a packed room of participants including myself.
Dr.Toure’ appealed to private-public sectors for a 50-50 aspirational target to include women in ICT. There was so much to say in such a short period of time from sustainable STEM education; to pipelining and retaining technical talent most notably women to values from the family that encourage young girls to pursue a technology career track. The group then moved to a location featuring a Brussels youth tech agora with robotics; using technology to create music and so on. European Union Vice President Neeli Kroes along with ITU’s Dr. Hamadoun Toure’ greeted the youth technologists. Continue reading →
Last month, Dr. Cliff Meyers (UNICEF’s Regional Education Advisor) and I visited Papua New Guinea (PNG) as part of a country support mission. My role was to offer a regional perspective on gender in education and early childhood policies, initiatives and activities in the country.
One of the most enriching parts of this trip was a visit we made to two schools in the Kupiano District of Central Province, a picturesque four-hour drive from Port Moresby. One school was a government school and the other is church run. In schools such as these, UNICEF is helping train teachers to run weekly child friendly school clubs. These clubs are supported by parents and community members.
The school clubs are particularly attractive to children because they are fun, relevant and help build children’s skills. As I chatted with the school administrators I saw that these clubs had great potential to bring children currently not in school back into the education system. Continue reading →