Today is EfA Day 2014 and pupils all around the United Kingdom are doing all sorts of different activities to raise awareness about the serious issue of global education.
Whitehall Infant School in Uxbridge did a non-uniform day and raised money for their partner school in Nepal:
Cherbourg school in Eastleigh had a great morning and mate an animated video about Education for All (which we’ll be putting up next week). Here’s a picture of Cherbourg’s schools council:
Director Mary Sinnott and Fundraising Coordinator Nick Evans visited Orchard Primary School. Their year 3 pupils wrote letters to David Cameron explaining why global education is such an important issue and used no technology like PC’s or whiteboards (or even lights!). Year 6 and reception pupils took a mile-long walk during school hours to know what it would be like to take a long walk to school.
Debbie Smith ran the Halstead Marathon for the Foundation and raise £180 for us.
This is her story of how the day went:
It was a cold, wet and a windy day which made it hard going with strong headwinds throughout the run. Halstead countryside was beautiful and the support from locals cheering us on really helped. I was really proud to run for my running club Phoenix Striders and celebrate this event, which has been going for twenty years and is one of Britain’s top 5 marathons.
I enjoyed the run although it was hard. At twenty miles my time was 3:09:00 but it took me longer to last six miles as knee was playing up, but I ran the whole 26.2 miles.
Thinking of the Foundation really helped in those last six miles and kept me going, know I was helping children around the world get access to a quality education motivated me to keep going. I finally finished the run in 4:32:00.
If you or anyone you know would like to be a champion of global education then please get in touch with our Fundraising Coordinator Nick at email@example.com
‘Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory.’
Article 26, Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948
Education was declared a fundamental human right over 60 years ago and yet we still face a situation where 57 million children globally don’t even have access to a place of learning, let alone to opportunity of a quality education. In 1990, 150 countries around the world committed to the world declaration on Education for All (EfA) and 10 years later in Dakar, Senegal, the 6 goals of EfA were established and set to last until 2015.
Number 4 of those goals was:
‘Achieving a 50 per cent improvement in levels of adult literacy by 2015, especially for women, and equitable access to basic and continuing education for all adults’
However, as of September 2013, there were still 773.5 million illiterate adults globally, in countries such as Guinea total adult literacy only stands at 25%. There is also a worrying trend of female literacy trailing behind men’s, for example, in Afghanistan, female literacy is three times lower than male literacy. While this is probably the starkest contrast of any nation, the trend exists in the majority of developing countries.
The current youth literacy rate stands at 89.5% meaning there are still 123.2 million children unable to read. Literacy is arguably the most fundamental skill children in developing countries need. Being able to read and write sparks communication which sparks dialogue which is what is needed for young people to discuss and debate the issues in their countries so that they can make the changes they want to see independently.
The proposed framework suggests all young people (15-24) should be fully literate by 2025 and that all adults (15+) should be literate by 2030. Again these seem like well-meaning and well-intentioned aspirations but the real questions lies in the ‘how?’.
The upcoming Fund the Future GCE replenishment fund will see the GCE/GPE relying heavily on the private sector and governmental organisations such as DFID to fund the plans for global education crafted by the NGOs and charities in the GPE. To guarantee maximum investment and ROI, achievable, realistic targets with proper monitoring and evaluation will be necessary to assuage the fears and doubts of corporate and governmental backers.
One of the new targets of the education SDG is that by 2025, all children are taught by qualified teachers. This was a serious oversight of MDG2 and it is good to see the new framework incorporating targets that the Steve Sinnott Foundation has been addressing in its projects, particularly in Sierra Leone.
There have been many reports of not just teacher shortages impeding MDG2 but also under-qualified teachers in positions that are not suitable for them. These teachers’ lack of education and qualification means they are not respected or taken seriously by local government and policy makers. In countries with quality education structures, educators often inform practice and procedure. Experience-based and qualitative research is integral to sound educational policy-making.
The Steve Sinnott Foundation’s Project Sierra Leone took place in 2011 brought 12 teacher trainers from Sierra Leone to the UK. The project gave them a 10-day course including teacher-shadowing and workshops on curriculum design, classroom planning and pedagogy. When these teachers returned to Sierra Leone, they began to train a new generation of quality teacher. To date, the project has trained 230 new teachers who have gone on the improve the quality of education and enhance the school experience for 7000 children.
The Foundation will hopefully be repeating this project in 2014.