Tag Archives: education

The Global Partnership for Education ensures quality and inclusiveness as a driving force

On the 25th and 26th June 2014, the Second Replenishment of the Global Partnership for Education took place in Brussels. Hosted by the European Commission, more than 800 participants from 91 countries gathered together with the aim of ensuring economic investment and policy commitment.

A clever investment for all children

The Global Partnership for Education (GPE), the international organisation focused on supporting countries’ efforts to guarantee quality education for all children, organised its Second Replenishment in Brussels on 25 and 26 May, with the purpose of achieving financial support from its partners for the period of 2015-2018. Over the past decade, the GPE has allocated US$3.7 billion to support education reforms in some of the world’s poorest countries. At this conference in July, the GPE received new pledges of more than US$28.5 billion in additional funding for education for millions of children in more than 60 developing countries. The ability to raise funds emphasises the prominent role of this platform in promoting quality education for all children. Through not only economic investment but also policy commitment, the GPE has raised awareness on the importance of investing in education in a strategic way.

Currently 57 million children worldwide have no access to school, and the rates of literacy and numeracy continue to remain inadequate. Participants and all of the speakers at the conference recognised that children with disabilities were one of the most marginalised groups in education, and it was discussed as an important issue in both the general and specific sessions of the conference and also in the context of post 2015.

Give me quality education and I will look after my own inclusion

CBM was an active participant in the conference presenting at the Speakers Corner on one of its projects focused on Inclusive Education. Under the title Give me quality Education and I will look after my own inclusion, Sian Tesni, Senior Education Advisor to CBM, advocated for inclusive education as the most appropriate option for learners with disabilities.

The case study Sian illustrated was the Jerusalem Inclusive School, one of the partners CBM is supporting in Ethiopia. The school was established by head teacher, Mr Yihayes Chane, who is deaf himself. The emphasis is on including children with and without disabilities, so they can learn, play and live integrated as one. Each class includes learners who are deaf or hard of hearing, as well as those with learning disabilities, physical disabilities and visual difficulties. Every teacher is also able to use sign language fluently and the whole community has learned sign language. Even though the change in community awareness on the inclusion of children with disabilities is slow, students of the school return home and teach their parents, improving their knowledge and promoting an inclusive environment. The discussion that followed the presentation of the case study emphasised the need for quality teacher preparation and commitment from educators in order to develop and provide quality education for all.

Sian Tesni during the presentation “Give me quality education and I will look after my own inclusion”

After the presentation, in which representatives from Handicap International, International Disability Alliance, Light for the World and Save the Children participated, questions about the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities were raised. CBM highlighted the impact of sharing good practices for a more comprehensive understanding of the advantages of including persons with disabilities in society. At the conference, CBM also met with Minister Koumba Boly Barry, from Burkina Faso and Minister Hang Chuon Naron from Cambodia strengthening the relationship and exploring new possibilities of collaboration in these countries.

The success of the GPE, in obtaining solid funding and in promoting the right to education for children with disabilities, is a message to the world and a step toward a more equal future as the negotiations continue for the post 2015 agenda.

A Global Partnership for Education full of good intentions

Last week, on 25th and 26th June, I enjoyed the Global Partnership for Education (GPE), where 700 distinguished participants from all over the world met with the purpose of ensuring an investment in a quality education for all children.

As usually in these events, I was prepared to hear speeches focused on mainstream education, and to raise my voice about inclusive education and children with disabilities. This was not even necessary, considering that from the first minute of the opening, until the closing event, disability was mentioned by all speakers. European Commission, UNICEF, UNESCO or Ministers from Latin America or Africa mentioned the importance of including children with disabilities in Education as the basis of a credible and sustainable future.

Not only with the words that were spoken, but also by active participation, people with disabilities had a prominent role. In that sense, the constant presence of Young Voices must be highlighted, led by Leroy Phillips, who chaired the session “Inclusive Education for Children with Disabilities”. Throughout the conference, they were established in a parallel area where people could get close and talk; allowing young people to share their own experiences and their expectations.

Leroy Phillips at opening session

One of the strongest voices on Inclusive Education has been the Minister Koumba Boly Barry, from Burkina Faso, main speaker in different sessions about inclusiveness and education for marginalized children. CBM could speak briefly with her, strengthening the existing partnership and looking for future actions in that field.

CBM with Minister Koumba

Besides, CBM presented one of its successful projects of Ethiopia to an audience formed by Light for the World, International Disability Alliance, Save the Children and Handicap International. After the presentation, questions focused on how to make possible the ratification of the UN CRPD in countries where disability is not taken as a human right have been raised. One of the conclusions of our intervention has been the need to share good practices in order to change the conception of disability.

What are the following steps? Without a doubt, the fact that disability has been included in this GPE represents that something is changing, the world starts to realize that without persons with disabilities, society cannot progress. However, these good intentions have to be demonstrated by including people with disabilities in the Post-2015 agenda. From our side, we can only join forces to make it real: nothing about us without us, but all together.

Access to education – Rebuilding after Haiyan

Sitting here in the air conditioned bubble of the departure lounge of Iloilo airport, waiting to fly back to Manila, my thoughts go back to some of the people I met in in Iloilo.

One place in particular comes to mind.

A combination photo showing a new building (above) and a destroyed building (below)

New resource centre for Carles School in Iloilo (above), and the old building (below) which was completely destroyed by typhoon Haiyan

CBM works with partner RBI (Resources for the Blind), who ensure that children with visual impairments – and they may also have hearing, learning or mobility difficulties – have the chance to access education.

In November, Typhoon Haiyan destroyed many of the buildings that are used for these classes, effectively ending education for the children.

But with CBM support, the centre at Carles School has already been rebuilt and is ready to be furnished. Of all the buildings at the school that were affected by the super-typhoon, it is the first to be restored.

And like this airport lounge, it’s cool, clean and spacious – a haven from the heat and stress of daily life, and a perfect learning environment.

It should be ready for use – equipped with assistive devices – by the beginning of the school year in June. Continue reading