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Governance

Global Education Monitoring Report-2019 : UNESCO

  • 20 Nov 2018
  • 6 min read

Recently, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) released its  Global Education Monitoring Report 2019 titled- “Migration, Displacement and Education: Building Bridges, not Walls”.

Highlights

  • The report highlights countries’ achievements and shortcomings in ensuring the right of migrant and refugee children to benefit from quality education.
  • The number of migrant and refugee school-age children around the world in 2018 has grown by 26% since 2000 and could fill half a million classrooms.
  • The right of these children to quality education, even if increasingly recognized on paper, is challenged in practical.  The two years since the landmark New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants in 2016, refugees have missed 1.5 billion days of school.

New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants in 2016

  • On September 19, 2016, the United Nations General Assembly unanimously adopted the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants.
  • The New York Declaration reaffirms the importance of the international refugee regime and contains a wide range of commitments by Member States to strengthen and enhance mechanisms to protect people on the move.
  • It has paved the way for the adoption of two new global compacts in 2018:
    • a global compact on refugees and
    • a global compact for safe, orderly and regular migration.
  • It also warns of the negative impact on education for children who are left behind as their parents migrate. Test scores were lower among left-behind children aged 5-8.
  • Nevertheless, there has been progress in the inclusion of refugees in national education systems, as seen in eight of the top ten refugee hosting countries. Canada and Ireland are among the global leaders in implementing inclusive education policies for immigrants.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)

  • UNESCO, formed in 1945, is a specialized agency of the United Nations (UN) based in Paris. Its declared purpose is to contribute to peace and security by promoting international collaboration through educational, scientific, and cultural reforms in order to increase universal respect for justice, the rule of law, and human rights along with fundamental freedom proclaimed in the United Nations Charter.
  • UNESCO has 195 member states and ten associate members.
  • India was a founder member of the Organisation.

India Specific Findings

  • Literacy levels in rural households of India dip with seasonal migration. About 80% of seasonal migrant children in major cities lacked access to education near work sites, and 40% are likely to end up in work rather than education, experiencing abuse and exploitation.
  • The construction sector absorbs the majority of short-term migrants. About 77% of kiln workers reported lack of access to early childhood or primary education for their children.
  • It lauds Right to Education Act in 2009 which made it mandatory for local authorities to admit migrant children. National-level guidelines were issued, allowing for flexible admission of children, providing transport and volunteers to support with mobile education, create seasonal hostels and improve coordination between sending and receiving districts and states.
  • The report says some State governments have also taken steps for migrant children’s education. However, most interventions are focused on keeping children in home communities instead of actively addressing the challenges faced by those who are already on the move.
  • It also talks about challenges wherein the progress of out-of-school children did not improve learning in any substantial way. Teachers on the sites cited culture, language, lifestyle, cleanliness and clothing as major barriers between them and the kiln labour community. Teacher and student absenteeism were rampant.
  • The report sees the growth of slums and informal settlements where schools are often scarce due to migration as a challenge.

Recommendations

  • Protect the right to education of migrants and displaced people.
  • Include migrants and displaced people in the national education system.
  • Understand and plan to meet the education needs of migrants and displaced people.
  • Represent migration and displacement histories in education accurately to challenge prejudices.
  • Prepare teachers of migrants and refugees to address diversity and hardship.
  • Harness the potential of migrants and displaced people.
  • Support education needs of migrants and displaced people in humanitarian and development aid.

Conclusion

  • India, along with China, is home to some of the world’s largest internal population movements and the report shows that the scale of seasonal migration has a significant impact on education.
  • Therefore, the UNESCO report urges policy makers to strengthen public education for rural migrant children living in slums.
  • Migration and displacement are two global challenges that needs to be addressed in achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in general and SDG 4, i.e. ‘Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all’, in particular.
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