GCE Europe & North America Region: news round-up

GERMANY: Focusing on Education in Emergencies

In light of the migrant and refugee crisis, GCE Germany (Globale Bildungskampagne) has focused on education in emergencies over the last two years. More than a million migrants and refugees crossed into Europe in 2015 – mainly from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq – and Germany has received the highest number of new asylum applications on the continent. While the number of children without adequate access to education is declining globally, figures continue to rise in situations of crisis: in 35 countries affected by conflict, around 75 million children between three and 18 years of age have no or inadequate educational opportunities. The German coalition is working hard to ensure that the right to education is protected for all refugees, migrants, internally displaced persons and those still living in areas affected by crisis. For people who often have lost so much, continuous access to education is a critical part of their recovery and ability to build a brighter future.

On March 30th, GCE Germany launched a report analysing the country’s contribution to education in emergencies and protracted crises, and presented it to Claudia Roth, Vice-President of the Bundestag. The coalition hosted the event, which was attended by government representatives from all parties, civil society and students.

ALBANIA: Education campaigners urge the government to do more for the children of Albania

GCE member the Albanian Coalition for Child Education (ACCE) and its partners have published a report on child online safety in Albania. It shows that many children who report abuse and exploitation online are left unprotected by the law. ACCE is calling on the government to amend the criminal code without delay.

Visit ACCE’s website for more details (in English)

On the occasion of National Teacher’s Day on March 7th, the coalition piled more demands on the government. Despite acknowledging that education is essential for economic and sustainable development in Albania, the government actually invests very little in education – just 3.39% of GDP goes to education, which is well below the recommended 6% benchmark. Without more and better financing, Albania will simply not be able to fulfil its commitment to provide quality education for all by 2030.

More information in English can be found here


DENMARK: The Reading Rocket!

Every year, to mark Global Action Week for Education, GCE’s Danish coalition runs a campaign to promote quality education both nationally and globally by giving teaching materials to schools all over Denmark. Students participate in advocacy, campaigning and fundraising, and together remind politicians of their promises to achieve quality education for all across the world.

This year, the Danish NGO Education Network together with Oxfam IBIS are distributing a reading booklet called The Reading Rocket, which tells real stories of children living in South Sudan – the newest country in the world. Almost three-quarters of South Sudan’s primary-school-age children are missing out on an education, so it’s important their story is told. The booklet is accompanied by web-based learning and teaching materials. A third of all Danish primary school children receive the book, which helps them learn more about global issues and reflect on their own lives from other perspectives. Danish pupils can also send postcards to children featured in the text. Nationally, the campaign aims to inspire and empower Danish children to act as active global citizens and to contribute to the sustainable development of the world.

Interested in finding out more? Here’s a summary of a story from this year’s Reading Rocket, written by Dorthe Nielsen. Dorthe writes about Adeng, and her challenge to stay in school in South Sudan.

FRANCE: Campaigning for education during the 2017 election

During the 2017 French election, GCE’s colleagues in France at Coalition Education have been sending an open letter to each candidate to ask them to commit more aid to education. This is part of their wider campaign, calling on all governments to increase financing for education. Check out their innovative video (in English with French subtitles), coinciding with the release of a new smartphone model, urging the next French President to make funding education in developing countries a priority. The video points out that less than 2% of the global budget allocated to new technologies would be enough to finance education for all the world’s out-of-school children and young people. Your voice counts – sign the petition here!

ITALY: Preparing for G7 and G20: using international events to highlight Education and SDG4

On 26th and 27th May, Italy will host the meeting of the G7 leaders. The Italian Presidency’s mission is to ‘build the foundations of renewed trust’ – that first and foremost governments have a responsibility to listen to their citizens and meet their expectations. The G7 regularly reports on the progress of implementing commitments made by Heads of State during summit meetings. For the first time, this year’s report by the Accountability Working Group (the Taormina Progress Report) will be dedicated to education. GCE Italy has been invited by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to help launch and share this report.

Prior to the German G20 summit on 21st June, the Italian coalition will also set up a separate meeting along with GCAP-Italy (the Italian Coalition Against Poverty) and CONCORD-Italy (a platform of national NGOs), with the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The aim here is for civil society to produce an in-depth analysis of the Taormina Report, which lays out recommendations for how best to meet the SDG4 targets by 2030.

World leaders have committed to the Sustainable Development Goals – now it’s time for them to prove they’re making progress. Their citizens will hold them to it.

NEW MEMBER! The European Students’ Union (ESU) joins GCE

ESU is the umbrella organisation of 45 National Unions of Students (NUS) and is the only European-wide student platform. Its mission is to represent, defend and strengthen students’ educational, democratic and political and social rights. ESU, whose own members are run by students for students, brings the voices of young people across 38 European countries to GCE, and we’re delighted to welcome them to the network.

MOLDOVA: Inclusive education in Moldova – one step forward, two steps back?

Over the last 5 years, the education system in Moldova has undergone significant changes, including the development of inclusive education policies. An education that’s inclusive recognises the right of all children, including those with disabilities, to access quality education, without discrimination, in appropriate learning environments. Moldova’s policy for 2011-2020 says that allchildren have the right to go to their nearest school, so making every school inclusive is the best way to reach and teach all girls and boys, whether they have disabilities or not.

Since 2014, GCE’s member network The Working Group For Education For All has used funding from the Civil Society Education Fund to conduct research on the impact of inclusive education on various schools around the country. The team interviewed many people including teachers, parents and students and have summarised the barriers which are preventing fully inclusive education practices from being implemented in Moldova. These include lack of access to early childhood education (i.e. pre-primary level), insufficient teacher training, lack of awareness among parents and children of inclusive education policies and their rights, poor local infrastructure which makes getting to school difficult, large class sizes and limited budget. The outcomes of the research will be published in full in May 2017, during Moldova’s Global Action Week for Education. Activists and citizens will continue to monitor this issue and work with the government to ensure policy turns into practice.

SPAIN: Standing up for education!

GCE Spain has been very busy preparing its campaign for 2017’s Global Action Week for Education. This year, the coalition is focusing on child and youth participation campaign, and as always their activities will involve students up and down the country. Various advocacy events will be held with local and regional political representatives in more than 30 Spanish cities – with thousands of people ‘standing up for education’.

Here’s a short video (in Spanish) which sets out the commitments the world has made to education in adopting the Education 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goal for Education (SDG4). GCE Spain’s other materials for Global Action Week are available in Spanish, Basque, Catalan and Galician here.


UK: Young ‘Campaign Champions’ come together for Send My Friend To School 2017

More than 1000 UK schools have signed up to the Send My Friend to School campaign which is calling on the UK government to increase its investment in education around the world. World leaders have promised every child in the world a quality education by 2030 but a key piece of the puzzle is not in place – the money to pay for this education. This has left 263 million children and young people missing out on school, and many of those that are in school not learning due to a lack of resources and teachers. By current projections the international community won’t achieve its promise of quality education for the world’s children until at least 2084 – over 50 years late. Children are only children once – we are at risk of leaving a whole generation behind. To highlight this situation young people across the UK are creating paper jigsaw pieces to represent that education is a missing piece of the puzzle, decorating them with elements that make up a quality education, and presenting them to their local MPs. They will be asking their MP to pass on the message to the UK government to call on them to increase their investment in education through an ambitious pledge to the Global Partnership for Education. Send My Friend to School has created lots of exciting teaching resources to bring the campaign to life in the classroom, including teacher packs, films, case studies and activity sheets. If you would like more information, or would like to be sent the campaign materials to adapt to your context, please email [email protected]

20 Campaign Champions and 10 teachers from across the UK also came together in an action packed residential campaign training event. The Campaign Champions, aged 13-15, took part in a wide range of activities from public speaking training, community mapping, lobbying roleplay, photo stunt creation, campaign planning and media training, as well as learning more about the issue of global education financing. They left empowered and excited to be Send My Friend to School Campaign Champions and ready to play a central role in this year’s Missing Piece campaign. Watch this space for their campaigning activity at a local and national level throughout 2017!

UNITED STATES: Citizens push forward for global education

Following the release of President Trump’s administration’s budget calling for a 31% cut to the International Affairs budget in early March, the Global Campaign for Education – US (GCE-US) has launched two Action Alerts and designed an action that people can take to send their Members of Congress a letter advocating for robust global education funding. We encourage you to share this link with people in the United States to urge them to take action.

Additionally, the coalition has continued pushing for the passage of the Reinforcing Education Accountability in Development (READ) Act in the US Congress. The bill targets the 263 million children and young people worldwide who are not currently attending school. It provides guidelines to create a US strategy committed to improving educational opportunities and tackling barriers to school attendance and completion. In April, GCE-US hosts an advocacy day during the Global Action Week for Education to push back against proposed budget cuts and to discuss the READ Act. Members of Congress have been asked to sign on to a letter supporting global education funding in the next budget, with over 90 Members of Congress signed on so far. GCE-US continues to promote global education and targeted actions via social media. Please join the conversation on: Twitter: @GCE_US ; Instagram: @GCE_US ; and Facebook: Facebook.com/campaignforeducationusa



1) Adeng in Aweil, South Sudan. Credit: William Vest-Lillesøe, Oxfam IBIS
2) GCE Germany event at the Reichstag. Credit: Globale Bildungskampagne
3) GCE Spain’s GAWE 2017 poster. Credit: Campaña Mundial por la Educación España
4) Send My Friend To School campaign. Credit: GCE UK

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