GCE is present in nearly 100 countries around the world through its membership, and national education coalitions design campaigns and activities that are unique to their own contexts. This week, we are sharing just some of the many exciting news stories from the Albanian Coalition for Education (ACE) over the second half of 2017:
Leading up to the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) Financing Conference in 2018, ACE undertook several activities pertaining to education financing. This entailed organising 12 nation wide consultative meetings with students, teachers, parents and other stakeholders, reaching, for the first time, all 12 provinces of Albania. These meetings formed the basis for the “6% for Education” Manifesto, which ACE presented in June to major national youth political forums and civil society ahead of the country’s general elections last year. The manifesto was accompanied by a petition calling for an increased share of the national budget and GDP directed at education, and because of this advocacy work, many political parties adopted the manifesto and pledged to support its commitments.
Ms. Linda Pino, coordinator of ACE, during the presentation of the Manifesto, said that “…. we expect from the youth forums of political parties to promote and address these issues and to turn education into a priority of the future Government through increased budget and investments in education “.
Currently, Albania invests only 3.3% of its GDP on education, well below the internationally recommended figure of 7%. ACE’s advocacy work in this regard will ensure that more funding is directed at the education system in the country, ensuring that – in a country where 1 in 3 children currently risks dropping out of school – more boys and girls can complete their education in schools that are well resourced, accessible and supportive.
You can read more about the manifesto and its contents here.
In November 2017, ACE participated in two important meetings regarding education financing in the country. First, ACE hosted a consultative meeting with the Ministry of Education, Sport and Youth regarding the budget for 2018 At the conclusion of this meeting, ACE and its partner organisations urged for an increase of the budget allocated to education and established an early joint process of consultation regarding the 2019 education budget. This meeting served not only to discuss the increasing the size of budget towards education to reach 6% of GDP, but its sensitivity to children with disabilities and ensuring that teachers are well trained and supported.
This was followed up by a parliamentary hearing in which ACE offered expert consultation to the Ministry of Education. ACE raised the concern that the insufficient budget that the state has allocated to education next year fails to guarantee that 100,000 poor children throughout the country attend school or receive a free meal at school. This increases the school drop out rate thus increasing the risk for these children to be abused and exploited. The main demands of this meeting were:
· To increase the Education Budget for 2018 to ensure that every child is in school;
· To provide free textbooks for compulsory public education;
· To provide training for psychosocial service employees in schools and increase the budget for teacher training;
· To increase budgeting for auxiliary teachers;
· To provide 100% coverage of the transport for children and teachers
Actions such as these are important contributions towards ensuring that SDG4 and the Education 2030 Agendas are met, and will have a powerful impact on the lives of Albanian school children.