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Education Cluster

When disaster strikes: how education and children’s futures were battered by Cyclone Idai

TheirWorld 17 April 2019

An in-depth look at how the deadly storm and flooding has disrupted the schooling of half a million children in southeast Africa - and the efforts to rebuild.
First comes the shock and the terror. Then the fight for survival - to find food, water and shelter, and to avoid diseases. But in the wake of a natural disaster, children very quickly need protection and education. Being in a safe learning environment with other youngsters is crucial if they are to begin to recover from the trauma. Children who are out for school for a long time after a disaster are in danger of falling prey to child labour, early marriage, trafficking and other risks. Many will never return to education. It’s a scenario repeated over and over as communities around the world fall victim to floods, earthquakes, landslides, hurricanes and other natural disasters.

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African Edutainment Company Ubongo Wins Next Billion EdTech Prize

Forbes 24 March 2019

Ubongo, a Tanzanian-based company which creates fun, localized and multi-platform educational media that reaches millions of African families through television and the webs, has won the Next Billion Edtech Prize, an award launched by The Varkey Foundation to recognize innovative technology that can have an impact on education in low income and emerging world countries.

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Education in South Sudan ‘cannot wait,’ says new report

Christian Science Monitor 24 April 2017

After decades of conflict left much of South Sudan illiterate, a new round of fighting has further compromised the young nation’s current education system. Since the South Sudanese Civil War began in December 2013, one in three schools have been attacked by armed forces or groups, according to a report released this month by Education Cluster, a collaboration of NGOs, United Nations agencies, and academics. At the same time, one in four schools reported to be open in 2013 were found to be non-functional by 2016.

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Selon le HCR, l’éducation pour les réfugiés est en crise

HCR 15 September 2016

Le HCR, l’Agence des Nations Unies pour les réfugiés, a publié aujourd’hui un rapport montrant que plus de la moitié - 3,7 millions - des six millions d’enfants en âge d’être scolarisés et relevant de sa compétence ne vont pas à l’école.
Quelque 1,75 million d’enfants réfugiés ne vont pas à l’école primaire et 1,95 million d’adolescents réfugiés ne sont pas scolarisés dans l’enseignement secondaire. Les réfugiés sont cinq fois plus susceptibles d’être déscolarisés que la moyenne mondiale.
« Cela représente une crise pour des millions d’enfants réfugiés », a déclaré Filippo Grandi, Haut Commissaire des Nations Unies pour les réfugiés. « L’éducation des réfugiés est particulièrement négligée, alors que c’est l’une des rares occasions que nous avons pour transformer, construire la prochaine génération et améliorer le sort des dizaines de millions de personnes déracinées dans le monde. »

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Finding refuge in higher education

The Prince George Citizen 20 January 2015

Whether it was Deng Manyang as a boy in the midst of the second Sudanese Civil War or Deng Manyang as a highschool student winning scholarships in a Kenyan refugee camp or Deng Manyang as the Canadian permanent resident doing his degree in Prince George, the goal has always been the same: excelling in education.

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Global Education Cluster 24 November 2014

In October 2013, the Global Education Cluster and Child Protection Working
Group held a joint annual meeting recognising that improved coordination and
collaboration between the two sectors can significantly increase the impact of
their work.

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More than half a million Gaza students return to school after a shattering summer

UNICEF 14 September 2014

Huge efforts have been made to ensure that students return to safe, clean, and well equipped schools with supportive teachers, and counsellors. This year, unlike previous years, the first week of schooling is being devoted to structured psychosocial support and recreational activities that ease the transition back to learning.

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Philippines: Helping children back to school

Norwegian Refugee Council 13 February 2014

13 February 2014 - More than a million children in the Philippines were left without schooling after Typhoon Haiyan destroyed thousands of buildings and teaching materials. NORCAP’s Eirik Grønvold is deployed to UNICEF to ensure that children affected by the typhoon get the opportunity to continue their education.

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Mali-Analyse de la situation humanitaire 2014

Education Cluster Mali 17 January 2014

17 jan 2014 - La crise sociopolitique et alimentaire à laquelle le Mali fait face à l’heure actuelle a fortement perturbé les capacités de l’état Malien d’assurer la fourniture adéquate de services sociaux de base, y compris la prestation des services éducatifs.

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Children of Syria: A UNICEF update - 17 January 2013

UNICEF 17 January 2013

17 Jan 2013 - Recent severe weather conditions across Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq – including heavy rain, snow and sub-zero temperatures—have greatly worsened the situation of hundreds of thousands of children displaced by the conflict in Syria. In northern Jordan, widespread flooding occurred at Za’atari refugee camp, swamping tents, and overwhelming the camp draining system. Deep mud made it harder for the water and dislodging trucks to access the camp. Around 55,000 Syrian refugees, half of them children, live at the camp.

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Joint Statement on Education in Emergencies after Typhoon Pablo

UNICEF 14 January 2013

13 Jan 2013 -  The resumption of classes this January will not be the usual return from the holidays for children here, when schools and Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) centers re-open after the Christmas break. Thousands of children will continue to be displaced with up to 95% of school buildings, classrooms and day care centers damaged or destroyed in the 4 most affected provinces following Typhoon Pablo in Mindanao, Philippines. Consequently, these children have no school buildings, interrupting their education.
More than 600 schools and 170 day care centers were destroyed or damaged. The right of evacuees to be housed in safe accommodation is fully recognized. This has to be realized while simultaneously fulfilling the right of children’s access education.

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Haïti : un recensement soutenu par l’ONU montre des progrès considérables pour l’éducation et la san

UN News Service 11 January 2013

10 Jan 2013 - Près de trois ans après le séisme dévastateur en Haïti, le Fonds des Nations Unies pour l’enfance (UNICEF) a publié jeudi les résultats préliminaires d’un recensement conduit avec le soutien de l’ONU, qui montre qu’il ya eu des progrès considérables dans les domaines de la nutrition, de la santé, de l’éducation des enfants ainsi que l’assainissement depuis 2006.

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Haïti : un recensement soutenu par l’ONU montre des progrès considérables pour l’éducation et la san

UN News Service 11 January 2013

10 Jan 2013 - Près de trois ans après le séisme dévastateur en Haïti, le Fonds des Nations Unies pour l’enfance (UNICEF) a publié jeudi les résultats préliminaires d’un recensement conduit avec le soutien de l’ONU, qui montre qu’il ya eu des progrès considérables dans les domaines de la nutrition, de la santé, de l’éducation des enfants ainsi que l’assainissement depuis 2006.

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Schools might not re-open due to floods

Daily Nation 3 January 2013

02 Jan 2013 - Thirteen schools in Elgeyo-Marakwet and Baringo counties may not open for the first term next week due to damage to classrooms by floods.

Local leaders among them Keiyo South MP Jackson Kiptanui told Special Programmes minister Esther Murugi that local people were willing to surrender their land for reclamation if the State gave them alternative plots on safe grounds.

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Stumbling blocks to universal primary education: repetition rates decline but dropout rates high

UNESCO 26 November 2012

The latest edition of the Global Education Digest reveals the urgent need to address the high numbers of children repeating grades and leaving school before completing primary or lower secondary education. New data from the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) show that about 32.2 million primary pupils were held back a grade in 2010, and 31.2 million dropped out of school and may never return.
Entitled Opportunities Lost: The Impact of Grade Repetition and Early School Leaving, the Digest presents a wide range of UIS data and indicators to better identify the millions of children that are falling through the cracks in education systems and leaving school, often without being able to read or write.  The report is complemented by an online interactive tool allowing users to visualize repetition and dropout rates by grade in the region and country of their choice. 

The greatest challenges to the completion of primary school are found in three regions:

-      Sub-Saharan Africa, where 42% of pupils will leave school early, with about one in six leaving before Grade 2;

-      South and West Asia, where for every 100 pupils who start primary school, 33 will leave before the last grade;

-      Latin America and the Caribbean, where 17% of pupils leave school before completing primary education (see regional summaries for more findings).

The Digest also highlights some potentially good news, namely that the global repetition rate has fallen by 7% between 2000 and 2010 even though there were more children in primary school, with enrolment rates rising by 6% during the same period. Yet, high repetition rates persist in many countries:  every child starting school today in the Arab States, Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa, risks repeating a year, or more.

In countries such as Burundi or Togo, a child starting school today can expect to spend two or three years repeating a primary grade. In the case of Burundi, if the resources spent on repeating a grade were instead invested in enrolling new pupils, the country’s annual gross domestic product (GDP) could grow by 1.3%, according to the Digest. Overall, it is estimated that each year of real education a child receives (not repeating a grade) could increase his/her individual earnings by 10% and lift annual GDP globally by 0.37%.

In general, girls are less likely than boys to start school but boys are at greater risk of repeating grades and dropping out, according to the Digest. The age of pupils can be another determining factor: under-age pupils are more likely to repeat a grade, while over-age pupils tend to leave school early. Yet, according to the data, the most important issues shaping educational opportunities are household wealth and location. In general, poor children living in rural areas are more likely than urban children from rich households to repeat grades and leave school before completing primary education and attaining basic foundational skills.

“We cannot afford to ignore these findings from both a moral and economic perspective,” said Hendrik van der Pol, UIS director. “The world has just a few short years to make good on the promise to fulfill every child’s right to primary education by 2015. The data in the Digest show that school systems are reaching more children but losing them due to inefficiencies, which lead to grade repetition and early school leaving. It is far more difficult and costly to reach children once they leave school than to address the barriers and bottlenecks in the systems.”


Sub-Saharan Africa – Steady progress but daunting challenges in providing educational opportunities for a growing school-age population

In 2010, 11.4 million pupils repeated a primary grade in sub-Saharan Africa, representing more than one-third of the global total. The regional repetition rate fell slightly, from 11% to 9% between 2000 and 2010, even though school systems have been straining to provide education to a growing school-age population.

This progress is clearly seen at the national level.

-      In 1999, 15 African countries had repetition rates exceeding 20%, compared to only six countries in 2009.

-      The following countries have reduced their repetition rates by more than 10 percentage points since 1999: Cameroon, Congo, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Mozambique and Rwanda.

-      Repetition rates are 4% or lower in Ethiopia, Ghana, Mauritius, Niger and the United Republic of Tanzania.

-      However, primary education repetition rates remain very high in Burundi (36%), Togo (23%), Chad (23%), Central African Republic (23%), and Congo (23%).

Many of the children repeating grades leave school before completing primary education. The region has the highest dropout rate, which rose from 40% to 42% between 1999 and 2009. This means that more than two in five children who start school will not reach the last grade of primary education.

-      Dropout rates are highest in Chad (72%), Uganda (68%) and Angola (68%), where more than two out of three children starting primary school are expected to leave before reaching the last grade.

-      In contrast, dropout rates are lowest in Mauritius (2%) and Botswana (7%).

South and West Asia – Modest progress despite the demographic dividend

Across the region, about 9.1 million pupils in primary school repeated a grade in 2009. The situation is improving slightly. Between 2000 and 2010, the regional percentage of repeaters remained the same at about 5%, even though the number of students enrolled in primary education rose considerably. This modest progress is largely the result of improvements in four countries:

-    Nepal, which reduced its repetition rate from 26% to 12% (between 1999 and 2009);

-    Bhutan, where the rate fell from 14% to 6%;

-    Iran, where the rate fell from 5% to 2%; and

-    India, where a slight drop in the rate (from 4.3% to 3.5%) led to a significant reduction in the absolute number of pupils repeating a grade.

While primary school enrolment has risen over the past decade, growth in the school-age population has slowed considerably in the region. This represents an opportunity to not only widen access to primary education but to ensure that children complete it. However, the regional dropout rate remains high at 33% and has fallen by just two percentage points between 1999 and 2009.

The biggest changes occurred in:

-    Pakistan, where the repetition rate rose from 30% to 38% between 2004 and 2009;

-    Bhutan, which managed to reduce the rate from 18% to 9% between 1999 and 2009; and

-    India, where the repetition rate fell by ten percentage points from 38% to 28% between 1999 and 2006.

Latin America and the Caribbean – Policies yield results but high rates persist in some countries

Repetition and dropout rates remain high in some countries, but the region appears to be on the right track to meet Education for All goals.  At the regional level, the repetition rate fell from 12% to 8% between 2000 and 2010. Moreover, the absolute number of pupils repeating a grade in primary school has fallen from 8.4 million to 5.4 million over this period. While this is partly due to a corresponding decline in primary enrolment, it also reflects the success of effective policymaking, for instance.

-    Repetition rates have fallen in most countries of the region since 1999.

-    The greatest progress was made in Brazil (from 24% to 18% in 2006) and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (10% to 4%).

-    However, rates have been rising in Nicaragua, from 5% to 11%, and to a lesser extent (two to four percentage points) in the Bahamas, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Saint Kitts and Nevis, and Suriname.

The Latin American and the Caribbean region has the third-highest regional dropout rate to the last grade of primary education at 17%. Yet, the situation has been improving over the past decade, especially in Belize, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, although rates remain within the range of 15% to 24%. The lowest rates (below 5%) are found in Argentina, Cuba, Jamaica, Mexico and Uruguay.

Nevertheless, high dropout rates persist in the following countries:

-    Nicaragua, where 52% of pupils leave school without completing primary education.

-    Guatemala, with a dropout rate of 35%, followed by Saint Kitts and Nevis (26%) and Honduras (24%).


More information:

Homepage of the Global Education Digest:



Full report:

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