School violence and bullying …..a major global issue

Neuroscience tells us that threats and stress not only affects learning but is likely to limit brain development. Simply violence and bullying do not belong in any education establishment -yet for more than 100 years physical and psychological punishment has been metered out by teachers as a way to ‘discipline’ learners. As we have started to move away from institutional punishment, peer punishment still continues…Almost one in three students (32%) has been bullied by their peers at school at least once in the last month and a similar proportion is affected by physical violence, according to the publication.

Physical bullying is the most frequent type of bullying in many regions, with the exception of North America and Europe, where psychological bullying is most common. Sexual bullying is the second most common in many regions. School violence and bullying affect both male and female students. Physical bullying is more common among boys, while psychological bullying is more prevalent among girls. Online and mobile phone bullying is also shown to be increasing.

Children who are perceived as different in any way are more likely to be bullied, and physical appearance is the most common cause of bullying. The second most frequent reasons reported by students relate to race, nationality or color.

As we attempt to include more students who may look different through a process of Inclusive Education, we are presenting the bullies with even more ‘fodder’.

Why this matters: Bullying has a significant negative effect on children’s mental health, quality of life and academic achievement. Children who are frequently bullied are nearly three times more likely to feel like an outsider at school and more than twice as likely to miss school as those who are not frequently bullied. They have worse educational outcomes than their peers and are also more likely to leave formal education after finishing secondary school.

There are solutions: A number of measures have been shown to be effective in reducing or maintaining a low prevalence of school violence and bullying:

Bullying has decreased in almost half of the 71 countries and territories. These countries have a number of successful factors in common, notably a commitment to promoting a safe and positive school climate and classroom environment, effective systems for reporting and monitoring school violence and bullying, evidence-based programmes and interventions, training and support for teachers, support and referral for affected students, student empowerment and participation.

Political leadership and high-level commitment, together with a robust legal and policy framework that addresses violence against children and school violence and bullying, have proved effective in reducing or maintaining a low prevalence of school violence and bullying.

Behind the numbers: Ending school violence and bullying is one of UNESCO’s contributions to the ‘education’ campaign, a new initiative dedicated to ending violence in schools so children are free to learn, thrive and pursue their dreams. The campaign was initially conceived by members of the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children: UNESCO, UNICEF, UK Department for International Development (DFID) and the United Nations Girls Initiative (UNGEI.)

Read and download the report:  The Behind the numbers: Ending school violence and bullying 

Original source: UNESCO
Published on 22 January 2019


A crisis -teaching or learning?

From the World Bank blog:

Despite tremendous progress in getting children into the classroom, we are experiencing a global learning crisis, where a large share of children complete primary school lacking even basic reading, writing, and arithmetic skills. What explains this phenomenon? To answer this question, consider the following examples of classrooms that are unlikely to put students on a path to success. 

In Kabul, Afghanistan, a teacher begins his lesson by reading out the learning objective. He then asks one student after another to read the same information again. Over 20 minutes are spent on this activity.
In Dar es Salam, Tanzania, students are left unattended with no learning activity for the first 20 minutes of class. When the teacher arrives, he asks the students to independently solve 36 plus 19. During this time, the teacher sits at his desk. After 10 minutes, the teacher asks one student to solve the problem. When the student can’t solve it, the teacher asks another student to do it.
In Rawalpindi, Pakistan, a teacher asks students to divide four by two. He gives the students five minutes to solve the problem independently before asking a student to solve it on the board. After the student correctly solves the problem, the teacher erases it from the board and asks five more students to solve the exact same problem again.
These are not isolated examples. A growing body of evidence suggests the learning crisis is at its core, a teaching crisis (see evidence from Afghanistan, Latin America, the Philippines, and Sub-Saharan Africa). Teachers play a critical role in helping students learn (see evidence from India, Pakistan, and Uganda). However, teacher’s formal education, years of experience (beyond the first two), cognitive skills, and entry exam performance only explain a small fraction of the variation in student learning. Research from Chile, Ecuador, and Ghana highlights the crucial role teaching practices play in explaining student learning outcomes. Despite its importance, low- and middle-income countries rarely measure teaching practices. This is due, in part, to a lack of adequate classroom observation tools and high transaction costs associated with administering them.

We would not want to underestimate the power of a good teacher and certainly many teachers need further support and training -but are we missing out the student in the learning equation?

Escuela Nueva has shown the importance of engaging students through a student government and seeing students as partners rather than as objects to be ‘taught’.

We do need a revolution in education, one where we use the new research on learning from neuroscience, link it to the rights of children and provide education opportunities for all, with a very different future in mind.

Early and earliest years – a shrewd investment

Investing in the early years is one of the smartest investments a country can make to break the cycle of poverty, address inequality, and boost productivity later in life. Today, millions of young children are not reaching their full potential because of inadequate nutrition, lack of early stimulation and learning, and exposure to stress. Investments in the physical, mental, and emotional development of children — from before birth until they enter primary school – are critical for the future productivity of individuals and for the economic competitiveness of nations.

Affecting one in four children under five globally, chronic malnutrition can hamper their long-term health and cognitive development.

Governments seem unable to prioritise the early years for real investment as they may only be in power for 5 years – a true vision for a country (health ,education and environment ) demands a vision and a strategy lasting 20 years.

In Peru, however, the government has achieved staggering results in cutting the stunting rate, which was formerly one of the highest in South America. The country more than halved its rate of chronic malnutrition among children under five, from around 28% in 2008 to 13% in 2016. As a result, an estimated 377,000 young children avoided stunting between 2007 and 2016. Many countries in the region experienced economic growth, but Peru’s acceleration in cutting stunting was a result of structural changes in its approach.

Reforms were driven by the Peruvian Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF), which established a Results-Based Budgeting (RBB) system in 2008. This included analysing stunting rates in different areas and targeting resources to where they were most needed. Using real-time data, they could work out which interventions were creating impact or not, and make changes accordingly. “They really restricted it to the most critical period of life when you can still have an impact on malnutrition,”

Here in Tanzania we have nearly 50% of the children who are stunted – when will these 50% have a voice and a stake in their future potential or will they just remain a statistic?

EiE advocacy using human rights approaches

From the INEE newsletter

Webinar: EiE advocacy using human rights approaches
INEE Advocacy Working Group

Following the well-attended “Introduction to EiE Advocacy” webinar in October 2018, the INEE Advocacy Working Group (AWG), on 15 January 2019, hosted a webinar on running successful advocacy campaigns for education in emergencies – using a human rights based approach.

During the webinar, AWG members shared their knowledge and experiences developing and using advocacy strategies both on a national and international level. Successful campaigns on several topics were highlighted, including the Safe Schools Declaration, an EiE initiative in the Ukraine, and the privatisation of education. The second half of the webinar included an open discussion with participants. The webinar was conducted in English.

Click below to watch the recording of this webinar:

Webinar presenters

  • Diya Nijhowne – director of the Global Coalition on Protecting Education from Attack (GCPEA) –
  • Delphine Dorsi – executive coordinator of the Right to Education Initiative (RTE) –
  • Sylvain Aubry – Legal and Research Advisor, Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights,
  • Peter Hyll-Larsen – advocacy coordinator of the Inter-agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE) –
  • The webinar will be moderated by Gustavo Payan from Development Associates Inc (DAI)

Malala Fund’s Girl Advocate Guide

It has taken a long time to understand that all children and young people need access to quality education, free from discrimination, threat , humiliation and violence.

Malala Fund’s Girl Advocate Guide
Malala Fund 

Girls know that education can change the trajectory of their lives. That’s why around the world they are challenging people in power and demanding their right to go to school and pursue the careers they want. To support the next generation of activists, Malala Fund developed a new resource, “Raise your voice with Malala: A guide to taking action for girls’ education.”

Featuring real stories about advocacy tactics girls have successfully used to fight for their education, the guide provides girls ages 13-18 living in marginalised communities with the information and tools they need to speak out, take action and create change.

“Equipping girls with advocacy tools can help them structure their passion into a targeted strategies and give them a fighting chance for success in their local campaigns,” said Malala Fund CEO Farah Mohamed. “If Malala’s voice could stand out and affect change, imagine what millions more could do.”

Malala Fund’s Gulmakai Champions in Afghanistan, Brazil, Nigeria, India, Pakistan and Turkey will circulate the guide through national campaign efforts and use the guide with girls in their programmes — training them on how to advocate for girls’ education.

To read this full article, click here. 

Data to Nurture Learning


Launch of the SDG 4 Data Digest: Data to Nurture Learning

The UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) is launching the SDG 4 Data Digest 2018: Data to Nurture Learning, which demonstrates how data can contribute to improve learning, as ministers and policymakers gather at the Global Education Meeting in Brussels to take stock of progress towards Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG 4) on quality education for all.

Inequality in education is high on the agenda in Brussels but, as the UIS points out, it cannot be tackled without robust monitoring to track whether children, adolescents and adults are gaining the skills they need. This monitoring is vital, given the current global learning crisis, with 617 million – or six out of ten – children and adolescents worldwide unable to read a simple sentence or handle a basic mathematics calculation, according to UIS data. One-third of these children and adolescents are out of school and urgently need access to the education that is their right. But two-thirds of them are actually in school.

To view this full report, click here.

My only concern would be that we should not limit education success or failure by someone not being able to read a simple sentence (particularly as it may not be in their mother tongue!) but look for ways to measure socio-emotional development as well.

I do wonder after all the efforts put into education – why so many children cannot complete basic educational tasks. We need to question what is really happening in education and whether more progressive and child centred education,contextually orientated with increased control by the children and young people themselves would not achieve better. It is only recently that the emphasis has turned away from teaching and more onto learning -hardly revolutionary,but very obvious.

Resources – UKFIET

If we focused our attention on the most disadvantaged and developed low cost yet effective strategies -we would solve most of our education concerns. We can get people on the moon -can’t we harness technology for providing quality education for all?

Conference on Education for Children Affected by Emergencies – Resources


Theme 1: Political Economy
Theme 2: Gender and Inclusion
Theme 3: Forced Displacement

For access to the materials discussed, click here.