EI together with the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack (GCPEA), seeks your contribution to collect information for a research into responses to attacks on teachers and other education personnel during armed conflict.
Specifically, we are looking for information on the following areas:
Background to the Project
Since the UNESCO reports Education Under Attack 2007 and 2010 and the Global Monitoring Report of 2011, there has been little systematic research evaluating what works and what does not, and what types of interventions are most effective in particular contexts.
As a first step, GCPEA plans to produce a series of briefing papers delving into specific measures and assessing how they function. For this briefing paper, GCPEA will focus on protecting teachers, school administrators, and professors from attack. Frequently underpaid and under-respected, teachers and school administrators are often important members of their communities and agents of social change. They are also sometimes viewed as representatives of the state. Consequently, they may be seen as political actors and targeted for attack. This paper will contribute to the body of knowledge on, and advance the understanding of how and why teachers are attacked and how they are protected. It will identify lessons learned in protecting teachers in order to encourage successful adaptation in different conflict-affected contexts.
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Consistent with its policy that schools must be safe and secure to ensure the best possible situation for teaching and learning, and that education should advance human rights principles by promoting inclusiveness, diversity and understanding, Education International has joined major anti-bullying campaigners in the United States to create awareness in schools and communities about bullying and harassment prevention.
EI invites all teacher organisations and schools around the world to join the Stand 4 Change Day against bullying, on 3 May 2013. On this day, all school communities are invited to stand together for five minutes around noon (local time) to commit to create a safe learning environment for all students and education personnel.
To participate, schools can register at http://stand4change.org/.
The Stand 4 Change Day is an initiative of the “Stand4Change” coalition, which includes amongst others the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and the National Education Association (NEA).
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Since the adoption of the EI recommendation on ‘Education under Attack and Persecuted Teachers’ and the adoption of the EI Declaration ‘Schools Shall Be Safe Sanctuaries’, EI has engaged in advocacy initiatives to urge the international community to act to prevent violations of the right to education, to ensure the safety and security of learners, teachers, education personnel and academics everywhere and to strengthen international law and to end impunity.
Education is recognized as a fundamental right no matter what the circumstances, and so the utmost must be done to protect schools and children's right to education. The facts are different, the regions are diverse but the bottom line remains: increasingly in conflict countries and fragile States, teachers and students are putting their lives at risk simply by turning up for lessons – because rebels, armed forces and repressive regimes consider schools, universities, students and teachers as legitimate targets.
In 2012, EI condemned the massacre of children and adults in France (on 19 March, a gunman opened fire at the Ozar Hatorah school, a private Jewish college in Toulouse, leaving four dead) and in the United States (on 14 December, twenty children and six adults were killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut).
EI also expressed deep concern over the respect of the right to education in safety in the Middle East, notably in Gaza and Israel in November and in Syria in December; and in Africa with statements condemning the coup in Mali in March, which caused the closure of a large number of schools in the North of the country, and condemning the on-going conflict in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
In October, the EI Executive Board condemned the attack against Malala Yousafzai, a 14-year-old school Pakistani schoolgirl shot in the head because of her campaign for education for all in Pakistan (see a separate entry on this).
UNESCO’s latest Global Monitoring Report which analyses trends towards the achievement of the Education for All goalsexamines the devastating effects of armed conflict on education with 42% of out-of-school children living in conflict-affected countries.
The Report sets out an agenda for protecting the right to education during conflict, strengthening provision for children, youth and adults, securing education provisions in humanitarian relief and rebuilding education systems in countries emerging from conflict. Because the GMR focuses on countries in armed conflict, it fails to report on the subtle attacks involving State actors targeting mostly the higher education sector but not only. EI members report that these attacks on mostly unionized teachers promoting academic freedom, more inclusive curriculum and language of instruction, or reporting corruption in education are insidious and also occur in non conflict situations.
The GMR also explores the role of inappropriate education policies in creating conditions for violent conflict. Drawing on experience from a range of countries, it sets out solutions to make education a force for peace, social cohesion and dignity.
EI has developed a reading guide to the Report, to help teacher unions use the GMR findings to protect education, teachers and children from attack.
EI organises seminars to raise awareness on specific issues in the area of health and safety depending on the region, such as violence in school in the Europe region and HIV/AIDS prevention programme in the Africa region. EI also coordinates training programmes with the WHO in the Asia-Pacific region on effective school health programmes.
Since January 2006, EI initiated a EFAIDS (Education For All and HIV/AIDS Prevention) Programme with its partners the WHO (World Health Organisation) and EDC (Education Development Center). It combines the efforts of teachers’ unions in advocating for Education For All (EFA) at national level with their commitment to HIV/AIDS prevention in schools locally. The Programme is essentially a fusion of two previously separate initiatives, namely the HIV/AIDS Prevention Programme and the EFA Programme. For more information about this programme, please visit its website: http://www.ei-ie.org/efaids
At the world level, EI joins other Global Union Federations in the “Ban Asbestos” campaign.