Syrian Children Dream of Education in Lebanon

A Forgotten Generation: Syrian Children Dream of Education in Lebanon

Amin and his family fled Syria ten years ago, when the conflict broke out. He was just a baby when they arrived to Jbeil, Lebanon. When he was seven, Amin first joined JRS’s activities. Today, at 10 years old, he attends the JRS learning support program at Nicolas Kluiters Centre (NKC) in the morning and a local public school in the afternoon. The learning support program is designed to provide language and homework assistance to kids registered in public schools, as well as other educational activities to help students succeed. Amin is one of many children whose families, for a variety of reasons, had to flee their home country. Growing up in an unfamiliar environment, these children are now battling for a better future in their host countries…   Complete Article  HERE

A Case for Educational Justice in Africa

A Case for Educational Justice in Africa

Affo, 29, was born in a polygamous family comprising more than two dozen children. He is the second child to have obtained a high school degree but the only one to have gone to university. For his seven years at high school, he had to balance his studies with part-time jobs to pay tuition fees and daily expenses. Affo was brought up in a place where educational opportunities are nearly non-existent. But Affo’s is not an isolated story. Rather, it’s common in Benin and the wider African continent. If we’re serious about intergenerational fairness, we need to urgently address the education problems facing millions of Affos in Africa. A widening educational inequality is a global problem but its effects are particularly dire in Africa, given the low level of literacy and the failure of education systems to adapt to the constantly evolving dynamics of learning. While the global literacy rate stands at 90 percent, the average in Africa is about 70 percent. But this continental average does not provide an accurate understanding of the realities.  Complete Article  HERE

Pakistani Buses Speed Women to Education, Jobs

New Bus Line Speeds Pakistani Women to Education, Jobs

Pakistani student Mah Jabeen credits a new public bus system in her home city with saving her from being stuck at her parents’ house doing chores – or even having to get married. Thanks to the Bus Rapid Transit system in the northwestern city of Peshawar, Ms. Jabeen said she had been able to continue her master’s degree—keeping alive her dreams of becoming a botanist. “My parents had decided to stop my education … because they didn’t like me traveling in the disheveled Mazda wagons,” Ms. Jabeen said, referring to the city’s privately run minibuses while sitting on a shiny BRT bus en route to college. They relented, she said, because the new bus stop was just a few minutes from her front door and dropped her off at the university gates. Launched in 2020, the BRT has proved hugely popular among women in the ultra-conservative city, where burqas and veils are standard female dress and 90 percent of women reported feeling unsafe using public transport in a 2016 survey.  Complete Article  HERE

Afghan Girls Waiting for Mobile School

Mobile Schools Provide Hope for Afghan Children—Especially for Girls

“Afghanistan’s education system has been devastated by more than three decades of sustained conflict. For many of the country’s children, completing primary school remains a distant dream—especially in rural areas and for girls—despite recent progress in raising enrollment.In the poorest and remote areas of the country, enrollment levels vary extensively and girls still lack equal access” (UNICEF— https://www.unicef.org/afghanistan/education).  Afghan volunteers have organized a mobile educational program to tour remote areas, giving children hope after the Taliban closed schools for girls in March. An Afghan NGO, Pen Path, gives lessons and library books to children who might otherwise be starved of any opportunity to learn. Pictorial Essay Begins  HERE

Students attend a class at the beginning of the school year amid fears of the spread of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) in Sanaa, Yemen

How Yemeni Parents Are Banding Together to Keep Their Kids in School

Seven years into a deadly and devastating war, thousands of Yemeni parents are using what little they have left to fight for an untold victim of the country’s conflict: their childrens’ education. Ahmed Mahdi, 50, is one of them. The father of three drives a taxi in Yemen’s Houthi rebel-held capital city of Sana’a. He was already struggling to make ends meet by 2016, a year into the conflict between the rebels and Yemen’s internationally recognized government, which is backed by a Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates-led coalition. That year, the government decamped from Sana’a to Aden and moved the central bank there too. After that, teachers at the public schools Mahdi’s three high-schoolers attended stopped receiving regular salaries, along with around 170,000 teachers and many more public servants in parts of the country controlled by the Houthis. Complete Article  HERE

Philippine School Trolley

Trolley School Helps Philippine Children Keep Their Education on Track

A brightly decorated wooden trolley rumbles down a little-used rail track in the southern Philippines carrying four young teachers—two on the front and two in the back—pushing it along with their feet. Kitted out with a whiteboard, colorful charts, and a stack of books, the tiny, mobile school slides along from village to village three times a week, bringing education to impoverished children near the city of Tagkawayan as the COVID-19 pandemic keeps schools shut in much of the South-East Asian archipelago. “It’s important that we do this, especially now that there is a pandemic and the children cannot do face-to-face learning,” Shaira Berdin, one of nine volunteers who operate the trolley, said in an interview as kids crouched in the grass by the railway track, thumbing through English books. Tagkawayan is a town of about 54,000 people in Quezon province, about 176 kilometers south-east of Manila…  Complete Article HERE

This is an image of at least 16 Afghan girls, wearing headscarves and winter coats who are huddled together on the floor of a secret classroom, while a female teacher writes on a dry-erase board in Arabic. Image linked to individual blog post.

Huddled in Secret Schools, Afghan Girls Refuse to Give Up on Education

Behind a yellow door in an alley blanketed by snow, 25 girls sit on the floor, huddled in coats and headscarves, in front of a white board. “What are you doing?” the teacher asks in English. “I am a student!” they chant in unison. Their plastic shoes that are piled outside the door are a symbol of extraordinary courage: six months after the Taliban seized power in Kabul, crushing the dreams of women and girls by banning them from secondary education, some are fighting back. They are going to secret classes in clandestine schools. “I want to be an educated person,” says Yalda, 11, eyes shining under a scarlet scarf. “I want to be an engineer and build beautiful schools and homes in my country.” Kamila, 16, had heard stories from her mother about secret schools under the previous Taliban regime in the 1990s but never imagined she might end up in one. “I thought the world is too developed. But here we are.” She dreams of a brighter future: “I want to go to university to be an investigative lawyer, particularly helping those who can’t pay.” When the girls heard about a secret school in their area, they were overjoyed. They bravely insisted that they are not scared of being caught. “Learning is not a crime,” Fatima, 12, saidComplete Article HERE

JP_The Emirati Curriculum_Bennett and MBZ (MS)

The Emirati School Curriculum: When Peace Goes to School

When President Isaac Herzog flies to the United Arab Emirates on Sunday, marking the first official visit of an Israeli president to the Gulf state, he will be welcomed by the man who is arguably the Middle East’s most effective educational reformer. According to The New York Times, Crown Prince Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, also known as MBZ, undertook a bottom-up review of all of his country’s vulnerabilities to terrorist attacks after 9/11. Among other things, MBZ took a long, hard look at the UAE’s education ministry which Islamists had previously made into a state within a state of sorts, demanding a sweeping rewrite of the country’s textbooks. … The UAE is developing strategically to secure a stake in the emerging world order and understands that education for tolerance and peaceful coexistence is critical for societies to flourish. Emirati students are taught that prosperity and national pride are intrinsically linked to peace and tolerance, a theme that runs throughout the curriculum. Textbooks take the psychological well-being of their students seriously, educating young generations morally and spiritually for a rapidly changing global society… Complete Article HERE

JI_Arab Influencer Pushing Abraham Accords from UAE

The Arab Influencer Pushing the Abraham Accords From Abu Dhabi

At the age of 28, when Loay Alshareef, then a French language student from Saudi Arabia, stumbled into his homestay in Paris to discover he was surrounded by Stars of David—his instinct was to turn on his heels and find another family to stay with. “I didn’t feel comfortable at the beginning,” he told The Circuit. Putting it mildly, Alshareef said he “didn’t have positive views about Israel or about the Jewish people,” at that time, in 2010. “I called the school and they said ‘take your time'”—and with the gentle guidance of his “wise” host mother, he did. “There are good Jews, bad Jews, good Christians, bad Christians, good Muslims, bad Muslims—but this is not what we were taught. We were told that the Jews are conspiring against Muslims and the Jews are evil, the Jews hate Muslims from the bottom of their hearts. And to me, it was very baffling.” Today, Alshareef is fully invested in building bridges between Jews and Arabs, but understands the inherent challenges in doing so. “You cannot blame” people, he said, for “being taught for 70 years hatred towards Jews and Israel.” Today, he noted, Saudi Arabia is undergoing a “great change,” leaving behind previous education curricula that he described as “disastrous.”  Complete Article HERE

Kurdish Education in Turkey: A Joint Responsibility

Turkish elites often see Kurds as posing a mortal threat to their homeland’s territorial integrity. Kurdish elites often harbor pan-Kurdish dreams of their own. The rise to power of Erdogan’s Islamist Justice and Development Party (AKP) in 2002 appeared to imply a watershed, bringing about a measure of cultural liberalization toward the Kurds. More Islam seemed at first to signal less nationalistic chauvinism. IMPACT-se, a think tank focusing on peace and tolerance in school education, pointed out that the AKP government introduced liberal elements to the Turkish curriculum. These “included the introduction of a Kurdish language elective program, the teaching of evolution, expressions of cultural openness, and displays of tolerance toward minorities. … a slight improvement over past textbooks in recognizing the Kurds, but they are still generally ignored.” [Yet] the name “Kurd” is no longer obliterated from the curriculum. Kurdish-language textbooks were authored as part of a wider Turkish-Kurdish rapprochement. … But this is not enough. A Turkish-Kurdish common vision should be developed. Educationally, a serious effort should be directed toward educating both Turks and Kurds about each other’s identity, culture, shared history, commonalities, conflicts, and interactions… Complete Article  HERE