ZongoNews Editorial: Global Education – International Migrant Destinations (Part 7) by Lesley Shepperson

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Lesley Shepperson is Managing Director at Shepperson & Shepperson Consultants, United Kingdom

In our last international migration article, we found that less than half of the international migrants were women and that for Africa this number had declined during the last fifteen years.  In September 2016 a United Nations General Assembly adopted an outcome document relating to the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants that addresses the movement of large numbers of refugees and migrants.  The document is an interesting one.  There is a recognition that Member States need to take steps to “address the particular vulnerabilities of women and children during the journey from country of origin to country of arrival.  This includes their potential exposure to discrimination and exploitation as well as to sexual, physical and psychological abuse, violence, human trafficking and contemporary forms of slavery”.  The Declaration continues to say that “we will ensure that our responses to large movements of refugees and migrants maintain a gender perspective, promote gender equality and empowerment of all women and girls and fully respect and protect the human rights of women and girls” and “we will take into consideration the different needs, vulnerabilities and capacities of women, girls, boys and men”. 

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The recognition “that the lack of educational opportunities is often a push factor for migration” is welcome as is the commitment to strengthening capacities in countries of origin, including in educational institutions” but in the interim, statelessness continues to be a significant barrier for migrants and refugees.  Children still not being able to access education in their destination country or being removed following temporary access is a serious issue and the potential impact for future generations cannot be underestimated.  Sadly, although there are a number of Conventions to protect and address statelessness, more than 50 years later, a number of Member States have still not acceded to them. 

On 01 March 2003, The Office of the Special Adviser on Africa was established to “enhance international support for Africa’s development and security, assist the Secretary-General in improving coherence and coordination of the United Nations System support to Africa and facilitate inter-governmental deliberations”.  On its adoption by the General Assembly on 15 October 2012 it was also mandated to “establish a monitoring mechanism to review the commitments made towards Africa’s development”.  Preparations are underway for the third review of these commitments and a report will be submitted to the 73rd session of the General Assembly in October 2018.  Let’s hope that it contains good news. 

The United Emirate States has the largest migrant share of the total population and it the 6th of the 12 international migration hotspots.  Education at primary and secondary level is compulsory and consists of 4 stages.  Children attend kindergarten between the ages of 4 and 5 before entering primary school at age 6 for a further 5 years.  During this stage, children undertake a preparatory phase between the ages of 14 and 15 before entering into either secondary school at the age of 15 and leaving at 18 with a Secondary School Leaving Certificate or Diploma or, technical secondary school leaving the age of 18 with a Technical Secondary Certificate or Diploma. 

The Ministry of Education oversees the quality of education and develops, monitors and reforms educational activities.

Lesley Shepperson is Managin Director at Shepperson & Shepperson Consultants LTD. United Kingdom

www.sheppersonandshepperson.co.uk