ANA Editorial: Global Education – International Migrant Education in Challenging Times by Lesley Shepperson

Lesley Shepperson, MD Shepperson & Shepperson

The 17 Global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and their targets are increasingly being featured in national and international reporting as the 2030 deadline draws closer.  Adopted by United Nations Member States in 2015, they describe 17 integrated global targets to put an end to global poverty and create a sustainable, just and equitable global community.  Of the 17 goals, our primary focus is SDG 4 Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all and, SDG 10 Reduce inequality amongst and within countries with a focus on migration.

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In September 2019, United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs reported that forced migration of asylum seekers and refugees had increased at a much faster rate than voluntary migration, constituting nearly a quarter of international migrants.  In 2017, “Northern Africa and Western Asia hosted 46% of refugees and asylum seekers globally most of which (close to 90 per cent) resided in Western Asia sub-region.  Sub-Saharan Africa hosted close to 21 per cent (5.9 million), while Central and Southern Asia and Europe hosted close to 13% of the global total (3.6 million each).  The other four Sustainable Development Goal regions hosted a total of less than 9 per cent of refugees and asylum seekers” during the same period.

The Education Cannot Wait (ECW) first annual report for 2017-2018 outlines its activities in the context of the SDGs and International Migration.  As of March 2018, 172 million dollars had been raised and 82 million had been invested in 14 countries, reaching a reported 650,274 children and youth.  The target to reach 75 million children and youth when, “the number of people affected by natural disasters is projected to increase by 50 per cent by 2030 compared to the 2000-2015 period,” is challenging at best.

The report estimated, “an annual financing gap of $39 billion between 2015 and 2030 for reaching universal pre-primary, primary and secondary education of good quality in low and lower middle-income countries, equivalent to 1.6 per cent of GDP across all countries. If the gap were to be filled entirely through aid, it would require a six-fold increase in aid financing for education. For humanitarian education funding, an estimated $8.5 billion annually would be needed to reach all children in need of education support. This represents a staggering 20 times the 2016 level of education in emergencies funding”.

These are indeed unpresented times within our global community and will undoubtedly call for all humanity to contribute in a way that has not been witnessed before.  I challenge us all to seriously consider how we can be a part of the solution and act.

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