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

Lesley Shepperson, MD Shepperson & Shepperson

According to the United Nations Department of Economics and Social Affairs (UN DESA), international migration increased by approximately 51 million between the years 2010 and 2019 to 272 million.  In September 2019 it was reported, “Because the number of international migrants is growing faster than the total population, their share of the world’s population has been increasing. Currently, international migrants comprise 3.5 per cent of the global population, compared to 2.8 per cent in the year 2000. In the North, (Europe and Northern America, plus Australia, New Zealand and Japan) almost 12 of every 100 inhabitants are international migrants, compared to only 2 in 100 in the South (Africa, Asia excluding Japan, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Oceania excluding Australia and New Zealand).”

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In this context we look at the Education Cannot Wait (ECW) Gender Strategy 2018-2021 Advancing Gender Equality in Education in Emergencies.  In this document Gender Equality is defined as “the equal rights, responsibilities, and opportunities for women and men, girls and boys, to access and control social, economic, and political resources, and to participate fully in decision making and leadership.”  This definition is an important one as the focus is on access to resources rather than fairness and justice for those who have been gender marginalised.

Five Collective Outcomes and supporting strategies are outlined.  For conciseness I will limit reference to one strategy per outcome ; Strengthened Equity & Gender Equality – Addressing socio-cultural and gender norms and barriers to education and participation in decision making and leadership; Increased Access – Addressing household time/care burdens and poverty through cash transfers and school feeding; Safe and Protective Learning Environment and Education – Preventing violence by peers, teachers, humanitarian actors (including sexual and gender-based violence and exploitation, bullying, corporal punishment); Improved Learning and Skills – Establishing gender-responsive curricula and teaching practices, including social and emotional learning and life skills; Greater continuity and sustainability – Reducing forced and early marriage and early pregnancy.

The issue of sustainability has long been an issue for interventions.  To mitigate this, ECW uses a three phased financing model: First Emergency Response Window, Multi-year Resilience Window and, Acceleration Facility. Both the second and the third windows are designed to support sustainability.

Given that the role of ECW is to bring about change through the provision of funds to drive focussed initiatives, ensuring implementation will not be without its challenges.  To help mitigate this the strategy states that it will “draw from and contribute to system-wide guidance – both the development and humanitarian structures and guidance”.

I look forward to seeing the outworking of these partnerships.

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