UNICEF warns of a children generation deprived of schooling in Middle East

Education under fire _pict 2

Around the world millions of children are living violent conflicts leaving them both physical and psychological scars. In this context, attending to school is no longer a viable option, condemning their future opportunities and the chances of their entire nation. A recent report by UNICEF provides a new vision on Middle East and North Africa wars focusing on its impact on children’s education. According to UNICEF, today more than 13 million children, 40 percent of the affected areas’ school aged population, are not going to school due to violent conflicts in the region. This scenario differs from the situation the region held a few short years ago in which the goal of universal education was well within reach.

As a response to this situation several initiatives have been launched by United Nations, non-governmental organizations and international donors.  Some of these programs are the No Lost Generation Initiative or the Back to-learning Campaigns, focused on establishing schools where children can catch up on classes they missed or distributing education supplies. Also, e-learning tools are permitting children to study without having to travel and exposing themselves to dangerous situations. Actions on promoting schooling are essential because the hopes and chances of a generation are at stake.

About Finland's school success… and about what America keeps ignoring

Thi is an excerpt from an article by Anu Partanen in The Atlantic:  Read the full original article in The Atlantic

The Scandinavian country is an education superpower because it values equality more than excellence.

Everyone agrees the United States needs to improve its education system dramatically, but how? One of the hottest trends in education reform lately is looking at the stunning success of the West’s reigning education superpower, Finland. Trouble is, when it comes to the lessons that Finnish schools have to offer, most of the discussion seems to be missing the point. […]

Finland’s schools owe their newfound fame primarily to one study: the PISA survey, conducted every three years by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The survey compares 15-year-olds in different countries in reading, math, and science. Finland has ranked at or near the top in all three competencies on every survey since 2000, neck and neck with superachievers such as South Korea and Singapore. In the most recent survey in 2009 Finland slipped slightly, with students in Shanghai, China, taking the best scores, but the Finns are still near the very top. Throughout the same period, the PISA performance of the United States has been middling, at best. […]

This article is a good reading to introduce some of the aspects that will be discussed in IX International Seminar of the UNESCO Chair in e-Learning, which will take place in october 2012 . Mark your calendar: October 4-5, 2012. More info soon…

Teacher Training, Taught by Students (NY Times)

Read the full article in | The New York Times Article by Winnie Hu

Teacher Training

[…] The idea of using students to help teachers sharpen their skills came from the National Urban Alliance’s trainers, who, while working with Newark’s teachers, observed how easily students on the playground seemed to teach one another the latest dances or games.

“It’s just so natural for them,” said the group’s chief of staff, Ahmes Askia, who oversees the Newark program. “Their friends get it, and they get it almost effortlessly, so we’re saying to the teachers: use that in the classroom.” […]

Photo by | Ianz under a CreativeCommons BY-SA 2.0 Licence