» Posts tagged: ‘education

posted by Roy Huijsmans

TeachUNICEF‘ is an online portfolio offering ‘free global education resources’ on topics ranging from ‘human trafficking’ to ‘peace education’. Resources include lesson plans, stories, and multimedia resources, all with the stated aim of supporting and creating ‘well-informed global citizens who understand interconnectedness, respect and value diversity, have the ability to challenge injustice and inequities and take action in personally meaningful ways’.

The resources appear designed for consumption in the Global North, or in some instances for the USA specifically as is evident from question 4.3 of Lesson 1 in the ‘End Trafficking’ pack for grades 6-8:

‘Where does human trafficking occur in the United States?’ (the correct answer is given as: ‘Human trafficking has been reported in all 50 states, with particularly high rates in California, Texas, Florida, and New York’

Furthermore, the lesson plans are made ‘age appropriate’. In the same lesson pack on Ending Trafficking it is for example suggested that ‘sex trafficking’ may be omitted from the lessons on child trafficking ‘due to the age of the intended audience’. For this reason, the resources including sex trafficking have been marked as ‘optional’ and should these be included, UNICEF ‘recommend[s] that you collaborate with and gain the support of your administration, school mental health professionals, and your students’ families before including this mature content’.

The site also includes an interactive map, allowing educators to scroll the globe and to navigate from a PODCAST on ‘the recruitment of child soldiers in Somalia’ to a VIDEO on ‘UNICEF reponds to nutrition crisis in the Sahel’ pinned down in Chad, and to ‘Action: Advocacy’ pinned down in the USA.

In short, TeachUNICEF offers plenty of material to study the representation of geographies of development. A study of the ‘consumption’ of these ‘global resources’ in classrooms in the Global North would also be of great interest. This would illuminate how these lessons (plans) are appropriated in diverse settings and this may shed some light on whether the stated aims of TeachUNICEF are indeed achieved.


Posted by Roy Huijsmans

In their efforts to increase global school attendance UNESCO acclaims that ‘We cannot afford to ignore the data’. But what about representations of ‘development and education’ in both text and image in global education campaigns? Does it matter that we speak about ‘children slipping away’, and what to make of ‘catch these kids while we can’? Whose is the ‘we’? Why ‘catch’? What is written out of the script through such representations?

And what about the metaphor of school as an hot-air balloon? Is here a parallel drawn between physical laws and the role of schooling in upward social mobility? What sort of questions are here then erased, and how does this, for example, relate to rising concerns about ‘educated unemployment‘?

Budget cuts as opportunity?

Category: aid| education

19 Nov 2012

posted by Roy Huijsmans

The Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE) posted on its website an interesting interview with Corien Sips, a representative of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the INEE working group on Education and Fragility).

Sips explains that the former Dutch cabinet that came to power in October 2010 had decided that:

basic education is no longer a priority in itself, but should be positioned as an instrument for four new priorities, including security and rule of law. In practice, this meant the cabinet decided for budget cuts in the field of basic education, and focused the remaining part of the aid budget more towards the new priorities.

In order to understand the significance of the above it is important to know that in 2002 the Dutch had decided to increase the share of aid to basic education to 15% of the total offical Dutch development cooperation budget by 2007. Consequently, Dutch aid money to basic education went up from about €200 million in 2004 to about €700 million in 2007.

Hence, budget cuts and the de-prioritisation of basic education will no doubt have had major implications on receiving countries. However, rather than reflecting on this Sips states that:

In my opinion this policy shift provided new opportunities


Data on African schools

Category: research

5 May 2012
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Unesco - Institute for statistics
3 May 2012
School Conditions in Africa
In African countries, how many schools have potable water, electricity or separate toilets for girls? What is the average class size in primary schools and to what extent do pupils share textbooks? How many teachers are joining and leaving the workforce in countries across the continent each year?
To better evaluate the challenges facing schools in sub-Saharan Africa, the UIS has developed a new regional data collection to monitor progress on education priorities articulated in the African Union’s Second Decade of Education. Learn more about the data, which are presented in an analytical paper and dynamic graphics available on the UIS website.
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Visit our website to access the UIS Data Centre and download other reports.

International Institute of Social Studies

ISS is an international graduate school of policy-oriented critical social science. It brings together students and teachers from the Global South and the North in a European environment.