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Schools are being attacked in Ukraine

On March 4, a high school was destroyed by air warfare in the city of Zhytomyr, Ukraine. There were no children in the school, which was closed as a result of the war, but teachers were found hiding in the basement after the strikes had ended.

Attacks that indiscriminately strike civilian objects, such as schools, violate international humanitarian law and would constitute a war crime. Schools should be entitled to heightened protections as long as they are not used for military purposes.

There are no verifiable statistics given the current circumstances of the number of schools that have been attacked in Ukraine, although one figure circulating on global media cites 211 schools so far. The conflict in eastern Ukraine since 2014 had already destroyed, damaged or forced the closure of more than 750 schools, according to Save the Children.

 

While all evidence online needs to be verified, many individual examples of school attacks can be found on Twitter, including a hole in the wall of a school caused by a missile, a video of a kindergarten blown to bits in Kharkiv, and photos of a kindergarten destroyed in Chernihiv. Amnesty International also confirmed that a 220mm Uragan rocket dropped cluster munitions on the Sonechko nursery and kindergarten in the town of Okhtyrka in Sumy Oblast, where local people were seeking safety from the fighting.

Despite the mounting evidence, the Russian military is denying targeting residential areas.

Quite apart from the long-term damage this bombardment will cause to Ukraine’s education system, the conflict has also created a more immediate challenge for the education of the country’s children and youth right now. There are well over 1.7 million people already on the move out of Ukraine. As was documented in the 2019 GEM Report on migration and displacement, it is vital that these children are quickly integrated into local schools, and their language and psychosocial needs met. Teachers will also require support to cope with their experiences and to find work in new countries.

There will be no child untouched by this fight. The determination and energy of high school students filmed in this video near the start of the war is something we should support as they cross into neighbouring countries looking for safe havens.

Our latest 2012/2 GEM Report reported against SDG Indicator 4.a.3, which serves to monitor the number of attacks on students, personnel and institutions. The data for this indicator are compiled by the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack (GCPEA), of which the GEM Report is a member, and are based on observations and reports by various actors on the ground.

In 2011, our team produced the 2011 GEM Report and turned the world’s attention to education in conflict.  The volume of support for the messages in the Report resulted in a new UN Resolution recognizing attacks on schools as violations of human rights.

All attacks on schools are indiscriminate. There is no excuse.

The post Schools are being attacked in Ukraine appeared first on World Education Blog.

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Uganda schools reopen after almost two years of Covid closure

Africa/Uganda/14-01-2022/Author and Source: www.kbc.co.ke

Children in Uganda have expressed their joy at finally returning to school nearly two years after they were closed because of Covid.

“I am really excited because it’s been a long time without seeing our teachers. And we have missed out a lot,” Joel Tumusiime told the BBC.

“I am glad to be back at school,” echoed another, Mercy Angel Kebirungi.

But after one of the world’s longest school closures, authorities warned at least 30% of students may never return.

Some have started work, while others have become pregnant or married early, the country’s national planning authority said.

About 15 million students have been affected by the closure, the government says.

“We can’t let this happen again. We must keep schools open for every child, everywhere,” the UN children’s agency, Unicef, warned on Twitter.

Some classes reopened in October 2020 temporarily but closed again in May and June of the following year.

While schools were closed, there have been some lessons via the radio, TV and newspapers while some schools have provided printed materials, but these have not reached everyone.

Wealthier Ugandans have also been able to access online classes and home tutors.

But many children have not been to school for about 22 months.

One pupil explained how she continued learning during the long hiatus.

“My parents never had the time to study with me. When schools were closed, I was able to read, but on my own. Sometimes I would meet with friends to study,” said Christine Teburwa. Like Joel and Mercy, she is in Primary Five, meaning they are between nine and 11 years old.

Pupils who have not had any education since March 2020 will resume classes a year above where they were before the pandemic.

However, some parents in the capital, Kampala, questioned this.

“My children have not been learning at all. I wish they could be allowed to continue from where they stopped,” Rachael Nalumansi said.

“Before the first lockdown, our children had only been in school for two weeks. So it is a bit concerning that they are now promoting them to the next class,” Vanetta Bangi said.

For those students who have not accessed any form of studying during the pandemic, the curriculum will be abridged to focus on core areas and give them a chance to catch up.

Lessons were already underway at some schools I visited on Monday morning while at others, students were still cleaning classrooms and re-organising their desks. Others were still registering with the school administration.

Boarding school students in Kampala and the nearby districts will start throughout the week, to avoid congestion on public transport.

Despite authorities instructing that health and safety measures like masks and social distancing should be in place, not all institutions have the space or facilities to ensure that these steps are properly followed. Some have huge numbers of students and very few classrooms.

But it is not only learners who will struggle, but many parents’ incomes were also hit by the pandemic, and some will find it difficult to raise money for tuition fees and other school requirements.

The phased reopening of schools, which started in November with universities and higher education institutions, was pegged to the vaccination of over 550,000 teachers, their support staff, and students aged 18 and above.

Uganda, which has had some of the world’s strictest lockdowns, is now moving to fully reopen the economy despite being at the start of its third wave of the pandemic driven by the Omicron variant.

Source an Image: https://www.kbc.co.ke/uganda-schools-reopen-after-almost-two-years-of-covid-closure/

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Kenya: Parents decry high cost of living as schools’ re-open

Africa/Kenya/07-01-2022/Author: Source: www.kbc.co.ke

The business community and parents in Narok town have decried a high cost of living as children re-open schools for the third term.

Many parents were forced to do minimum shopping for their children as they lamented of hiked prices of essential commodities like sanitary goods and stationery.

Joyce Naeni, a mother of four said despite her heavy savings, she could not afford all the commodities she needed for her children who are in classes eight, seven, grade five and grade three who school at Blessed Narok academy in Narok town.

“I used to spend Ksh 5, 000 to buy essential goods for my children, however, the prices of these commodities have increased and I am forced to do the same shopping with Ksh 10, 000,” she said.

Johnston Sadera, who owns a uniform shop in Narok Tsaid he had calculated of making profits during this season that schools are opening but was wrong as only a few customers knocked at his doorsteps.

Sadera said he is opting for other options like farming to make money as he could not rely on his uniform shop to earn a living.

“This year is so different from other years. Before, I used to make a lot of money in the month of January. I will be forced to venture into different activities where I can earn a living,” said the businessman.

Rose Moraa, a mother of three secondary school children asked the Ministry of Education to allow all children in school, even those who had not cleared school fees saying it is hard for her to afford the school fees of her three children at once.

Ms Moraa who hawks tea and snacks in Narok town called on well-wishers to help support those bright but poor children to complete their education.

A spot check on the transport sector indicated that the Matatus had hiked fares to various towns making the parents dig deeper into their pockets to have the children go back to school.

At the Narok Line bus stop that operates between Narok and Nairobi, the fare had been increased from Ksh 400 to Ksh 600 owing to the many passengers who had queued to travel.

Source and Image: https://www.kbc.co.ke/parents-decry-high-cost-of-living-as-schools-re-open/

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Kenya: Five students charged with attempted arson, remanded at children’s home

Africa/Kenya/19-11-2021/Author: Source: www.kbc.co.ke

Five students from Itierio Girls High School in Kisii County were today arraigned before a Kisii law court for allegedly attempting to set ablaze a school dormitory.

The students who were charged with attempted arson contrary to Section 333 (a) of the Penal Code, pleaded not guilty.

The accused through their lawyer, requested the Court to be released on bond, saying they were innocent until proven guilty and assured the Court that the parents shall avail them when needed.

Senior Resident Magistrate, Paul Mutai, ruled that the minors be remanded at Manga Children’s Remand Home in Nyamira, pending the processing of a surety Bond of Ksh 50,000 or Cash Bail worth Ksh 20,000 each.

The case will be mentioned on the 29th of November.

The students were arrested on the 11th of November for alleged involvement in an attempt to set fire to a building named Elgon Dormitory, a property of Itierio Girls High School, at around 4.00 am on the 9th of November.

Recently, a series of reports involving school fires in various parts of the country have been witnessed and this has led to the arrest of some students.

Source and Image: https://www.kbc.co.ke/five-students-charged-with-attempted-arson-remanded-at-childrens-home/

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Kenya: It’s time to introduce corporal punishment in schools, KUPPET says

Africa/Kenya/12-11-2021/Author: Source: www.kbc.co.ke

The recent wave of arson attacks in schools has seen a good number of secondary schools torched, leaving authorities with no option but close some of the affected institutions.

Amid questions over the motives behind the fires, education stakeholders are proposing drastic measures to curb this trend. The Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (KUPPET) wants the Ministry of Education to allow the use of physical punishment so as to ensure more immediate compliant behavior in children.

“Our proposal to the ministry and the teachers service commission is let us bite the bullet and introduce corporal punishment,” KUPPET Busia Branch Secretary-General Morphat Okisai

Besides corporal punishment, Okasai says learners found guilty of indiscipline should be suspended and expelled from school in order to serve as an example to the rest.

“As it stands now, we have allowed the rights of children to override the rights of everybody else,” a tough-talking Okisai charged.

He says learning institutions must be protected from being razed down at all costs to prevent education in the country from being jeopardized by a few “bad elements” in society.

And that’s not all. Okasai says the ministry should consider employing full-time counselors to address student unrest and the torching of schools. He says the counselors who will be enlisted for school programs should be put into the Teachers Service Commission payroll.

He wants the ministry to find a long-lasting solution, reiterating that granting mid-term breaks to students is not a remedy to school unrest.

Source and Image: https://www.kbc.co.ke/its-time-to-introduce-corporal-punishment-in-schools-kuppet-says/

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Kenya: Kakamega High School students safe after fire incident

Africa/Kenya/07-11-2021/Author:

A dormitory at Kakamega High School was early Saturday morning razed down.

According to the school principal Gerald Orina, the fire is believed to have started at 5.30 am when students were in for their morning preps.

Orina said that the fire destroyed property for over about 140 students.

The cause of the fire is yet to be established, with authorities saying no casualties have been reported.

Confirming the incident, Deputy OCPD Kakamega Central Daniel Mutisya said watchmen heard a loud bang from one corner of the dormitory followed by billowing smoke.
They then alerted school management.
In the early morning incident, no student was injured.
Photo Courtesy

The fire comes after a spate of fires was witnessed in other schools which include Buruburu Girls High School, Chavakali High School, ABC Katelembo Mixed SecondarySigalame High School, Moi High School Kabarak and Kahuhia Girls Secondary School

In Buruburu Girls, students received treatment for smoke inhalation at the Metropolitan Hospital in Nairobi after a fire broke out in one of the dorms at around 5 pm on Sunday while a dorm in Chavakali Boys’ Secondary School also went ablaze on the same day at around 6 pm.

On November 1st, a fire also razed a boys’ dormitory at ABC Katelembo Mixed Secondary in Katheka Kai of Machakos County at 5 am Monday morning, two days later on Tuesday another fire broke out at Kahuhia Girls Secondary School.

The current trend of fires breaking out in schools becoming a regular occurrence provoked a response from the government which is vowing stern punishment against students found to have started fires in schools.

At the Coast, Regional Commissioner John Elungata announced that authorities will move into all schools that have reported school fires and carry out investigations. And he cautioned that this will not be a public relations exercise as those involved in arson attacks will be apprehended.

“We have resolved that the police will follow these culprits – because it is not difficult to get them as they are among fellow students, – arrest and prosecute them because destroying school property is akin to destroying their own homes,” he charged.

The regional boss said students above 18 years would be jailed like any other criminals while minors would be committed to borstal institutions as they continue with their education.

Source and Image: https://www.kbc.co.ke/kakamega-high-school-students-safe-after-fire-incident/

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Kenya: 90 schools to get internet connection under Digital Literacy Programme

Africa/Kenya/20-08-2021/Author and Source: www.kbc.co.ke

Nokia, Safaricom, UNICEF, the Ministry of Education and Ministry of ICT have announced a joint initiative that will connect at least 90 schools with high speed internet.

Under the Digital Leraning Programme, the initiative aims to ‘connect the unconnected’, with the ultimate goal of supporting the Kenyan Government’s plans to scale broadband connection to all schools by 2030.

“As part of our Transforming Lives purpose and vision to become a purpose-led technology company, we are always looking for partnerships that allow us to use our services to deliver social impact in areas aligned to the Sustainable Development Goals. Our shared value partnership with UNICEF and Nokia allows us to connect schools in underprivileged areas and increase access to digital literacy. This will ensure that the students there are not left behind when it comes to reaping the benefits of an ever-increasing digital society,” said Peter Ndegwa, CEO of Safaricom.

The connected schools are spread across rural and informal urban settlements in Kenya, serving an estimated 32,670 students.

Schools are using Nokia’s FastMile 4G Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) broadband solution to provide reliable, high-speed connectivity delivered over Safaricom’s 4G/LTE network. Nokia’s meshed WiFi Beacon technology is used to boost the Internet signal in selected classrooms and computer labs.

“An important belief that we hold at Nokia is the need to provide ‘broadband for all’. With remote learning becoming the prevailing issue during the Covid-19 pandemic, the topic of digital equity takes center stage again, so we are excited that this collaboration will facilitate access to many students currently unconnected. This is an initiative we are very proud to be a part of and hope that it is a significant step to a brighter future for all those reaping its benefits,” said Amr K. El Leithy, Nokia Senior Vice-president for Middle East and Africa Market.

The importance of good connectivity has been highlighted during the COVID-19 pandemic. School closures in Kenya in 2020 meant that children had to stay at home for six to nine months, leaving them reliant on remote learning.

The digital divide meant that students who could access the internet were better placed to continue with their learning.

“Children have a right to access quality education wherever they are, yet for too long, the digital divide has prevented disadvantaged children from enjoying the same benefits as their connected peers. By connecting schools to the Internet – with a focus on the most disadvantaged areas – we can start to level the playing field. This allows students and teachers to gain digital skills and access the latest education materials, providing a brighter future for some of the most vulnerable children in Kenya,” added Maniza, UNICEF Kenya Country Representative.

Schools equipped with a broadband connection, digital devices and teacher training will now be able to make better use of video communication, digital curricula and online content, thereby improving digital literacy and skills among school children.

Source and Image: https://www.kbc.co.ke/90-schools-to-get-internet-connection-under-digital-literacy-programme/

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