Poverty and Quality of Education Addressed by Speakers During EAA Sessions on First Day of WISE Summit 2015

Reem Fakhri's picture
Reem Fakhri

At this year’s WISE Summit, Education Above All Foundation is exploring some of the key factors affecting education access around the world. Today, on the opening day of the 2015 WISE Summit sessions, EAA convened panels addressing two of these factors – poverty and quality. Against the backdrop of the recently-adopted Sustainable Development Goals reinforcing the importance of education’s role on the development agenda, speakers from government, NGOs and multilateral organisations addressed timely and relevant topics via the platform of EAA’s programmes.

During a session organised by EAA’s Educate A Child programme dedicated to the issue of poverty, called “Current Education Financing Mechanisms and Promising Options”, speakers discussed the issue of financing education. Moderated by Dr Nick Burnett, Managing Director, Results for Development, speakers for this session included: Julia Gillard, Board Chair, Global Partnership for Education; Ichiro Miyazawa, UNESCO Bangkok; Nadia Bernasconi, Norwegian Refugee Council, Louis Falcy, International Rescue Committee; and international consultant Claire Trainar.

Commenting on the session, Dr. Mary Joy Pigozzi, Director of Educate A Child, said, “We must take a holistic look at the role that poverty plays in impacting access to education through a deeper understanding of the specific barriers in different regions. By identifying innovative projects that address the root causes that keep children out of school we can ensure benefits for children in some of the most poverty-stricken places in the world. No one-size-fits all solution will work, nor will it work fast enough to keep the promise to the world’s out of school children to provide access to quality education programmes.”

Ms Bernasconi and Mr Falcy highlighted the approaches of two EAA co-funded projects in Côte D’Ivoire. These two EAC partner projects illustrated how financial burdens can be alleviated for local communities in two different ways tailored to the specific circumstances on the ground. Speakers concluded that poverty alleviation is possible, and that despite the challenges of financing education, we must not give up on our promise to the millions of children around the world who remain out of school. There are small and large solutions to address these challenges, and practical action on the ground, at local level, is a good starting point. This must be mirrored by efforts on the national and international level.

Nick Burnett, Managing Director of Results for Development, said, “When it comes to education, there are a lot of things that are clear and one thing that is not. The economic benefit of education, the scale of the out of school problem, the goal, costs and consequences of not educating children are all well understood. What is less clear is how to finance education for all.” Said Dr. Nicholas Burnett, Managing Director, Results for Development Institute”.

In the afternoon, EAA’s Al Fakhoora programme held a session called, “Transcending the Crisis Mindset: Measuring Results, Post Conflict”. Participating in this session were: Dr Rebecca Polestico, M&E Specialist, UNESCO; Dr Yannick du Pont, Director of SPARK; Michael Schroll, Head of the Office of Independent Evaluation, Caribbean Development Bank; Dr Abla Amawi, Senior Policy Advisor, UNDP; and Nuha J. Bashir, an Al Fakhoora Master’s Scholarship Recipient. The participants, led by moderator Farooq Burney, Director of Al Fakhoora, addressed the need to change the post-conflict mindset of all stakeholders, from donors, to programme specialists. The session used a combination of moving film segments and interventions from the panellists to challenge preconceived ideas about the importance and ability to measure results in conflict-affected areas and encouraged stakeholders to approach education in these circumstances through fresh thinking.

On the final day of WISE Summit 2015, EAA will turn the spotlight to the issue of conflict. In the plenary, “Education Violence and Conflict – from Daunting Challenge to Effective Response and a following session EAA’s Protect Education in Insecurity and Conflict programme will explore how conflict and insecurity disrupt education. The session following the plenary will highlight the role better data can play in identifying trends that can lead to effective response measures and policy interventions.

Keep up with EAA at WISE Summit 2015, live on social media by following @EAA_Foundation on Twitter, @educationaboveall_eaa on Instagram and Education Above All on Facebook.



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