Launching Global Action Week for Education in Palestine “Defending Education … Time to Act”

A press conference was announced today organized by the Palestinian Education Coalition in partnership with the Ministry of Education and Higher Education,  the UNESCO Office in Palestine  and the education program at the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Refugees in the governmental conference hall. Mr. Sabri Sidem, Mr. Ludovico Fulan Kalabi - Director of the UNESCO Office in Palestine, Mr. Muhannad Baidis - Director of UNRWA's Education Program, and Ms. Magda El Masri as representative of the Palestinian Education Coalition delivered their speeches during the press conference.

The press conference was held as a prelude to launching the Global Campaign for Education, which is focusing this year on accountability to ensure that the fourth goal of education is achieved within the goals of sustainable development and citizen participation. The campaign is holding the slogan of “ Defending Education …  Time to Act”

Sidem calls for serious and practical steps to defend education

Sabri Sadeem, the Minister of Education and Higher Education, called for the need to take serious practical steps on the ground to defend education in Palestine ,especially in Jerusalem and other areas targeted by the occupation, by  the international donors and partners.

Siddam said that the Global Action Week in Palestine this year raised the slogan "Defend Education ... Time to Act", stressing that this requires everyone to initiate and defend education and support to overcome all the obstacles that stand in front of education. In addition,  he said that the week will start on the 23 of April and ends on  the 29 April, and that during this period the ministry will carry out many activities to talk about education in all schools. Thus, students will have  the opportunity to express their aspirations for the education they want by 2030.

The minister stressed on the need to uphold the determination and will as  these tools are the optimal  weapon to face of the occupation and the failing its schemes to judize  Jerusalem along with its policies aimed at "enclosing Education " in Jerusalem and areas named "C".

During the conference, Sidem addressed three messages to the world. The first was for donors and international partners, calling on them to protect education and take practical steps to stand by the educational institution. The second message was sent to Palestinian civil society, stressing the need to circumvent the educational process this came as the first laws related to education are set, which included many items and new themes and ideas. This will ensure a qualitative modern comprehensive leap  at the level of the educational sector.

In his third letter to entire educational family, he praised all the efforts that have resulted in the reaping of many international awards and the record of many achievements. Palestine was the title of the world's first teacher and the first Arab school. Of the prizes, Palestine won the prize of developing E-learning in Belgium. Furthermore,  the last of which was to obtain the first and second positions in the poetry and speech competition of the Arab countries, which was held in the Arab Republic of Egypt.

 

 Mr. Sidem spoke about the most important components that have been developed and which are the first of its kind in the educational sector, most notably the profession of education and its acceleration and other aspects.

UNESCO supports the campaign locally and regionally in collaboration with the Ministers of Education and all Global Campaign of Education networks.

Mr. Ludovico Fulan Kalabi, Director of the UNESCO Office in Palestine, said that the best launch of the Global Action Week comes with the launch of the Education Law. He offered his congratulations to the Minister of Education and to all the Palestinian people as he believed that this is considered a great achievement.

"You work every day to make education important in Palestine," Ludovic said. "The World Action Week comes to focus more on education and on the fourth development objective of education. Mr. Ludovic presented a detailed explanation of what is the Global Action Week, which focuses on the need to commit to  Fourth Goal on Education by all countries participating in this week by 2030, to ensure universal access to a fair, inclusive and comprehensive  education and to enhance lifelong learning opportunities for all and the role of UNESCO at achieving such goals. In 2015, the World Education Agenda was adopted by the leaders of the world. UNESCO was given the role of leadership, coordination and oversight to ensure the achievement of the Education Agenda 2030. Accordingly, UNESCO launched its latest report, which monitors the progress made globally in achieving the goals of the Education Agenda 2030. It was titled “ Education for People and Planet, Building a Sustainable Future for All” and  launched by UNESCO in Palestine at the end of 2016, highlighting  the most important achievements in education.

In his speech, he addressed a number of issues, including the development of a framework for implementing  Education for All, in particular the fourth objective of sustainable development, civil partnership and the broadening of the political and social perspective to civil society. He stressed that participation should not be certified by the government decisions. Through regular dialogue, civil society - students, teachers, parents, community, non-governmental organizations -  we can contribute to the policy and practice of education from the beginning until the end of the evaluation phase.

Ludovico stressed that through the Fourth Development Goal of Education within the Education 2030 agenda that education is a fundamental and enabling human right. To achieve it, States must ensure universal access to inclusive, equitable and good education and lifelong learning. As duty-holders, governments must realize the right for education and should realize  their role as sponsors, financiers and managers of effective and equitable public education.

"The national policy agenda (which focuses on Citizen First) and the national education strategy has been firmly anchored around the fourth objective of sustainable development, and we are very pleased with UNESCO's leadership as the (technical advisor) to the Ministry of Education and Higher Education," said Ludovic. UNESCO will support the Palestinian government through the United Nations support in the implementation of this specific and decisive goal, which is guided by the priorities of the Ministry of Education and Higher Education.

Mohannad Baids : The right of children for education is a responsibility for everyone

Dr. Muhannad Baidas, Director of the Education Program at UNRWA, spoke at the press conference and stressed that the agency at the official and private levels of its people are  proud of the strong relationship between them and the Ministry of Education. UNRWA is drawing its policies in education from the Ministry of Education's policies. It is keen to remain in harmony with the Ministry of Education. Baids said the UNRWA had worked about for four decades as part of its mission to ensure the right of refugee children in education and that the right of children was a responsibility for all and pledged to all Palestinian refugee children that the Agency continues to adopt  these responsibilities. He praised the efforts of those teachers who are the candles in the way to light of their future.

A group of demands for the Palestinian Educational Coalition

Magda Al-Masri, representative of the Palestinian Education Coalition, praised in her speech the progress made so far in Palestine's commitment to the 2030 Global Education Agenda in which the Palestinian Education Coalition announced the launch of the Global Action Week. "We have registered a clear path on drafting national agendas. We have constituted the Education Agenda  and we have launched of the National Policy Agenda, which contained some of the priorities of education. In addition, we have adopted the Education Law, which goes in harmony with the fourth objective of education to formulate the strategic plan for sectors which is  also consistent with the development goals "

 

She added that the Palestinian educational coalition understands the Palestinian reality as a people and a state which is under occupation,  a victim of  theft of the occupation of all the capabilities of the Palestinian people, and the resulting gap between the limited resources and limited expenses and requirements,  and in order to promote the steadfastness of the people and freedom and sustainable development in the comprehensive sense,  we need to enhance the  participation and the status of integration of all components of the official and non-official  Palestinian society. Through the real participation of all sectors to set priorities, especially  in the investment to reach an equitable distribution of wealth limited between different social sectors without discrimination we will be able to achieve the fourth goal of the sustainable development.  By working together to put pressure on the international community to stand up in front of its responsibilities towards the Palestinian people to support education.

The Palestinian Education Coalition drew a number of demands and messages to the world and to the Palestinian government, including providing 12 years of free, compulsory and qualitative education, funded by the public sector, and developing policies and allocating adequate budgets to ensure that education is free in the comprehensive sense of “free education”. It also addressed eliminating any fees imposed on students in schools . Moreover, they stressed on  the need to ensure national participation in the definition of a broad and comprehensive concept of the quality of education and not limited to literacy and numeracy so that we answer the question “What kind of education do we need ?” In addition to the need to allocate adequate and equitable development budgets for the education sector, ensuring access to free quality education and compulsory for children aged 5 Years, and a safe educational environment for children by allocating at least 6% of GDP to education,  we need to increase the proportion of domestic funding for education and the need to review the income tax law, amend the tax brackets and impose capital gains tax. Social security will be fulfilled. Another thing to do is to develop governmental mechanisms to put pressure on the private sector taking responsibility of some of the  social responsibilities in supporting the public education and development, so within the allocations as not to be deducted from the income taxes imposed on private sector.

The Palestinian Education Coalition, in announcing the launch of the Global Action Week, called on countries and donors in particular to fulfill their global commitments to finance education in the goals of sustainable development,  and the framework for education 2030. They also called on the need to continue financing education in Palestine, and not shrink it nor cut it. The international community should bear at least 30% of the education budget to contribute to the Palestinian government in ensuring commitment to Education Agenda 2030. The PEC also called for ending UNRWA budget cuts and revising the policies adopted by the UN and the international community for the responsibility of providing protection to the Palestine refugees. It is worth mentioning  that the  population refugees has exceeded  seven million,  so this has led to a threat to the right of Palestinian refugee children to have a proper education.

 

At the end of the conference, Nassift Al Khafash, member of the Coordination Committee of the Palestinian Educational Coalition, delivered a final statement announcing the launching of the activities. The statement included the total activities to be implemented by the coalition in all the governorates of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, which will be held  from 23 to 29 April 2017. Activities include many community events, Global action that focuses on accountability and the participation of active citizens to ensure the achievement of the fourth goal of education in the goals of sustainable development and the most important events will be in public schools and schools of the Agency, which has the name of  the Big Dream.  Students will be able to express their dreams and aspirations for a better  education by 2030, in addition to cooperating with the Palestinian Ministry of Awqaf ( Ministry of Religious Endowments) to dedicate Friday sermons and Sunday sermons to focus on education in line with the theme of the campaign this year.

 

It is worth mentioning that the activities of the Global Campaign for Education carried out by the Palestinian Educational Coalition in Palestine coincide with the 120 countries in the world aimed at putting pressure on governments and reminding decision-makers of the promises they have made to achieve the goals of the Education Agenda 2030.

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