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Bruno Duarte4 July 2016

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1)Equity in education

Education can be impacted by a wide range of inequalities. The strongest inequality is socio-economic and it is a barrier throughout the lifetime of a child from accessing school, progressing and completing education cycles and learning. Despite some of the poorest countries have made the greatest strides in education since 2000, the poorest and most disadvantaged shouldering the heaviest burden and are five times less likely to complete primary school than richest children.

The gender inequality has been the focus of MDG 3 with great success. Gender parity in primary enrolment has improved significantly in the regions that started the 2000's decade with the greatest gender gaps.

Other types of inequalities relate to ethnicity, language of instruction, location and disability. Failure to address these multi-faceted inequalities has held back progress towards Education for All. This is notably due to the fact that inequalities often combine to exacerbate the risk of being left behind.

     What is the EU doing?

EU Education 2014-2020 programming is focussing on countries with greatest educational needs. 60% of EU bilateral funding to Education is going to fragile states that are most often lagging behind in terms of educational needs.

EU programmes, whether budget support operations or projects, are designed to be equity-sensitive: they can address combined inequalities (ex. girls in rural areas in Morocco and Niger), linguistic minorities (ex. South Africa, Cambodia and Bangladesh), other disadvantaged groups, including children with disabilities (ex. Myanmar, Jordan, Morocco). Gender-sensitivity is very often of paramount importance. For examplegirls' education is at the centre of EU budget support operations in Mali and Nepal and in projects in fragile states like Somalia.

EU is active in promoting equity at international level, notably through GPE. For instance, the number of girls out of school of primary and lower secondary school age has dropped by 22% between 2000 and 2013 in GPE partner countries.

Country examples

Central African Republic: support to IDP children

The EU supports education in CAR with over EUR 21 million with the program "Restoration of basic social services in the area of education and protection of children affected by the conflict" (2015-2018). Support for IDP children was facilitated to 16,841 vulnerable children 3 to 13 years, registered in IDPS sites and return areas, benefit from education and recreational activities in secure and protective temporary structures. In addition, the program supported basic education activities for adolescents in IDP camps with special attention to competences such as literacy, numeracy, life skills and other courses; more than 1,000 children have benefited from the program.

Somalia: girls' education

Somalia has one of the world’s lowest enrolment rates for primary school-age children despite the major improvements in overall school enrolment over the last decade. Efforts by the EU are underway in all parts of Somalia, i.e. Somaliland, Puntland, and South and Central Somalia to raise the quality of education and extend access to education and training, with a particular focus on girls and women. The latter are still underrepresented, with approximately one third of beneficiaries in primary, secondary and higher education.

The EU finances projects implemented by NGOs that empower female participation in education, teacher training, educational management and curriculum design. The EU provides Somali Diaspora Gender Advisors for the Gender Units embedded within the Ministries of Education and EU programmes include scholarships for girls, employment of female teachers, creation of girl-friendly school facilities and provision of school supplies including sanitary wear.

Morocco: combined inequalities : girls in rural areas

In Morocco, girls in rural areas are by far the most deprived population from education. For the 2014-2015 school year, 29.7% of girls in rural areas were enrolled at lower secondary level compared to 75% for children living in urban areas. The EU has a longstanding commitment to support Morocco improving its education system through sector budget support. The EU is currently providing a 91.9 million Euro to the Moroccan government to improve equity, quality and management of the education system. Performance indicators provide an incentive to improve lower secondary net enrolment rate of girls in rural areas. In addition, process-oriented indicators focus on optimising welfare services (cash transfer, school feeding, transport) to reach the most in need. Finally, other underprivileged populations are targeted through performance indicators: inclusion of disabled children, migrants' children and out-of-school children.

Hotline Mali

Mali: out-of-school children

The 2012-2013 crisis emphasized in Mali the need to find solutions to absorb huge numbers of out-school children. The EU supports the Malian government through an innovative pedagogy for delivering accelerated basic education to children aged between 8 and 12. The project will be implemented by Stromme foundation and the regional secretariat for accelerated education (Stratégie de Scolarisation accélérée – passerelle). The main objective is to give out-of-school children basic skills and life skills to be able to reintegrate the formal system or any other training opportunities.

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