The Irish Forum for Global Education wants to highlight this year’s Global Action Week for Education (GAWE) which runs from 25-29 April, 2022 with the theme of Protecting Education in Emergencies. The week is as an important moment for education campaigns all over the world, especially right now when conflicts, public health emergencies and climate disasters are having such a devastating impact on education.
With the targeting of schools and universities in Ukraine ongoing and the bombing of the Abdul Raheem Shaheed High School in western Kabul, Afghanistan on 19th April, we feel it is important to use this week to highlight attacks on children and schools and the impact of conflict and other emergencies on education. Children are being killed and injured and the Kabul school bombing has cost at least six lives and injured many more. Explosive weapons have been used in an increasing proportion of all attacks on schools in Afghanistan since 2018; other attacks included arson, raids, and small arms fire. IFGE condemns these attacks and asserts that schools must never be targets and must be protected at all times.
As of last week it is reported that 927 educational institutions in Ukraine have been damaged from bombing and shelling, and 83 of them have been completely destroyed including schools, universities and at least one kindergarten. There has been a nationwide closure of schools and education institutions and this has affected the entire school-aged population. IFGE feels that there is an urgent need for special attention to be paid to ensure that the most vulnerable do not suffer in the crisis and drop out of school permanently, including girls, and students with disabilities.
The Global Action Week for Education (GAWE) which is annually led by the Global Campaign for Education (GCE) movement, is therefore a key moment for education activists all over the world. IFGE will hold a seminar in early May as a contribution to the GAWE focusing on how Irish aid organisations respond to emergencies that have such a huge impact on education.
IFGE endorses the statement by GCE to mark GAWE which says:
“More than 100 countries, hundreds of local, national, regional and global civil society organizations and millions of people all over the world join together to defend and advocate for the right to inclusive and equitable quality education and lifelong learning opportunities for all, and contributing to achieve the SDG4. In the light of the major emergencies happening all over the world and their devastating impact on the right to education of millions of people, particularly the most vulnerable, this GAWE 2022 might be more important than ever: it’s an urgent and strong call to States, world leaders and the international community to Protect Education in Emergencies Now!”