#Geneva; #OLO; #LifeLongLearning; #SkillsDevelopment; #PostCOVID19World
Geneva/ILO, Nov 19 (Canadian-Media): The International Labour Organization (ILO) has published a new guide for trade unions on skills development and lifelong learning, ILO reports said.
Image credit: ILO
The guide “Skills Development and Lifelong Learning: Resource Guide for Workers’Organizations” , published by the ILO’s Skills and Employability Branch and Bureau for Workers’ Activities (ACTRAV) addresses key challenges facing workers’ organizations, including best practices, key priorities and main challenges. It also outlines why trade unions should be involved in skills development and lifelong learning.
According to the guide, building the capacity and engagement of workers’ organizations in skills development and lifelong learning, based on a human-centred approach and International Labour Standards, will help build a ‘better normal’ in the post-COVID-19 World.
“What matters in the end, is that ALL workers can acquire the skills of their choice to get jobs and to keep jobs, and to be equipped to face the transitions they will be confronted with over the working life. Skills development and lifelong learning are essential to enhance workers’ capabilities to participate fully in decent work, to contribute to human development, active citizenship and the strengthening of democracy,” said Maria Helena André, Director of the ILO’s Bureau for Workers’ Activities.
The guide is designed for workers’ organizations, trainers, facilitators and ILO officials. It is part of a comprehensive programme of support for workers’organizations in preparation for the 2021 International Labour Conference (ILC), which will discuss skills and lifelong learning. It also paves the way for the general discussion on standing setting for apprenticeships, which takes place at the ILC in 2022 and 2023.
“If the lifelong leaning notion has to become a reality, the link between the world of education and the world of work needs to be very strong, bringing these together, through a process of social dialogue where governments, employers, and workers organization jointly formulate policies and programmes,” said Srinivas Reddy, Director of the ILO SKILLS Branch.
A Global webinar bringing together workers’ organizations, technical experts, academics and senior ILO officials was held on the November 18th 2020 to launch the guide.
#CanadaSchools; #Covid19Surge; #SchoolClosure
Toronto, Nov 18 (Canadian-Media): Rising COVID-19 cases including in Canadian schools poses potential for another widespread school shutdown and extensions to the upcoming holiday break, media reports said.
Stephen Lecce. Image credit: Twitter handle
Among Canada's provinces and territories, Nunavut has become as of Nov 18 the first to shutter schools across the board once again for at least two weeks, with teachers delivering instruction remotely.
Meanwhile, the premiers of Manitoba and Quebec said they are also considering extending the upcoming school holiday beyond the two weeks already scheduled.
Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce said his consultation with health officials is ongoing about school considerations for January, but has not made a decision.
#UN; #Journalists; #HumanRight; #InternationalDay; #StopCrimesAgainstJournalists
United Nations, When journalists are targeted, “societies as a whole pay a price”, the UN chief said on Monday, the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists.
Stop killing journalists. Image credit: UNESCO
“If we do not protect journalists, our ability to remain informed and make evidence-based decisions is severely hampered”, Secretary-General António Guterres spelled out in his message for the day.
And when they cannot safely do their jobs, “we lose an important defense against the pandemic of misinformation and disinformation that has spread online”, he added.
Free press ‘essential’
There were at least 21 attacks on journalists covering protests in the first half of 2020 – equal to the number of such attacks in the whole of 2017, Mr. Guterres said.
As the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted new perils for journalists and media workers, the UN chief reiterated his call for a “free press that can play its essential role in peace, justice, sustainable development and human rights”.
“Fact-based news and analysis depend on the protection and safety of journalists conducting independent reporting, rooted in the fundamental tenet: ‘journalism without fear or favour’”, he concluded.
In her message, Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), maintained that through accurate reporting, journalists “bring truth to light”.
However, she noted that for too many “telling the truth comes at a price”.
While journalists are in “a unique and compelling position” to “speak truth to power”, the UNESCO chief observed that the two “do not always see eye to eye”.
Between 2010 and 2019, close to 900 journalists were killed while doing their job, according Ms. Azoulay – more than 150 in the last two years alone.
Journalists in crosshairs
Although many have lost their lives covering conflicts, far more are being killed for investigating issues such as corruption, trafficking, political wrongdoing, human rights violations and environmental issues.
And death is not the only risk journalists are facing.
“Attacks on the press can take the form of threats, kidnappings, arrests, imprisonments or offline and online harassment with women being targeted in particular”, the UNESCO chief elaborated.
Even though the 2019 death toll for journalists was the lowest in a decade, the UN official pointed out that wider attacks are continuing “at an alarming rate”.
States have an obligation to protect journalists -- UNESCO chief
She noted that in seven-out-of-eight killings, the perpetrators go unpunished, and asserted: “We can and should do more”.
“Journalists are essential in preserving the fundamental right to freedom of expression, guaranteed by Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights”, she explained. “When journalists are attacked with impunity, there is a breakdown in security and judicial systems for all”.
UNESCO commemorates the day annually on 2 November to raise awareness and highlight some of the specific risks that journalists face in their quest to uncover the truth.
“On this day, I call on…all Member States and international and non-governmental organizations to join forces to guarantee the safety of journalists and root out impunity”, said the UNESCO chief.
“Only by investigating and prosecuting crimes against media professionals can we guarantee access to information and freedom of expression”.
UNESCO also marked the day by releasing the brochure Protect Journalists, Protect the Truth.
Among other things, it revealed that most journalists were killed in countries with no armed conflict.
And while impunity for crimes against journalists continues to prevail, in 2020, 13 per cent of cases worldwide were reported as resolved in comparison to 12 per cent in 2019, and 11 per cent in 2018.
The findings also showed that in 2019, Latin America and the Caribbean region represented 40 per cent of all killings registered worldwide, followed by the Asia and Pacific region, with 26 per cent.
“States have an obligation to protect journalists”, and judges and prosecutors must promote “swift and effective criminal proceedings” to ensure that perpetrators of crimes against them are held accountable, upheld Ms. Azoulay.
#Ottawa; #OntarioEducation; #Merit; #Seniority; #HiringInOntarioSchools
Ottawa, Oct 15 (Canadian-Media): Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce announced Oct 15 in a news conference in Vaughan, the province's move to repeal Regulation 274, a policy that for the past decade has forced Ontario school boards to hire only from a pool of teachers that overlooked the criteria of merit.
"This is about giving principals more flexibility to hire the very best teaching staff. Merit will lead hiring in our schools," said Lecce.
Stephen Lecce. Image credit: Twitter handle
The policy was created in 2012 by the then-Liberal government.
Some school boards argued that the rule makes it harder for younger applicants straight out of their education degree to break into the system. The school boards are also constrained from diversifying the teaching workforce.
This move by Lecce was welcomed by the umbrella group of Ontario's public school boards.
"Transparent and equitable hiring practices are essential in order to ensure a highly qualified teacher workforce that reflects the diversity of students and school communities, and meets local needs," said Cathy Abraham, president of the Ontario Public School Boards' Association, in a statement.
Lecce characterized the move as temporary and did not give a timeframe for putting the rule back in place.
#Geneva, #ILO; #UNICEF; #Education; #SkillsDevelopment; #DJY
Geneva/ILO, Oct 13 (Canadian-Media): The ILO and UNICEF have signed a new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Skills Development.
Image credit: SIMS/USA
The agreement was signed virtually by the ILO’s Director-General, Guy Ryder, and Henrietta Fore, Executive Director of UNICEF.
The MOU is intended to strengthen collaboration between the two agencies, in support of a lifelong approach to learning that will improve the employability of young people and promote a smoother school-to-work transition. It proposes a range of interventions that are easily adaptable to suit different countries and can be implemented jointly.
The agreement also brings together the UN Global Initiative on Decent Jobs for Youth (DJY), led by the ILO, and Generation Unlimited (GenU), led by UNICEF and capitalizes on the multi-stakeholder memberships of both agencies.
The MOU also supports the aims of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda , in particular Sustainable Development Goal 4, which aims to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.”
Speaking after the signing, Ryder said, "I welcome our new partnership with UNICEF to strengthen education and skills. It's a clear joint commitment for action to improve young people's job prospects and transitions from school to work, particularly in the context of COVID-19 . The MOU is a blueprint for strong collaboration to promote life-long learning in support of the 2030 Agenda."
Fore said, “We know that collaboration will be essential and that it will be very important to reimagine the world. Education and skills are areas where we can make enormous change. We have a once in a generation opportunity – something that will allow us to leapfrog the technologies to reach every child in every community. That will create a level playing field that our world has not yet seen. That is an area that together UNICEF and ILO can work on together strongly.”
#Canada; #CanadaSchools; #InPersonLearning; #VirtualLearning; #COVID19CasesRising
Toronto, Oct 1 (Canadian-Media): A large number of Canadian families had been forced to consider a switch from in-person to virtual learning where it's offered, due to rapid surge in COVID-19 cases by some Canadian provinces in just a few weeks after the start of the school year, media reports said.
Virtual classes. Image credit: Unsplash
With school boards across the country still working to entangle the problems of online classes including the assignment of teachers and reorganization of classrooms, the enrolment of numerous more students for online studies would likely mean more reorganization of classes later this fall.
Registration of more than 70,000 students out of roughly 250,000 students of the Toronto District School Board with virtual classes this fall had already been delayed twice.
Shelley Morse, president of the Canadian Teachers' Federation said that availability of teachers and substitute teachers in regions across the country had been an issue even before the start of the coronavirus pandemic and added,
"Gaps have existed, and provinces and territories haven't addressed it appropriately. One of the issues is that the pay is significantly less for a substitute than a regular classroom teacher...we've talked about a second wave ever since March, the work wasn't done to make sure that teachers were in place, that they entice more teachers to come. [Education ministries] could have raised that pay for this pandemic time to allow [more substitute] teachers to come back to school and do that work," reported by CBC News.
Some students and teachers are being matched up just this week.
"It is an absolute mess," Elementary Teachers of Toronto president Jennifer Brown said of the virtual school start so far.
"We have had half-time teachers being given full-time assignments. We've had students registered for classes without a teacher or, vice-versa, a teacher registered for a class with no accompanying student... We have also had specialty programs that don't have the teachers with the specialty qualifications lined up. It's an administrative nightmare," CBC News reported.
Quebec, Sept. 6 (Canadian-Media): Mathieu Lacombe, the Minister of Families announced Sep 4 that the Quebec government is launching a call for projects for the Support Program for childcare plans during the school break and the summer period to promote professional and school responsibilities for working parents and student parents.
Childcare. Image credit: Unsplash
Adding hours, days and weeks to the existing childcare offer or increasing the reception capacity (number of children or addition of groups) are being considered to improve the childcare plans targeting school-aged children (4 to 12 years old), and upto 21 for children with disabilities.
“To ensure the well-being and quality of life of families, who must reconcile family-work-study, we encourage the multiplication of childcare options during school break periods and summer vacations. I am convinced that the enhanced offer that will result from this call for projects will have a positive impact on many Quebec families, who will be able to better reconcile the different aspects of their life, while knowing their children in safety and in good company," said Lacombe.
The program is in effect until March 31, 2023 and has a total budget of $ 800,000 for the year 2020-2021.
Applicants eligible for this program are: non-profit legal persons; municipalities and boroughs
regional county municipalities; and band councils, the Kativik Regional Government, the Cree Nation Government and other Aboriginal organizations.
UNHCR Report: Coronavirus a dire threat to refugee education – half of the world’s refugee children out of school
#UNHCR; #Covid19; #RefugeeEducation
UNHCR, Sep 5 (Canadian-Media): In a report released today, titled “Coming Together for Refugee Education,” UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, predicts that unless immediate and bold action is taken by the international community to beat back the catastrophic effects of COVID-19 on refugee education, the potential of millions of young refugees living in some of the world’s most vulnerable communities will be further threatened. The data in the report is based on the gross enrolment figures from the 2019 school cycle.
Mornings at Vahdat Primary School in Isfahan, Iran when the mix of refugee and host nation pupils arrive are full of enthusiasm and energy. Image credit: © UNHCR/Mohammad Hossein Dehghanian
While children in every country have struggled with the impact of COVID-19 on their education, the report finds that refugee children have been particularly disadvantaged. Before the pandemic, a refugee child was twice as likely to be out of school as a non-refugee child. This is set to worsen – many may not have opportunities to resume their studies due to school closures, difficulties affording fees, uniforms or books, lack of access to technologies or because they are being required to work to support their families.
“Half of the world’s refugee children were already out of school,” said Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees. “After everything they have endured, we cannot rob them of their futures by denying them an education today. Despite the enormous challenges posed by the pandemic, with greater international support to refugees and their host communities, we can expand innovative ways to protect the critical gains made in refugee education over the past years.”
Without greater support, steady, hard-won increases in school, university, and technical and vocational education enrolment could be reversed – in some cases permanently – potentially jeopardizing efforts to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 4 of ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education for all.
In a powerful Final Word to the report, the Vodafone Foundation and UNHCR Ambassador for the Instant Network Schools Programme, Mohamed Salah, said: “Ensuring quality education today means less poverty and suffering tomorrow. Unless everyone plays their part, generations of children – millions of them in some of the world’s poorest regions – will face a bleak future. But if we work as a team, as one, we can give them the chance they deserve to have a dignified future. Let’s not miss this opportunity.”
The 2019 data in the report is based on reporting from twelve countries hosting more than half of the world’s refugee children. While there is 77% gross enrolment in primary school, only 31% of youth are enrolled in secondary school. At the level of higher education, only 3% of refugee youth are enrolled.
Far behind global averages, these statistics nevertheless do represent progress. Enrolment in secondary education rose with tens of thousands of refugee children newly attending school; a 2% increase in 2019 alone. However, the COVID-19 pandemic now threatens to undo this and other crucial advances. For refugee girls, the threat is particularly grave.
Refugee girls already have less access to education than boys and are half as likely to be enrolled in school by the time they reach secondary level. Based on UNHCR data, the Malala Fund has estimated that as a result of COVID-19, half of all refugee girls in secondary school will not return when classrooms reopen this month. For countries where refugee girls’ gross secondary enrolment was already less than 10%, all girls are at risk of dropping out for good, a chilling prediction that would have an impact for generations to come.
“I am especially concerned with the impact on refugee girls. Not only is education a human right, but the protection and economic benefits to refugee girls, their families, and their communities of education are clear. The international community simply cannot afford to fail to provide them with the opportunities that come through education,” said Grandi.
Adapting to the limitations imposed by COVID-19 has been especially tough for the 85% of the world’s refugees who live in developing or least developed countries. Mobile phones, tablets, laptops, connectivity, even radio sets are often not readily available to displaced communities.
UNHCR, governments, and partners are working tirelessly to bridge critical gaps and ensure the continuity of refugee education during the pandemic through connected learning, television and radio, and by supporting teachers and caregivers to engage with students while observing health guidelines.
The report shows how families, communities and governments are working to provide education to refugee children. It shows positive examples of governments that have written into law the right of refugee children to attend state schools, with stories from Ecuador and Iran. Examples of digital innovation are highlighted by the Minister of Education in Egypt, and by a family in Jordan benefiting from the transition to online learning. With over half the world’s refugees living in urban settings, the importance of cities welcoming refugees is emphasized, with the Mayor of Coventry, UK, sharing how the city manages and why it makes sense.
The report calls on governments, the private sector, civil society and other key stakeholders to join forces to find solutions which strengthen national education systems and link with pathways towards certified education, and to secure and safeguard education financing. Without such action, the report warns, we risk a lost generation of refugee children deprived of their education.
The risks to refugee education do not stop with COVID-19. Attacks on schools are a grim and growing reality. The report focuses on Africa’s Sahel region where violence has forced the closure of more than 2,500 schools affecting the education of 350,000 students.
#OntarioGov; #SchoolsReopening; ##Covid19Tests
Ottawa, Sep 3 (Canadian-Media): Ontario government's decision to omit mandatory school testing of Ontario students heading back to school this month amid a global pandemic, confirmed in Ontario's updated school reopening guidelines released last week, surprised many parents and observers, media reports said.
Covid 19 Testing. Image credit: Unsplash
A multiple public health and medical ethics experts interviewed by CBC Toronto supported the province's strategy to forgo mandatory COVID-19 testing in schools, at least for the time being.
Under the guidelines, parents and educators will be asked to screen for COVID-19 symptoms and keep children out of class if they display a possible infection. Other students who come into contact with a known case of the disease will also be directed to self-isolate for 14 days.
In those scenarios, although students may be advised to be tested by a health-care provider, but they will not be required to show proof of a negative test result before returning to class after their period of self-isolation.
But many were of the opinion that a policy for mandatory testing may contribute to keeping schools safe.
"I think mandatory testing across the board would be a good thing and add another layer to the safety protocols that are being put in place," said Sam Hammond, president of the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario, reported by CBC News.
#UN; #Education; #Culture; #Covid19; #UNESCO; #GlobalEducationCoalition
UN, Sep 2 (Canadian-Media): Classes for more than 450 million students starting the new academic year are expected to be entirely remote – or for some, a mix of distance and in-person learning – the UN education and cultural organization (UNESCO) has said.
Children in Côte d'Ivoire wear face masks as they return to school after temporary closures due to COVID-19. Image credit: © UNICEF/Frank Dejongh
UNESCO, the lead UN agency for education globally, also highlighted persisting inequalities associated with distance learning that particularly impact vulnerable populations.
“The educational crisis remains severe,” said Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO. “Several generations are facing the threat of school closures, which concern hundreds of millions of students and have lasted many months. This is an emergency for global education”, she added.
This year, 900 million pre-primary to secondary students, are set to return to school between August and October. However, fewer than half – about 433 million in 155 countries – can actually return to classrooms at this stage, according to UNESCO.
Factoring in about 128 million students in the middle of their academic year, a total of 561 million students, or one-in-three pupils globally, will attend classes.
That leaves almost a billion students – two-thirds of the global student population – facing either school closures or uncertainty surrounding their classes.
Girls at a higher risk According to UNESCO, till date, students around the world have lost an average of 60 days of schooling since lockdowns began in February and March.
Situations such as school closures, uncertainty over classes, inability to access remote learning or other challenges raises the risk of dropouts, decreased quality of learning, and negative social and economic impacts is high. Often vulnerable populations, in particular girls are at a higher risk.
It is therefore crucial that education authorities work quickly to determine how best to ensure a safe return to school, while protecting the health and safety of students and education staff, said UNESCO.
Against this backdrop, through the Global Education Coalition, UNESCO has launched the #LearningNeverStops campaign to ensure the continued learning of girls during school closures, and their safe return when schools reopen, in light of the many obstacles they face outside education, including adolescent pregnancy, early and forced marriage, and violence.
Also through the partnership, UNESCO has produced and disseminated communication and advocacy toolkits and a girls’ back to school guide to help all stakeholders.