The GEM Report World Education Blog Podcast
By GEM Report
This podcast is compiled from a blog hosted by the team working on the Global Education Monitoring Report (GEM Report), an editorially independent, authoritative and evidence-based annual report published by UNESCO. Its mandate is to monitor progress towards the education targets in the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) framework.
“Nobody hears us” said a 17-year-old trans man about his experiences in school
Today on the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia the GEM Report has released a new policy paper, Don’t look away, jointly with The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer & Intersex Youth and Student Organisation (IGLYO) with new survey findings and analysis showing unacceptably high levels of discrimination and harassment in education. This episode is also available as a blog post: https://gemreportunesco.wordpress.com/2021/05/17/nobody-hears-us-said-a-17-year-old-trans-man-about-his-experiences-in-school/
May 17, 2021
What role can schools play to end violence and sexual harassment?
When will it be safe for a woman to walk herself home at night without the threat of assault or worse by a man? And when do we arrive at the moment that all women are safe from their partners in their own homes? When will schools and workplaces be free of gender-based violence? How can we use the power of education to turn these norms around? This episode is also available as a blog post: https://gemreportunesco.wordpress.com/2021/05/07/what-role-can-schools-play-to-end-violence-and-sexual-harassment/
May 07, 2021
Female science and mathematics teachers: Better than they think?
More urgently than ever before, more girls and women are needed in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). In over two-thirds of education systems, less than 25% of students in engineering, manufacturing, construction, or information and communication technologies (ICT) are women. Yet STEM careers are growing in demand and needed to solve the current challenges facing the world, including the current COVID-19 crisis, climate change and food and water security. This episode is also available as a blog post: https://gemreportunesco.wordpress.com/2021/05/03/female-science-and-mathematics-teachers-better-than-they-think/
May 05, 2021
Accelerating the universal prohibition of corporal punishment in educational settings
By Mehnaz Akber Aziz, Member of the National Assembly of Pakistan, one of just eight women out of 342 directly elected members, and Joseph Nhan-O’Reilly, Executive Director, International Parliamentary Network for Education (IPNEd) Physical violence or the prospect of it affects children in every country, community and culture around the world. Sadly, much of that violence occurs in educational settings at the hands of teachers and caregivers. Corporal punishment by school staff is not the only form of violence that children in educational settings are subject to, but it is a particularly egregious and harmful one. This episode is also available as a blog post: https://gemreportunesco.wordpress.com/2021/04/30/accelerating-the-universal-prohibition-of-corporal-punishment-in-educational-settings/
May 05, 2021
Children with disabilities can learn…and the pandemic should be no barrier!
Khursaid, who lives in Nepal, is in the 4th grade. He can only see when using glasses and has been using them since he was two. During the lockdown, his glasses broke, and ever since he has had difficulty in performing everyday activities, particularly in doing school work. He has no access to internet and his mother just has a simple phone which is not suitable for distance learning. His father lost his job, which has affected the household’s income. Currently, it is difficult to see how Khursaid will be able to remain in school without financial support to cover other school costs. His family may also need him to help earn an income, which is currently their biggest priority. This episode is also available as a blog post: https://gemreportunesco.wordpress.com/2021/05/05/children-with-disabilities-can-learnand-the-pandemic-should-be-no-barrier/
May 05, 2021
How to assess the education needs of internally displaced people in Ukraine and Georgia
The escalation of tensions in Ukraine has been capturing the headlines in recent days. One of the lesser discussed dimensions is the strain internal displacement has put on education. After our 2019 report on migration and displacement, we revisited the issue in our new regional report for Central and Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia. This episode is also available as a blog post: https://gemreportunesco.wordpress.com/2021/04/29/how-to-assess-the-education-needs-of-internally-displaced-people-in-ukraine-and-georgia/
April 29, 2021
Can universities survive the uncertainty of COVID-19?
The financial model that held up many of the world’s largest universities is under threat. The pandemic has put the fees associated with university degrees in question. Online courses are a far less attractive – and less value for money – alternative to in-person tuition. Many students may simply no longer afford the cost of a degree if the pandemic has a long-term negative economic impact. This episode is also available as a blog post: https://gemreportunesco.wordpress.com/2021/04/27/can-universities-survive-the-uncertainty-of-covid-19/
April 29, 2021
Now this: vaccine requirements to go to university
The United States is trailblazing, as university after university is mandating COVID-19 vaccinations for students to be able to return to study this autumn. Rutgers was the first, but now at least eight colleges and universities have followed suite. While the United States is the first to see this ripple effect, hints of similar calls can be found in other countries as well, including India and France. In Dubai, weekly PCR tests are already mandatory for all staff at schools and universities. One can only imagine it is a matter of time before that is extended to students too. This episode is also available as a blog post: https://gemreportunesco.wordpress.com/2021/04/26/now-this-vaccine-requirements-to-go-to-university/
April 26, 2021
Why the drive to inclusion depends on improving our understanding of the lives and work of teaching assistants
Just last month the Singapore Government made a welcome announcement. From the second half of 2023, all pre-schools will have an inclusion coordinator. This new role in schools will identify and provide support for children with developmental needs from the very early years. This is much needed. According to the charity Serving People with Disabilities (SPD), 4,000 children in the country have been diagnosed with special developmental needs every year since 2015. Early identification of these developmental issues has the power to foster inclusion and help support a child with special needs to reach their full potential. This episode is also available as a blog post: https://gemreportunesco.wordpress.com/2021/04/21/why-the-drive-to-inclusion-depends-on-improving-our-understanding-of-the-lives-and-work-of-teaching-assistants/
April 21, 2021
Inclusion in early education in Singapore: towards more equitable foundations
Just last month the Singapore Government made a welcome announcement. From the second half of 2023, all pre-schools will have an inclusion coordinator. This new role in schools will identify and provide support for children with developmental needs from the very early years. This episode is also available as a blog post: https://gemreportunesco.wordpress.com/2021/04/15/inclusion-in-early-education-in-singapore-towards-more-equitable-foundations/
April 15, 2021
Cancel exams? What is an appropriate response to the COVID-19 disruption?
‘Dear Government, please remember before deciding between offline and online exams that we’ll be able to vote next year ;)’, tweeted several students in India last week. In recent days, ‘cancelboardexams2021’ has been trending on Twitter in the country with almost a hundred thousand students signing a petition urging the government to either cancel board exams scheduled to be held in May or conduct them in online mode because of the health risks involved. This is just as COVID-19 cases are surging. This episode is also available as a blog post: https://gemreportunesco.wordpress.com/2021/04/13/cancel-exams-what-is-an-appropriate-response-to-the-covid-19-disruption/
April 15, 2021
We are proud of the first ever policy on inclusive education in Sierra Leone: the National Policy on Radical Inclusion in Schools
By Dr David Moinina Sengeh, Minister of Basic and Senior Secondary Education of Sierra Leone and Chair of the Advisory Board for the GEM Report I became the Minister of Basic and Senior Secondary Education of Sierra Leone in November 2019, just a few months before Covid-19 disrupted education systems around the world. Sierra Leone is no stranger to dealing with viruses. The lessons learnt during the deadly 2014 Ebola crisis helped the country address the current education challenges more effectively. This time around, the virus has enabled us to think further how to do things differently, particularly for children who have been adversely affected, starting with building a more inclusive and equitable education system. It inspired much of the direction and content in our new inclusive education policy, validated by education stakeholders and approved by the Cabinet of Sierra Leone. This episode is also available as a blog post: https://gemreportunesco.wordpress.com/2021/04/08/we-are-proud-of-the-first-ever-policy-on-inclusive-education-in-sierra-leone-the-national-policy-on-radical-inclusion-in-schools/
April 08, 2021
Look after hidden out-of-school children in high income countries as schools reopen
Europe is one of the worst hit regions by COVID-19. Schools remain closed in many countries. New closures have been announced in the last few days across France, and many schools are only partially open in Germany, Ireland, Italy and Portugal. It may be assumed that, relative to other countries, high-income countries will be quick to bounce back. But we should not forget that there were already many hidden out-of-school children in those countries before the pandemic. This episode is also available as a blog post: https://gemreportunesco.wordpress.com/2021/04/07/look-after-hidden-out-of-school-children-in-high-income-countries-as-schools-reopen/
April 08, 2021
Don’t forget about those who were not in school before the pandemic
By Andrew Christensen, Dr Carla Pezzulo , Professor Andy Tatem , Dr Victor Alegana and Omar Bakari, academics and practitioners working in education policy, disability rights, public health, and geospatial and data science School closures during the pandemic have affected hundreds of millions. But the out-of-school crisis stretched way before the virus, and it may last long after it, unless we think differently about school access. Before the virus, there had been a virtual standstill on out-of-school youth rates for almost a decade, and the world was already due to fall far short of its universal secondary school target by 2030. This episode is also available as a blog post: https://gemreportunesco.wordpress.com/2021/04/02/dont-forget-about-those-who-were-not-in-school-before-the-pandemic/
April 07, 2021
Mission: Recovering Education 2021
By Stefania Giannini, Robert Jenkins and Jaime Saavedra When your house is on fire, you don’t worry about how big it is, the colour of the paint on the walls, or whether the kitchen is too small. You just focus on putting out the fire. In the education sector, our house is on fire. The COVID-19 pandemic has been the worst shock to education systems in a century, with the longest school closures combined with the worst recessions in decades. More than 1.6 billion children have lost instructional time for many months at a time, if not for much of the last year, and many children are still not back in school. School closures and the resulting disruptions to school participation and learning are projected to amount to losses valued at $10 trillion in terms of affected children’s future earnings. This episode is also available as a blog post: https://gemreportunesco.wordpress.com/2021/03/30/mission-recovering-education-2021/
March 30, 2021
In which countries do children attend single-sex schools?
While enrolment rates disaggregated by sex might be easy to find, comparative cross-country data on how many children are in single-sex schools are scarce. As another International Women’s Day passes us by, it seems fitting to also ask the question whether single-sex schools are beneficial or not; evidence on this front is mixed as well. What do we know? This episode is also available as a blog post: https://gemreportunesco.wordpress.com/2021/03/29/in-which-countries-do-children-attend-single-sex-schools/
March 29, 2021
How will countries make up for lost learning during the pandemic?
As one lockdown week morphs into another, the learning of millions of students continues to be disrupted. UNESCO figures show, on average, two-thirds of an academic year has been lost worldwide due to COVID-19 school closures. The learning loss is enormous. The question now in everyone’s mind is: How do we help students who have fallen behind to catch up? This episode is also available as a blog post: https://gemreportunesco.wordpress.com/2021/03/25/how-will-countries-make-up-for-lost-learning-during-the-pandemic/
March 25, 2021
Latin American and Caribbean countries must address structural discrimination to create educational opportunities for all
Latin America and the Caribbean is characterized by wide and persistent disparity by ethnicity. By most measures of well-being, including education, ethnic groups tend to fare worse than the rest of the population. The various forms of direct, indirect, and systemic discrimination have contributed to exacerbate inequalities and exclusion, especially in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. As we commemorate the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, which is celebrated on 21 March every year, we look at the exclusion of Afro-descendants and indigenous peoples in the region, and call for combating racism and ensuring educational opportunities for all. This episode is also available as a blog post: https://gemreportunesco.wordpress.com/2021/03/23/latin-american-and-caribbean-countries-must-address-structural-discrimination-to-create-educational-opportunities-for-all/
March 24, 2021
Climate strikes by school children, which erupted in 2019, continue
In the middle of the pandemic, the world’s youth has not lost its focus on the planet’s biggest challenge. After years of environmental activism and little change, it seems children’s anger may be the most important and effective campaign for climate action. This episode is also available as a blog post.
March 18, 2021
Gender bias can be seen in the way families spend their money on education
The black box of who controls and who decides how a family’s monetary and other resources will be spent has long intrigued social scientists. Gender bias in such decisions can negatively affect spending on health and education. Such findings have influenced the design of policies all over the world in the past 20 years to ensure women are targeted as recipients of social assistance. Read the original blog post on the Global Education Monitoring (GEM) Report World Education Blog
March 18, 2021