Archive | December, 2012

Holiday Greetings

©UNICEF/NYHQ2012-0771/Shehzad Noorani

As we reflect on the past year, here are the top four podcasts in our ‘Beyond School Books’ series from 2012:

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Podcast #69: In Afghanistan, a popular project combines skateboarding with education – with great success

Skateistan staff teaching girls how to skateboard.

By Rudina Vojvoda

NEW YORK, USA, 26 December 2012 – In 2007, Oliver Percovich landed in Kabul with nothing more than a couple of skateboards. Having learned to skateboard when he was 6 years old, Mr. Percovich had embraced the sport as a big part of his personality. But he never thought that this passion would lead to the creation of one of the most beloved projects in Afghanistan – Skateistan, a place where girls and boys go to skate and receive an education.

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European Union donates portion of Nobel Peace Prize money to UNICEF’s work educating children in conflict-affected Pakistan

By Chris Niles

Girls attend class at a UNICEF-rehabilitated school in a village in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province, Pakistan. UNICEF plans to educate more than 3,000 children affected by conflict in Pakistan with the European Union's Nobel Peace Prize donation.

NEW YORK,19 December 2012 – The European Union is donating part of its Nobel Peace Prize money to UNICEF’s work educating children in northwestern Pakistan.

The European Union (EU) was awarded the prize earlier this month in recognition of its more than 60 years of work advancing peace and democracy in Europe.

“We are deeply grateful to the European Union for its generosity,” said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake.

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Podcast #68: Musician Emmanuel Jal on his music, his work as a peace activist, and South Sudan

By Rudina Vojvoda

©Dave Watts Photography
Emmanuel Jal

NEW YORK, 7 December 2012 – At the age of 7, Emmanuel Jal walked hundreds of miles in search of an education. Born in a war-torn area that is now part of South Sudan, he joined thousands of children who were told schools awaited them in Ethiopia.

Instead, they were sent by the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) to military camps for training. Twenty-five years later, Mr. Jal has channelled his experience into music and strives to protect the childhood of others by advocating for peace, justice and equality.

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Podcast #67: 2012 Education for All Global Monitoring Report calls for investment in developing young people’s skills

By Rudina Vojvoda

NEW YORK, 3 December 2012 – One in five young people aged 15 to 24 in 123 low- and middle-income countries has been left out of primary education and lacks skills for work. Of these people, the majority are young women.

©UNICEF/INDA2012-00351/Prashanth Vishwanathan
Ex-child labourers girls learn how to use computers at the Government Upper Primary School, Tidi, India. IKEA Foundation (IF) is supporting this child-friendly school transport aided services.

The 2012 Education for All Global Monitoring Report Youth and Skills: Putting Education to Work examines how skills-development programmes can be improved to boost young people’s opportunities for decent jobs and better lives.

Podcast moderator Femi Oke discussed the report’s findings and the dynamics around gender and skills development with Director of the Education for All Global Monitoring Report Pauline Rose.

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Unemployment, poverty – and inequality

The number of young people in the world has never been higher. In 2010, the population of those between the ages of 15 and 24 reached one billion. Many of these youth are not learning the necessary skills to become functional adults in their societies.

According to Ms. Rose, one in eight young people is without work. “Perhaps of even greater concern is that there are around one in four young people who are working for wages below the poverty line. And we identify that young women are much more likely to be in this situation, and that includes young women who have actually had some education,” she said.

Ms. Rose said that, while programmes such as BRAC in Bangladesh and Camfed in parts of Africa are addressing the needs of young women in the direst circumstances by providing basic skills training and assistance in setting up profitable businesses, these efforts are not enough. “These programmes are very important, but they are reaching too few young women and men who need the support of these programmes. They need to be radically scaled up by governments with the support of aid donors.”

Developing skills, and economic growth

Evidence shows that investing in young people’s skills development leads to economic growth and brings positive transformation. Ms. Rose highlighted two cases: “The Republic of Korea is a striking example of a country that invested in skills development and linked that with the country’s overall macroeconomic policy and strategy to make sure that young people were being provided with the skills that they need for the work place…[I]t went from being a low-income country 30 years ago to now being a high-income country, with a massive increase in economic growth…”

“…We contrast this with Ghana, which started out 30 years ago with a similar level of education and a similar level of economic growth to actually being stagnating both in education and growth.”

The report calls on governments to address the need to give young people who lack basic literacy and numeracy skills a second chance in education. It also calls on donors to allocate their funds to reach those who are most in need.

“We’re also working with young people to make sure that they are also able to put the word out there, to the ministries of education. Because, at the end of the day, it’s experiences of the young people who really matter and who actually can express the need and the importance of these issues far better than we can,” concluded Ms. Rose.

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