Global Action Week 2015 - The Right to Education

Global Action Week (GAW) is one of the major focal points for the education movement. Created and led by the Global Campaign for Education (GCE), GAW provides everyone campaigning for the right to education with an opportunity to highlight the Education For All agenda and make targeted efforts to achieve change on the ground.

Global Campaign for Education

CBM is an active international member of the Global Campaign for Education (GCE).  This year the theme is The Right to Education 2000-2030 - Vote for Education!

Last year the theme was ‘Equal Right, Equal Opportunity’ focusing on Education and Disability. This made a great impact in raising awareness about the needs for girls and boys with disabilities to access education from an early age and within their communities.

Worldwide there are still 57 million primary-aged girls and boys out of school. It is estimated that at least one third of children out of school have a disability. That is, at least 19 million boys and girls with disabilities who currently do not go to school.

Education as a human right

Prabhuswamy (left) has been trained to lead Quality Circle Time sessions in his primary school classrooms. This technique helps him to involve children with special needs in different activities to a much greater extent, as in this instance where he uses a hand puppet to talk to Gowrishankar, who has speech and hearing difficulties.

CBM takes a human rights based approach to disability and inclusive development. This approach means that CBM’s work includes initiatives aimed at ensuring that its development work is disability-sensitive, i.e. take persons with disabilities into account and support their inclusion and full participation in society.

Inclusive Education - Education for All:
Education is the main pillar in human development, therefore aiming for a disability-inclusive development through inclusive education is an important step on the journey.

Inclusion starts at birth:
CBM believes that all children should be in school and that inclusion begins at birth. This means that access to inclusive early education and care is essential for any child, particularly for the most marginalised: boys and girls with disabilities. Where there are no early education and early intervention programmes available, they need to be developed.

Inclusive Education benefits society
Inclusive Education benefits all learners, as it is based on accepting and valuing the diversity of learners. This approach ensures that all children can attend their local community school. However CBM recognises that in order to achieve this goal, the development of local skills, resources and capacity is required. Therefore CBM recognises that complementary or alternative models (where existing) also have a place and may be the best choice in some circumstances for some learners (e.g. learners with significant disabilities, or learners who are deaf).

A Case Study from Chamrajnagar, India

Basavaraju is a Cluster Resource Person (CRP) responsible for five primary schools. He had never received training on inclusive education before, though it is part of his job to support educators who do implement inclusive education. Therefore, he welcomed an invitation to attend a training on inclusive education run by The Teacher Foundation (TTF).

During the training, Basavaraju observed a lesson taught by Sunithamma’s, who was leading learners in enacting a skit called ‘Grandmother’s Pride’. Sunithamma had learned this activity from TTF’s module on group work and collaboration.

Sunithamma explained that this is an especially good approach for involving girls and boys with disabilities. Roopa, for example, loved acting. She had a learning disability, and used to come to school very irregularly, but once these activities were included in the lessons, she began to attend much more often. “Roopa is good at thinking about what happens in such skits and then drawing this on paper”, said Sunithamma. “Acting also helps her with self-confidence, and she feels no less than the other children when she does this”.

“What I notice about Sunithamma”, said Basavaraju, “is that she always goes the extra mile. She hasn’t just implemented the TTF training, she’s added to it”. For example, one boy was playing the part of a rooster, and Sunithamma brought in a real rooster to help bring the experience to life.

CBM’s support for this years’ GCE GAW Campaign

CBM is an international member of GCE. This year CBM recognises that it is vital to continue to highlight the  right for learners with disabilities to have access to free quality education.

CBM and partners are asking politicians, representing their citizens at the World Education Forum in May and the UN General Assembly in September, to Vote for Education.

CBM supports the Post 2015 goals and targets:

The post-2015 education goal and targets are broad and rights-based, including ensuring that all children, youth and adults (including girls, boys, men and women with disabilities) have access to:

  • Free, universal, quality education throughout primary and secondary levels
  • Free, universal access to early childhood care and education
  • A professional, well-trained, qualified and motivated teacher
  • Education that is equitable and inclusive, eradicating gaps in access or achievement based on poverty, gender, disability, ethnicity, language or any other source of discrimination
  • Universal youth and adult literacy
  • All youth and adults have access to skills for life and decent work through Technical Vocational Education Training (TVET), formal and non-formal education and training
  • Safe, secure and inclusive learning environments for all
  • Full, broad curricula that enable the development of the individual, including human rights education and education for global citizenship and sustainable development

Sian Tesni, CBMs Senior Education Advisor for Education says: “It is great to see CBM and partners join this year’s GCE GAW again. I am particularly pleased to see the campaign emphasise quality education for all learners and the need for early childhood care and education. These approaches will in turn focus on building the capacity of all educators, health care and other community based workers. To achieve the goal of inclusion there will be a need to provide professional, well-trained, qualified and motivated teachers which will in turn lead to the provision of equitable and inclusive education, eradicating gaps in access or achievement based on poverty, gender, disability, ethnicity, language or any other source of discrimination. This vision will require mainstreaming disability into all pre-service and in-service education programmes as well as ensuring the provision of specialist teacher training in specific areas of learning e.g. sensory, learning disability.

Another key step will be the strengthening of links between different ministries e.g. health, social and welfare services and education. When all these services are available the true vision of inclusive education can be achieved.'


Events across the world

ANET (Amigos de los niño/as especiales de Tarija) Tarija, Bolivia is a partner of CBM and Liliana Fonds. CBM supports the ANET Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) project. As part of the 2015 GAW activities, ANET conducted a public demonstration to raise awareness amongst local communities and the media for the right for learners with disabilities to access education. At the same time they were able to create awareness amonsgt public authorities of the challenges that families face to access inclusive education for children with disabilities.

CBM partner, Krousar Thmey joined the Cambodian GCE Coalition again this year.This year, the NGOs participating in the organisation focused on the theme: Right to education is our duty.

There were numerous activities which took place throughout 25th April until 2nd May. These included a TV comedy show and a chat show which consider the challenge of deploying teachers to remote areas of the country.

From Krousar Thmey Mrs. Phalla Neang, the coordinator for blind education was invited to be guest speaker in the radio programme. She highlighted the need to address the right of out of school children such as those from ethnic minorities, children with disabilities and migrant children to have free access to quality education in Cambodia. Mrs Phalla is one of 10 nominees for the prestigious Global Teachers Award 2015 for her contribution to the inclusion of children who are blind or have low vision in schools in Cambodia.

Further radio programmes included addressing the right to free education and raising awareness about the right for learners with disabilities to access lifelong learning opportunities – whatever their age.

Krousar Thmey designed and printer 13,000 posters entitled 'Right to education is our duty'. These were disseminated widely to raise awareness. Krousar Thmey actively participates in all meetings and contributed 300 USD to running events.