Education Challenges in Myanmar: Trying to Reach Education in a Chaotic Environment

Written by Müge Çınar

Education in Myanmar: the background

The first educational transition occurred in 1948, from the colonial education system to a national system. The second educational transition happened after 1962, from a national education to the so-called ‘Burmese Way to Socialism’ education. From 1988 to 2010, the country’s education noticeably deteriorated so that almost 40% of children never attended school, and nearly three-quarters failed to complete even primary education (Lwing, 2007).

In September 2014, the parliament and the military-backed government approved the national education law. However, students protested against the national education law, which is highly centralised and restricts academic freedom. In June 2015, an amendment to the national education law was enacted with minor changes. The teachers, scholars and students had to obey social control. In addition, the government prioritised its political agenda in the education system.

Education Budget and the System in the Country

With education spending 2.91 per cent of the GDP, the lack of an education budget (approximately three times that of the military budget) further hinders growth. As a result, compared to other Southeast Asian countries such as Vietnam, children in Myanmar do significantly worse on standardised tests. The new country has begun reforms, such as the gradual implementation of free education through high school. Despite some progress, there is still a long way to go (Children of the Mekong).

Children in a classroom. Photo by worak. Wikimedia Commons.

Genocide of Rohingya People by Myanmar and its Effect on Children’s Education

The Rohingyas, a Myanmar ethnic group, have been denied fundamental human rights, including citizenship. They have been subjected to terrible oppression, prejudice, violence, torture, unfair prosecution, murder, and great poverty for decades. Rakhine State’s hostile environment has caused the Rohingyas to evacuate their homes and seek asylum in neighbouring nations (Shohel, 2023). This erupted the children’s fundamental right to education while asylum-seeking and travelling with much trauma.

Many villagers have fled the fighting and their burned homes during the decade-long civil conflict. Many villages seek refuge in the bush, and the number of internally displaced people (IDPs) is growing. Hundreds of villagers lost their homes and left their communities during the recent conflict in Kachin State, northern Myanmar (Lwin, 2019). Thousands of Rohingya men, women, and children were shot and burned in a matter of weeks during the violence against the Rohingya community in northern Rakhine State, western Myanmar; masses of Rohingya women and girls were raped; infant children were killed; men and boys were arbitrarily arrested; several hundred villages were destroyed in arson attacks; and more than 700,000 people were forced to flee to neighbouring countries (Washington Post, 2017).

There are around one million Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, including 300,000 who entered as a result of previous years’ violence (Washington Post, 2017). More than half of the Rohingya refugees are women and girls, with 60% being minors under 18 (Oxfam, 2018). According to the UNHCR (2018), 97,418 Myanmar refugees live in nine refugee camps along the Thai-Myanmar border. 54.4% are under 18 (The Border Consortium (TBC)). This is a question of nearly half of the population how to get proper education in refugee camps. In addition, Malaysia is one of the transit countries for refugees, and Malaysia has thousands of Rohingya refugees that have no legal refugee status by the government.

Over 31,000 refugee children from southeast Myanmar’s conflict-torn Kayah State require immediate financial assistance to continue their education. Despite the continuous violence in Kayah, pupils attend community schools, including makeshift classrooms in internally displaced persons (IDP) camps (The Irrawaddy, 2022).

How Different Are Minorities Getting Education?

Although the name ‘Burma’ is derived from the Bamar people, who constitute two-thirds of the country’s population, according to official government data, Burma is one of the most ethnically diverse countries in the region, with over 135 ethnic groups. The country’s geographic location has drawn settlers from various backgrounds throughout history. There are over 100 languages spoken, and minority ethnic populations are estimated to make up approximately 40-60% of the total population and occupy half of the land area (Humanitarian Aid Relief Trust (HART), 2021).

The Bamar (68%), Chin (2.5%), Kachin (1.5%), Karen (7%), Kayah (1.83%), Mon (2%), Rakhine (4%) and Shan (9%) are the eight ‘official’ groups. The figures are from 2016. The sea gipsies’ of the southern islands, the “long-necked” ladies of Padaung, the Nagas on the Indian boundary, and the tattooed women of Chin State, not to mention the Pa-O, Wa, Kokang, Akha, and Lahu indigenous peoples, are all part of these broad groups. The country’s major religions are Theravada Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, and Animism.

Teaching minority languages in state schools has been prohibited in the Burmese education system since 1962, and this policy remains in place today (Lwin, 2017); even though Myanmar has an estimated population of 51 million people who speak over 100 languages and dialects, as stated above.

A teacher and some students including novice Buddhist nuns at Aung Myae OO Monastic Education School on Sagaing Hill across the Irrawaddy River from Mandalay. The ‘civilians’ have decorated their faces with thanaka, a skin protector and, among women and girls, a fashion cosmetic made from tree bark that has been used in Myanmar for at least the past two millennia. Photo by Dan Lundberg on Flickr.

The Hardship of Language in Education, Especially Ethnic Language

The language of education is not neutral since it reflects the historically determined ability of one or more groups to elevate their language to such prominence within a state. A curriculum may also contain classes that educate about local history. In certain circumstances, language is the primary divide behind ethnic conflict and civil war (Shohel, 2023). For example, Bormann, Cederman, and Vogt (2017) demonstrate that linguistic cleavages are increasingly prevalent. A centralised education sector often fails to adequately address the grievances arising from rights to identity and language (Dryden-Peterson & Mulimbi, 2016).

Child Soldiers and Child Labour

A civil war necessitates many soldiers, and both sides of the conflict use children to strengthen their forces. Although it is difficult to determine due to a lack of official estimates, tens of thousands of child soldiers are undoubtedly present in Myanmar (Children of the Mekong). These children, many orphans, are frequently enlisted or sold to armies. They are indoctrinated and pushed to battle after they join the military. Solving this problem will necessitate a reduction in ethnic tensions and enhance political stability, both of which appear unattainable.

According to UNICEF, one out of every four children aged 6 to 15 works. There are two reasons for this: schooling is still costly, and lack of finance for the education sector sometimes means that the children receive insufficient education. As a result, many rural residents prefer to send their children to work to earn money (Children of the Mekong).

Gender inequality

The military authority has been the norm rather than the exception in Myanmar for 50 years. For many decades, women were barred from holding leadership positions and were denied equal economic and educational possibilities as men. During these decades, social conventions decided that women and girls should control the household, family, and other caretaking chores while males should be leaders, owing to the country’s military and hyper-masculinity. This period’s patriarchal worldview is exemplified by the military-drafted 2008 constitution, which regularly refers to women as mothers and proclaims that specific vocations “are suitable only for men.” Myanmar was ranked second most discriminating in the 2021 Social Institutions and Gender Index2 out of nine Southeast Asian countries (UN Women & UNDP, 2022).

According to the women who responded to the survey in December 2021, “After the military takeover, all the hopes and aims are gone, and everything has been difficult. The education system is worsening, and the scarcity of jobs is increasing” Kayin resident, 55 years old (UN Women & UNDP, 2022).

Young children attend a school in Myanmar. Photo by ILO / P.Pichaiwongse on Flickr.

Children with Disabilities

According to the Ministry of Population’s 2019 survey, 12.8% of the population has one of the six disabilities: 6.3% have a visual impairment; 2.4% have a hearing impairment; 5.4% have difficulty walking; 4.4% have difficulty remembering/concentrating; 1.9% have difficulty self-care; and 1.6% have difficulty communicating (DoP, 2020, p. 93).

According to the Ministry of Education, students with disabilities attended 14.72% of all regular primary and secondary schools in 2019. In Myanmar, statistics show that education for disabled children is scarce (Tonegawa, 2022).

DoP et al., 2017: 156 estimate that 45.4% of children with impairments aged 5-9 years and 31.4% of children with disabilities aged 10-13 years have never attended school. The enrolment rate of disabled children is low compared to Myanmar’s overall net enrollment rate in formal education, which is 98.5% in formal primary education and 79.2% in formal lower secondary school. In Myanmar, school enrollment for disabled children is low (Tonegawa, 2022). This multi-sectoral review holds that Myanmar’s success in meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is largely dependent.

Unqualified Higher Education Teachers and Teachers under Threat

The University scholars are expected to be positioned at the nexus of teacher training and research practice. The scarcity of research-related scholars is a crucial issue for Myanmar, with their minimal studies on their research engagement.

The teachers also, as well as students, are under threat of ongoing conflict. The 2021 coup and the civil war affected teachers’ safety. In addition, eleven though the teacher is threatened by their lives, their income is insufficient to survive.


The second anniversary of Myanmar’s February 2021 coup d’état has just passed, and the country’s terrible state of armed warfare, insurgency, turmoil, and anarchy has only worsened. With the uncertainty surrounding the postponed general elections this year, which most believe will not be free, fair, or genuine, the civil war inside Myanmar is projected to worsen in 2023. There appears to be no end in sight. All of these conditions deteriorate the access to quality education for many children.

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Educational Challenges in Lesotho

Written by Priscilla Thindwa

An Overview of Education

The significance of education in driving development and as a tool in reducing  poverty is undeniable. Education should be regarded as a human right, and every individual should have access to and be fully included. According to the World Bank, on an individual level, education has the impact of promoting employment, increasing earnings, and reducing poverty (World Bank, 2023). On the societal level, education has the potential to drive long-term economic growth, strengthen institutions and foster social cohesion (World Bank, 2023). For this reason, Sustainable Development Goal 4 envisages a world with inclusive and equitable quality education and promotes lifelong learning opportunities for everyone. However, the challenge in most African countries is not the accessibility but the quality of education and exclusion. According to reports by the United Nations (UN), sub-Saharan Africa has the highest rates of education exclusion globally, with approximately 60% of youth between the ages of 15 and 17 not in school (Kaledzi, 2022). Several factors contribute to such challenges.

Lesotho College of Education. Photo by OER Africa on Flickr.

The Landscape of Education in Lesotho

Lesotho, a country in sub-Saharan Africa, is not an exception to the persistent challenges of education faced by other countries in the region. Even though the country has had some challenges, its literacy rate is considered one of the highest in Africa. With an adult literacy rate of 81% in 2021, the World Bank datasets note a decline of 5.3% from 2000. Such a decline is worrisome because education is considered a fundamental human right for all individuals in the world. The primary school in Lesotho is free, and most primary schools and secondary schools are owned by churches (Bitso, 2006: 37). The Ministry of Education and Training is considered the mouthpiece of education whose main responsibilities include formulating and monitoring the implementation of educational policies, passing legislation and regulations governing schools (Bitso, 2006: 37).


Overcrowding in Classrooms

One of the main challenges facing education in Lesotho is classroom overcrowding. This is mostly in Primary schools. In 2009 when the government of Lesotho implemented a free education policy, this put a strain on the existing “physical infrastructure, educational material and human resources” (Mukurunge, T., Tlali, N. and Bhila, T., 2019:29). Even though the policy’s aim was for everyone to have free access to education, quality of education was compromised. As pointed out by World Data on Education, Lesotho’s poor quality of primary education is a matter of concern (UNESCO, 2006:2). Citing overcrowding as the main cause of such low quality in education, which is exacerbated by shortages of teachers, classrooms as well as high repetition levels (UNESCO, 2006:2). Supporting the literature study by Seotsanyana and Matheolane, Francina Moloi, Nomusic Morobe, and Urwick, James, assert that introduction of free primary school education led to an increase of students per teacher ratio. This resulted in teachers resorting to ineffective teaching methods (Moloi, F., Morobe, N. and Urwick, 2007). For instance, the latest World Bank Data on the pupil-teacher ratio in Primary schools was 1:23 in 2018. Consequently, affecting the levels of pupil concentration and increasing drop-outs.

Shortage of Qualified Teachers

In addition to overcrowded classrooms, the shortage of qualified teachers is another challenge that limits the education system in Lesotho. This shortage is compounded by the lack of opportunities for teachers to undergo proper professional training to revamp their skills. The shortage of qualified teachers and overcrowding in classrooms continue to contribute to low-quality education and efficiency, especially at the primary level. Moreover, as indicated by the World Data on Education on Lesotho, the low quality of teachers is owed to the “absence of regular in-service training opportunities for teachers” (UNESCO, 2006:2). This is exacerbated by inexperienced headteachers, inadequate inspection and teachers who are not certified.

Qoaling is a village/suburb of Maseru. It has a built in infrastructure for most part but hand pumps are still evident in some sections. Maimoeketsi Community Primary School. The Standard 7 class during lessons. Photo by John Hogg. World Bank on Flickr.
Shortage of Furniture and Learning Materials

Shortage of furniture and inadequate learning material are other challenges that hinder most Basotho from enjoying their right to quality education thoroughly. Quality infrastructure and learning materials are imperative for education to be effective and efficient. However, this is not the case for most schools in Lesotho. Even though education is free in primary schools, insufficient learning materials such as textbooks, teachers’ guide materials, and desks hinder the provision of a good education. To make matters worse, some schools do not have enough classroom blocks, so they must learn outside under trees. For those with school blocks, they are poorly maintained, and pupils shiver in cold weather. For some, such unfavourable environments continue to deter pupils in Lesotho schools from accessing quality education.

Socio-economic Factors Leading to Poor Performance

Another challenge that most Basotho face concerning education is related to the socio-economic factors, which place a significant role in the performance of the pupils in school. According to the World Bank data on the collection of development indicators, 70.06% of Lesotho’s population is based in rural areas (Trading Economics, 2022). The 2021 UNICEF Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS) findings on Lesotho indicated that approximately 80% of children complete primary education (UNICEF Lesotho 2021:15). The report observed a steep decline in the rate for lower and upper secondary education (UNICEF Lesotho, 2021:15). The report continues to note that children from the “poorest quintile and those in rural areas” had lower rates of completion and performing below the national average (UNICEF Lesotho, 2021:15). On the other hand, those from urban and wealthiest families, was noted to complete at “a level higher than the national average” (UNICEF Lesotho, 2021:15). Some contend that the disparities in the level performance are owed to lack of motivation for children from poor households whose parents are usually less educated (Help Lesotho, 2018). Most children from such households are not convinced that education’s impact is changing one’s economic status. Also, some children from poor households go to school hungry, making it difficult for them to concentrate and, as such, negatively affecting their performance. Thus, even though primary school is free, it remains inaccessible to certain groups of society in Lesotho.

Some Recommendations and Conclusion

Since education is considered a fundamental human right, one should expect it to benefit all groups of society regardless of their socio-economic status. However, this is not entirely the case in some schools in Lesotho. As discussed above, several challenges within the education system continue to hinder Basotho’s ability to enjoy fundamental human rights entirely. Firstly, classroom overcrowding can be tackled by constructing more schools and employing more teachers. Doing so will reduce the pressure on the limited resources. The employed teachers should be professionally trained and allow them opportunities to upgrade their knowledge to adapt to the changing world.

Moreover, the government and non-governmental organisations should ensure the provision of required learning and teaching materials to both students and teachers, respectively. Lastly, regarding tackling the challenge associated with socio-economic factors, children from poor and rural areas should be given more incentives to stay in school, and scholarships should be awarded to the best performers to continue their education to secondary school and tertiary education. Doing so will indeed ensure that education is accessible to all groups of society regardless of their socio-economic background.


Educational challenges faced by refugee children in Turkey

Written by Caren Thomas

Refugees are those who have a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion. Experiencing such fears in early childhood will critically impact a child’s cognitive, social, emotional and physical development.

As articulated in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, children have specific rights. These include principles of protection from harm, provision of basic needs, recognition and participation of children as rights holders. 

Through the Temporary Protection Regulation passed in 2014, Syrian refugees are provided specific protection to specific rights, including education, shelter, food, water, housing, social security mechanisms and the labour market.

Via the 2015 EU-Turkey joint action plan, both sides aim for enhanced educational opportunities across all levels and a commitment to assisting the host nation, Turkey, particularly in aspects like infrastructure and various services.

In 2018, the Global Compact on Refugees set a goal that governments should be in a position to include refugee children and youth in the national education systems within the time period of three months of displacement.

The earthquake in February 2023 inflicted additional distress upon refugees and other displaced children in Turkey, particularly impacting their access to education.

Education is a fundamental entitlement for every refugee and individual seeking asylum. Turkey is facing a significant influx of asylum seekers and is also a host to a substantial refugee population, a majority composed of Syrians. Unfortunately, these refugee children are unable to access education due to their circumstances. The existing educational framework for refugees in Turkey is burdened with numerous difficulties and obstacles.

Photo by Julie Ricard on Unsplash.


Many enrol in Turkish schools after obtaining an international protection identification document bearing the foreigner identification number. The tuition fee waiver announced by the council of ministers only applies to students from Syria. Turkish classes are offered at Public Education Centres free of charge. For this, the international protection identification document is required. However, if insufficient persons are enrolled, said classes may not commence on the requested enrolment date.

Individuals hailing from Syria are eligible to enrol in Temporary Education Centres, whereas refugees and asylum seekers from different nations are exclusively permitted to register at Turkish public schools. Temporary Educational Centres are schools which provide educational services for persons arriving in Turkey for a temporary period. These were initially staffed by Syrian volunteers who UNICEF and other NGOs financially compensated. As per the Ministry of National Education, a considerable proportion of the refugee children were out of school in 2019. However, there has been a substantial decline in the number of children not attending since the initial years of the Syrian refugee crisis. As of  2017, the Turkish authorities have been implementing measures to integrate Syrian refugees into the country’s public education system.

Statelessness within the Syrian population residing in Turkey presents a notable issue. Challenges persist due to factors such as the lack of proper civil documentation, difficulties in acquiring birth certificates in Turkey, and the citizenship regulations of Syria. Notably, Syrian nationality can only be inherited by a child from their mother if the birth occurs within the borders of Syria.

Within Turkey, if the mother’s relationship with a Syrian or Turkish father is unestablished or unclear, then the child faces the risk of statelessness. An absence of Turkish citizenship or permanent residency leads to them being guests within the country and failing to be integrated into Turkish society.

While Turkey is a signatory to the UN Refugee Convention, it has submitted a request for geographical limitation. Consequently, individuals such as Syrians and those arriving from various other nations are ineligible for complete refugee status in Turkey. Alternatively, they are registered under the “temporary protection” regulation.

This Temporary Protection Regulation allows refugees access to essential resources such as healthcare and education. Once the refugees are registered under the Temporary Protection Regulation, they are required to remain within that province.

Additional issues arise from the lack of recognition of temporary and international protection status in 16 provinces across Turkey. The reduction of 25% to 20% foreign population within a given neighbourhood continues to cause significant issues. Finding jobs becomes a difficulty since the individual is forced to look for jobs only in the area the individual is registered in, thereby limiting the job opportunities that may be available to them in other places, such as Istanbul.

A recurring trend observed worldwide is that during times of crisis, the education sector is frequently the first to be halted and the last to be reinstated. It is crucial to be have access to education regardless of whether you are an international protection applicant or status holder or if you plan to resettle in another country or go back to your country. It helps the children develop skills, stability as well as  integrate them socially and academically into the education system.

Language barriers

In a study conducted, it was seen that the main problem was that of language. The employed teachers did not speak Arabic, and the children, in this case, did not speak Turkish. There are no activities carried out within the classroom setting to facilitate their learning. There is no varied material brought in to help aid their understanding. Teachers need to be provided with vocational training to better facilitate the learning process for refugee children through teaching strategies and teaching aids.

The teachers have little to no awareness on these refugee children, not just from an educational point of view but also on a psychological level. A majority of these students have been subjected to post-traumatic stress disorder, primarily due to the conditions they are coming from.

The children’s communication barrier furthers the issue within education. When the refugee children are put with other students who can speak the Turkish language, they are often subject to mockery, lack confidence and isolation due to the language barrier.

Syrian children and youngsters attending informal education and integration courses at Relief International communıty centre.
Photo by: EU/ECHO/Abdurrahman Antakyali , Gaziantep.

Familial background and trauma

In a gender analysis carried out in 2019 to explore the Syrian refugee journey with a focus on the difficulties encountered by refugees in Turkey, it was observed that a notable portion of Syrian refugee children were not attending school. Among those who were in school, there were elevated levels of trauma. This significantly undermined the educational advancement of these children.

Children were initially not sent to schools since parents felt their stay in the country where they sought asylum would be temporary. However, once the families realised the permanency of their residency in Turkey, the enrolment rate in schools by refugee children steadily increased.

Research has consistently shown the positive effects of education on children who experience post-traumatic stress and develop coping and resilience skills. This can prove particularly helpful and effective for refugee children in the long run.

However, despite the positive impact education has, it comes with complications. An unstable or unsupportive home environment hinders a smooth educational process for these children and impacts the quality of education.

Refugee families typically find themselves having lost all they had. This, alongside  the financial strain, forces their children into early marriage, leading them to drop out of school. Worth mentioning, is that in 2020 there was a drop in boys attending school. It was seen that reasons such as sending children to work due to augmented economic hardship were one of the reasons to withdraw boys from schools.

Decline in services

Natural disasters, epidemics and wars spare no children. Turkey was gripped by conflict following Covid-19 and the earthquake in February 2023. Refugee children are often subject to poverty, poor living conditions, minimal access to safe drinking water, healthcare and food, as well as compelled to work owing to the unfavourable economic circumstances faced by the family, leading to the children being forced to neglect their education. The Conditional Cash Transfer for Education for Syrians and Other Refugees and the Promotion of Integration of Syrian Children into Turkish Education were seen as ways to address the economic barriers to enrolment and attendance.

These children have been victims of distressing experiences at a young age, such as the maiming and death of their near and dear ones. Due to the unstable environment, this results in a delay with their access to education. These children may end up receiving education in inadequate educational facilities, thus hindering their ability to fully grasp and unleash their full potential.

Racism and xenophobia

Instances of racist and xenophobic assaults have experienced a substantial rise as well. This has been further exacerbated by various politicians within the country. This continues to subject refugees from Syria and other places in constant danger throughout schools, homes and workplaces. Taking into consideration the duty Turkey has towards its refugees, especially as a signatory to the UN Refugee Convention, the politicians, members of the government, policymakers, and other influential persons should make a conscious effort not to instigate animosity towards refugees within the country.

Teachers and other resource persons need to make a conscious effort to bring awareness among the children of the host state that discrimination, racism, bullying, and other such acts are unacceptable behaviour. The citizens or parents of the students of the host state also need to be made aware to end discriminatory treatment towards these refugee children and teach their children to be respectful towards their fellow peers. Basic language skills among refugee children would allow for both parties to have a basic level of interaction. If not, refugees will persist in grappling with the notable issue of being excluded and marginalized.

The host nation must actively strive to comprehend the challenges that refugees encounter within an educational environment, encompassing issues like bullying, discrimination, language barriers, and similar concerns. These factors impact the necessity of forging connections and fostering a sense of belonging.

Hatay, Turkey, 9 February 2023. Members of the UK’s International Search & Rescue Team continue working in coordination with other search and rescue teams looking for survivors. Photo by UK ISAR Team

February 2023 earthquake

The earthquake that struck the nation in February 2023 has exacerbated the challenges faced by refugees. Basic resources, such as education, are now inaccessible for children. Several schools are being repurposed as shelters for those affected by the earthquake.

UNICEF has managed to help 140,000 children with access to formal or non-formal education and has provided more than 260,000 children with access to mental health and psychosocial support. UNICEF and AFAD have played an active role in helping the Ministry of National Education with temporary education measures such as tents for catch-up classes and exam preparation. However, even UNICEF recognises the need for longer-term support needed for rebuilding and recovering the lives of these children and their families.

It is a common pattern that education, particularly for vulnerable groups, tends to be disregarded and relegated to a lower priority. This situation could potentially push these vulnerable children into engaging in child labor as a means of supporting themselves or their families during these challenging circumstances. The increase in bias and impoverishment persists among these Syrian refugees, and when combined with the restricted educational access, they find themselves compelled to work merely to sustain their livelihoods.


The hosting country should make efforts to guarantee the integration of displaced children, regardless of their specific classification as refugees, internally displaced persons, asylum seekers, or unaccompanied minors, into the local education system in their respective residential areas.

Considering the massive influx of migration that Turkey receives due to global humanitarian crises, it would be wise if Turkey took an active initiative not only in policy-making but in its implementation regarding the education situation for said displaced children.

Partners within the country as well as internationally should step up to help the Turkish authorities by equipping them with the required support in the form of financial aid, technical assistance, expertise in terms of teachers who have the talent to speak the relevant languages, subject knowledge and to be able to cater to the different kinds of difficulties that come with teaching children that are coming from volatile environments.

It’s important to acknowledge that a teacher tasked with educating refugee children, along with those who are internally displaced, asylum seekers, or unaccompanied minors, is instructing a group that faces challenges beyond what is typically encountered in a standard classroom setting.

These children may have disabilities from birth or due to violence in their countries, have seen family members and friends killed or injured, or have even been victims of sexual violence. It’s highly probable that their education might have been disrupted well before their arrival in the host country. As a result, teachers in these contexts need to possess not only strong teaching skills but also a profound understanding of their classroom environment and a sensitivity to the unique situations they are confronted with. This is a difficult challenge.

The host country and other partners assisting the host country must also be mindful of this fact while hiring teachers and other resource persons. Education, especially for refugees, is exceptionally beneficial for social restructuring and socioeconomic development. 

As the viability of the Turkiye Compact is under ongoing evaluation, particularly given the difficulties involved, its execution would notably contribute to supporting Turkey and enhancing the nation’s economy. Additionally, it would assist refugees in achieving greater self-sufficiency and decreasing their reliance on humanitarian aid funding.

Introducing a universally recognized certification system for these children would enhance the ease of educational transitions, if they were to occur. This system would facilitate enrollment, attendance, retention, progression, and completion, fostering a more inclusive, equitable, and high-quality education for both refugee children and youth.

Ignored, bullied, rejected and discriminated against are common words used to describe the experience of refugee children in schools. It is high time this narration and plight are changed. Turkey must uphold its treaty obligations under the 1951 Refugee Convention, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), Convention against Torture and continue to uphold the principle of nonrefoulement. Ensuring education provides a robust platform for children to be emboldened and enrich their future.  It is an immense responsibility that should be shouldered by the state and non-state actors at the local, national and international levels to maximise all efforts to ensure a safe space for these children.


Challenges facing the Education System in Angola

Written by Ruth Lakica

The Cidade Alta in Luanda, Angola, stretches along a ridge lined by pink colonial buildings including the president’s and archbishop’s palaces. Photo by David Stanley on Flickr.


Education is a fundamental right for all humans around the globe. Regardless of one’s economic or social status,  they should be able to have access to education. Even though this seems obvious and like common knowledge, it is not the reality for many Angolans. Nevertheless, the government has and is making significant efforts to cab illiteracy.  For instance, in recent years, Angola has significantly reformed its education system, improving literacy and enrollment rates. However, school completion rates indicate high levels of dropout. The Angolan Education Law (2021) makes primary education free and compulsory for six years, but approximately 2 million children are still out of school.  The country’s long-term strategy–Estratégia de Longo Prazo Angola 2025–promotes the human and educational development of the Angolan people.

Conflicts and insecurity

Despite the civil war ending more than 15 years ago, Angola still faces—and will continue to face—challenges in its education system that date back to these years of violence. Primary education in Angola is compulsory and free for four years for children between 7 and 11, but the government estimates that approximately two million children are not attending school.

In areas where classrooms were utterly demolished during the war and have not yet been rebuilt, classes typically are held outside and often must be cancelled due to bad weather. Where classrooms exist, they tend to be overcrowded and undersupplied, with outdated or insufficient books and pencils and not enough desks and chairs.

Lack of enough qualified teachers

Debates about teacher quality lack in Angolan educational institutions are constant. These were and continue to be pointed out as teachers without the desired quality to teach in higher education, in addition to being few, forcing them to become multipurpose: the teachers lack in Angolan educational institutions causes the few teachers to teach a large number of subjects, and in many cases, subjects outside their comfort area.

The Angolan government focused on education expansion for a long time and forgot about teaching quality in the same institutions. Therefore, the institutions, especially private ones, arise without verification of the curriculum they presented, which was never in accordance with the requirements for their functioning, many of them without appropriate facilities and without enough teachers to follow the several existing courses. And several other factors contributed to the higher education institutions’ quality being relatively low.

Household poverty

The educational level was directly related to the incidence of poverty in Angola from March 2018 to February 2019. According to Statista, among people with no education, 56.5 per cent lived with a level of consumption below the poverty line. Among individuals with primary education, the rate amounted to 54.9 per cent. Even though the poverty incidence among people with higher education was the lowest, 17.3 per cent of people with an upper secondary education or more were living above the poverty line. In December 2018, the total poverty line in Angola was estimated at roughly 12.2 thousand Kwanzas (approximately 22 U.S. dollars).

Impact of drought

The challenges for accessing education imposed by the cyclical pastoral migration in Cunene – particularly for boys – are well-known. However, the severe drought plaguing the South Region of Angola has intensified the phenomenon, causing unprecedented stress on the province’s education system.

According to Reliefweb, In the municipality of Curoca, one of the hardest hit, 13 schools have closed since the beginning of the year due to student absences. Of Cunene’s 887 primary schools, 614 are affected by the drought in some way, which is causing severe disruption to no less than 70% of the province’s 214,000 students.

When children must split their time between fetching water and protecting their families’ greatest wealth, the livestock, their education suffers.

Impact of Covid-19

The pandemic caused by the SARS Covid-19 came to monitor investments made not only in the health sector but also in education and, above all, in the higher education subsystem. The pandemic led governments to close university campuses and face-to-face classes suspension for a considerable period of time as a measure to prevent the virus contamination from spreading. Some countries with the distance learning modality in their school curricula were forced to make it a strategy, intensifying them to reduce the pedagogical damage that was felt due to the pandemic caused by COVID-19. Given the uncertainty of an end date for the pandemic, other countries were forced to bet on this modality of distance learning.

Until 2020, the Angolan State did not recognize any studies carried out at a distance, both within the country and abroad (Presidential Decree n° 59/20, of 3 March). The emergence of the pandemic was necessary to show the importance of distance. It blended learning, leading it to adopt the strategy used by most countries to avoid a catastrophe at the educational level.

Green Schools campaign in Eiffel School, in Angola. Photo by Mayada Marrom on Wikimedia Commons.

Water, sanitation and hygiene

According to USAID, “nearly half the population of Angola (49.3%) lacks access to clean drinking water and (54.7%) of households do not have access to adequate sanitation facilities.” As a result, many Angolans face a high risk of exposure to waterborne illnesses, further burdening the nation’s existing healthcare infrastructure, worsening malnutrition and negatively impacting the economy.

Moreover, the southern regions of Angola are experiencing a prolonged drought, which has gravely impacted the nation’s health, sanitation, water access and education services. More than 1.2 million Angolans face water scarcity due to the drought. In the Cunene province, the drought has caused “serious disruptions” to school access for nearly 70% of students.

Teenage pregnancy and child marriages

Angola has one of the highest teenage pregnancy rates in the world. Underlying factors include limited knowledge of family planning, inadequate availability of commodities, limited access to skilled health workers, and insufficient household resources allocated to sexual and reproductive health. The high rate of teenage pregnancy increases the already existing vulnerability of girls, as pregnancy is often an impediment to continuing education, exemplified by the low literacy rates of only 36.5% for young women aged 15 to 24. The country has 10 million girls and women of reproductive age. Although 75% of girls attend primary education, this proportion drops to around 15.5% in secondary education, coinciding with the first menstruation age. High fertility rates and high levels of teenage pregnancy also increase the risk of maternal mortality. In this context, behaviour change interventions are crucial to empowering young women and men to make better decisions to protect themselves.


In conclusion, Angola’s government, therefore, has a responsibility to extend better social services in rural areas, such as roads, schools, and hospitals, to facilitate development in those areas and hence improve people’s living standards and education for poor kids.

As the government seeks to alleviate the effects of the lockdown brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, emphasis should be placed on ensuring that systems that are supposed to protect girls and women from child marriages are not compromised. Clean water must be readily available for people to improve their hygiene habits, as must soap. And girls must have privacy and dignity when using sanitation facilities. The Government of Angola should respond to the drought in the southern region, which also affects the provinces of Namibe, Huila and Bie, so that children can focus on their education.

  1. Global partnership for education. (2022, November 22). The Angolan Education law(2021).

Educational Challenges in Benin

Written by Faith Galgalo

The country profile

Inauguration monument Dévoués. Photo by Presidency of the Republic of Benin on Flickr.

Located in West Africa, and on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean, The Republic of Benin (French: République du Bénin), gained independence in 1960, from the French rule. Benin, is part of the 15 member states that make up Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), a Regional Bloc aimed at promoting economic corporation among member states, to raise living standards and promote economic development.

Education System in Benin

Benin education system follows the French education model, which is Six years in primary, four years in Junior High, three years in Senior High and three years in University, which constitutes to the 6-4-3-3 system (UNESCO, 2023). Education in Benin has been free for 17 years. The provision of the constitution under Rights and Duties of the Individual, Article 13, states that primary education shall be obligatory and the government shall progressively offer free education to its schools (Constitution of Benin (COB), 1990).

Problems in Benin Education

Benin strategy to increasing student enrollment by introducing free education at the Primary level, increased the enrollment rate, from a net enrollment rate of 82% in 2005 before free primary education, to 97% in 2018, 12 years after free primary education was introduced (Data World Bank, 2018).

The rapid increase of students at the foundation level of education due to free education, has however, not translated, in the progressive levels of education, of Secondary and University. According to World Bank Data, 54% of Beninese children enrolled in the 1st grade of Primary school eventually reaches the last grade of Primary education. The low number of students progressing to Secondary and University schools has significantly been attributed to child labor, early marriages, early pregnancy and poverty.

The low literacy levels, which currently stands at 46% and is much lower than the rates in the neighboring countries of Nigeria (62%) and Togo (67%) (World Bank, 2021). In 2018, Benin was among the 10 least literate countries in the world (42.36). The high dropout rate to other levels of education, have led to a reduction of national income and overall GDP in the country, as jobs for less qualified people lead to low-income jobs in the future, creating a lower access to innovation and a lower GDP. As individuals with low levels of literacy are more likely to experience poorer employment opportunities, outcomes and lower income as they face welfare dependency and high levels of poverty as a country (World Literacy Foundation, 2018).

Gender Gaps

Teacher Léandre Benon and student Mariam at the blackboard. Photo by GPE/Chantal Rigaud in Flickr.

The high dropout rates are particularly evident to Benin gender gaps, which have seen more girls drop out than boys. In Benin, gaps between women and men stem from structural social disparities that start earlier in life. According to World Bank, (Nathalie, 2022) the male literacy rate between 15-24 years is about 55 percent while the female literacy rate in the same age group is about 30 percent. Only one in ten girls aged 21-24 have completed secondary school. Moreover, one third of 20–24-year-olds are married by the age of 18, and 15 percent are already mothers at the age of 15-19 (Nathalie, 2022).

In addition, the average number of years of schooling in Benin is 3.8 years which is lower than its ECOWAS member countries of 4.2 years in 2019 (UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, 2022).

Since 2015, Benin has not yet closed the gap. Also, the drop in lower secondary completion rate from 45% in 2015 to 33% and 2020 (UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, 2022) echoes the need to focus on the pursuit of education and ensure 100% transition from one level of education to the next, in both genders.

These gender gaps have translated to the larger community whereby the gender parity index which measures the steps a country has made towards gender parity in participation and/or educational opportunities for females is low at 0.79% (World Bank, 2022). Young girls in Benin are at risk of not completing education as a result of societal norms automatically decreasing women participation of women in Benin’s formal sector. The Government has increased its efforts in ensuring Girls education is addressed with Benin agreeing to introduce the AU Campaign to End Child Marriage in Africa which is part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development for Children in Africa (Forwerk, 2017).

Child labor

Children in Benin engage in the worst forms of child labor, including in the production of cotton and crushed granite. Children also perform dangerous tasks in domestic work and street vending. According to International Labor Organization (ILO, 2021), 20% of children under the age of 14yrs, experience child labor.

Children are trafficked mostly within Benin but also to neighboring countries such as Gabon, Nigeria, and the Republic of the Congo, for domestic work and commercial sexual exploitation, and to work in vending, farming, and stone quarrying (ILO, 2021). Children living in the northern regions of Benin are the most vulnerable to trafficking owing to being a rural area. According to the International Labor Organization, a practice locally known as vidomégon (Child placement), where children most girls, are sent to live with other families for domestic work in exchange for educational opportunities, which in most cases, lead to many children becoming victims of labor exploitation and sexual abuse.

In 2013, the Government implemented a nationwide anti-child labor awareness campaign and signed a bi-partite agreement with a Beninese worker association to reduce child labor through increased collaboration (Refworld, 2021). That year, the Government officials handled 62 child trafficking cases and 11 exploitive child labor cases, referred 23 suspects to the court system on child labor and trafficking charges, and provided shelter to 173 victims of trafficking (ILO, 2021). In another effort to end child labor, Benin’s government through its Social Affairs docket, removed 400 children from child labor as a result of Social Services inspection (ILO, 2021).

Lack of official documentation

A 12th grade math class at Collège d’enseignement général of Sô-Ava. Photo by GPE/Chantal Rigaud in Flickr.

The Beninese Government offers free registration to a new born before 10 days, after which, the parent/ guardian incurs a fee of $30 (ILO, 2021). Cultural practices such as naming a baby, takes 10 days after birth, which therefore gives the parents little time to register and obtain a birth certificate. While in other households, 2 in 10 children in Benin, are born at home, giving children little or no hopes in acquiring official documentation (ILO, 2021).

Lack of official documentation in any country, presents a challenge in accessing basic rights such as access to health and education. In Benin, 4 out of 10 children are not registered at birth and do not receive a birth certificate. As a consequence, they are often denied the right to an education and lack access to other essential services, hence leading to an increase in the informal sector and an increase in child labor.

Since January 2012, UNICEF has been involved in the distribution of more than 140,000 birth certificates that were pulled up in civil status registration centers. Through this initiative, children have access to the services they are entitled to such as health and education. According to UNHCR, a National forum on civil registration is aiming to address the hadles that prevent universal access to birth registration in Benin (UNICEF,2012).


Benin is a country with a growing economy, whose efforts such as free primary education, increase of teachers and facilities, have showed a slight increase, there is still the need for the Government to increase its efforts in ensuring 100% transition in all levels of education in both genders, this will increase the literacy rate, and eventually the economic situation to improve the lives of Beninese people.

A few recommendations would be to increase Government spending on the education sector, especially following the Government 5 years plan through its Program Action that began from 2021-2026, which sorts to increase development in various Governments sectors such as; Education challenges, Development challenges, Economic challenges. Also, Government needs to up its efforts in ensuring no child is left behind as a result of lack of identification, child labor and early marriages. The Government and its Education stakeholders need to encourage the communities especially in the rural areas that Education is an asset, and through it, an entire community benefits from new ideas, leaders and increased standards of living. Through this, the literacy rate of Benin, will increase adding to Benin workforce, that mostly depends on Agriculture, can eventually expand to other sectors such as Technology and Professional and business services hence increase Benin’s GDP.


Educational challenges in Papua New Guinea

Written by Fenna Eelkema


Flag of Papua New Guinea. Kumul Flying high on the 16th of September 2022 across the Southern Cross. Photo by Spencer Wungin on Unsplash

Papua New Guinea is a beautiful country consisting of 600 islands and a population of 10 million. There are more than 800 different languages used in Papua New Guinea, making it one of the world’s most linguistically diverse nations. After being colonised by various countries for 250 years, Papua New Guinea finally gained independence in 1975. Since gaining this independence, Papua New Guinea has been on a quest to provide accessible and quality education for its children. Despite these efforts, Papua New Guinea still faces educational challenges, such as a low literacy rate, a high drop-out rate, and a teacher shortage. Additionally, school is not accessible to all children due to financial, health, or geographical reasons.

Education in Papua New Guinea

In Papua New Guinea, the journey towards providing accessible and quality education has undergone several transformations over the past fifty years. In 1973, a significant milestone was achieved with the establishment of the first national unified education system. This system adopted the structure of 6+4+2, wherein students completed six years in primary school, four years in high school, and lastly, two years in either a national high school or directly entering colleges. Despite its intentions, this rigid system limited students’ autonomy over their learning, and the education sector still fell short of achieving wanted goals.

In the 1990s, Papua New Guinea established a new educational system in response to the need for change. The structure was changed to 3+6+4, with three years in elementary school, six years in primary school, and four years in secondary school. This shift aimed to implement an outcomes-based curriculum designed to align education with desired learning objectives. However, challenges persisted, and this education system struggled to meet wanted goals.

Therefore in 2021, there was another transformation; the new 1+6+6 structure was introduced, outlining a curriculum that begins with one year of Early Child Education and Development, followed by six years of primary education and an additional six years of secondary education. A distinctive feature of this structure is adopting a standards-based curriculum, outlining precise learning benchmarks for students and providing educators with clear guidelines for teaching and assessment strategies. Hopefully, this new structure will help improve Papua New Guinea’s education for all children.

Low literacy rate

The low literacy rate in Papua New Guinea has been a concern for a long time; while there has been some improvement over the last two decades, still more than three million people are illiterate. In 2000, the literacy rate was 57 per cent; in 2010, it was 61%; and in 2015, it was 63 per cent. The combination of linguistic diversity and insufficient resources has contributed to this long-standing problem.

The high dropout rates are another reason for the low literacy rate. Around a quarter of children aged 6 to 18 are out of school, and the rate of primary school students transitioning into lower secondary school is only 56%. Economic pressure/poverty, family responsibility, or inaccessible schools are some factors that lead students to drop out.

To hopefully lower the drop-out rate, some high schools have started using the FODE (Flexible Open Distance Education) concept, which allows students to pursue their education beyond the confines of the conventional classroom setting with flexibility; students are allowed to study at their own pace within their communities, liberating them from the limitations of urban centres. This program has seen promising results, with over 80,000 students returning to education.

Remember: there is always something to smile about in the world. Photo by Vika Jordanov on Unsplash

Quality education in remote areas

Papua New Guinea’s unique geography and many remote areas make providing quality education to these hard-to-reach regions hard. The key to quality education is quality teachers. Unfortunately, there is a teacher shortage in all of Papua New Guinea; this shortage is so dire that it has even led to instances where children were left without a school to attend. In 2016, approximately 10,000 teaching positions were vacant, with the majority of these vacancies being in remote areas. Drawing teachers to these remote areas has proven to be a considerable struggle. While initiatives like ‘remote school allowances’ and scholarships have been established to encourage teachers to work in these remote regions, poor motivation and reluctance to work in these areas have contributed to persistent teacher shortages. There are also reports of teachers who were entitled to these allowances but did not receive them; this discouraged some teachers from doing their best work.

Many teachers have also not been receiving in-service training. This is due to a lack of funding. The government has been relying on donors to finance, but the budget is inadequate. Furthermore, there are no structures or regular training posts to support teachers in schools. Now that the educational system is transforming into the 1+6+6 standards-based curriculum, it is imperative that teachers receive the proper training to implement the curriculum accordingly.

Financial problems are another reason why there are issues in remote areas. Families in poor, remote areas often cannot afford school fees, which can amount to more than half of their earnings. While some school fees were abolished by the national government in 1993, schools continue to charge some fees, leading to a financial barrier that hinders equitable access to education. Additionally, sizeable towns in urban areas usually have local secondary schools, whereas students in remote areas often rely on provincial boarding schools; sending your child to a boarding school typically costs more money, which puts the families at an even more significant setback.

Poverty and Health Care

Many children in Papua New Guinea are dealing with health-related challenges. Some of these health challenges stem from poverty, disproportionately affecting remote and rural areas where 85 per cent of the population lives.

One of the health challenges is that the immunisation coverage in Papua New Guinea has been stuck around 60 per cent for nearly ten years. This places children at unnecessary risk of preventable diseases that could be controlled through vaccinations. Additionally, for many individuals, it is hard to access clean sanitation and safe drinking water; this makes it hard always to practice good hygiene leading to contagious diseases easily spread among children.

Malnutrition is another health issue in Papua New Guinea, the underlying cause of almost half of all under-five deaths. Nearly half of all the children aged 6 to 59 months (5 years) suffer from stunted growth, indicating chronic undernutrition during critical developmental periods. Stunting not only endangers a child’s chance of survival but is also harmful to a child’s general health and cognitive growth, which could lead to long-lasting negative consequences.

Another issue is that, for many people, healthcare facilities are not easily accessible. The ratio of doctors to people is one doctor for every 17,068 people, compared to, for instance, Australia, where the ratio is one doctor for every 302 people. Additionally, 90% of the doctors are based in urban areas, whereas 85% of the population lives in rural areas, leaving these rural areas with even fewer doctors. Children often reside hours away from the nearest health clinic, facing difficult journeys on foot, by boat, or by unreliable local transportation. This lack of accessibility worsens children’s difficulties obtaining crucial medical care and other treatments.

Because of its geographical location, Papua New Guinea is frequently subjected to natural disasters such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, floods, landslides, tsunamis, and cyclones. These events threaten people’s health, disrupt healthcare services, and increase existing vulnerabilities.

To address these health challenges, Papua New Guinea must focus on improving general health care, raising immunisation coverage, promoting better nutrition, improving healthcare accessibility, and strengthening disaster preparedness. By doing so, Papua New Guinea can make significant steps toward ensuring a healthier and more promising future for its children.


To conclude, Papua New Guinea’s educational landscape is marked by progress and persistent challenges. The educational system has undergone many changes, from a rigid structure to an outcomes-based approach. The recent adoption of the 1+6+6 structure shows promise for a more successful curriculum. Still, challenges in teacher training remain, which may impact the outcome of this new curriculum.

Low literacy rates and high dropout rates continue to hinder progress. Initiatives like Flexible Open Distance Education (FODE) have shown potential in addressing dropout rates, but more needs to be done to ensure every child has an opportunity to learn.

The shortage of qualified teachers, particularly in remote areas, presents a significant obstacle because quality education can only happen with quality teachers. Efforts to attract teachers to these regions have been somewhat effective but not wholly successful.

Financial barriers, health issues, and insufficient access to healthcare have added to the challenge. Addressing these challenges is crucial for ensuring a healthier and more successful learning environment for children.

Papua New Guinea has made significant progress in providing accessible and quality education. Although there is still a long road ahead, the nation can create s brighter future for its children by putting in the effort and working with various organisations.


Ireland’s educational system, educational challenges and the purposes of improvement

Written by Stefania Grace Tangredi

Source: Journal of Rural Studies

Ireland’s territory is divided into two parts: Ireland, sometimes referred to as “the Republic of Ireland”, and Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom.  Ireland is a member of the European Union.

The population of the country in 1926 was 2,971,922, increasing to 4982 million in 2023. Ireland became a free state in 1922, a parliamentary democracy governed by the 1937 Constitution of Ireland.  The official languages are both English and Irish.

From the 1950s to the 1970s, the Irish economy was growing and increasing not only in the political field but also in the educational field. In 2008 unemployment increased, and GDP dropped in growth. The recovery plan agreed upon at that time required a significant cut in public spending and a range of measures to stabilize finances and return to growth; Ireland exited successfully at the end of 2013. The Expenditures on Education by the Government are 3.72 % as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP); this is lower than both the regional average (4.6%) and the average for its income group (4.5%).

Ireland’s educational system

In Ireland, attendance at National Schools is free, and the State must provide free primary education. Some private elementary schools charge a fee. Attendance at most secondary schools is free, but some private schools charge a fee for the families, even in secondary education. Sometimes the schools bear the expenses for books, uniforms and exams. The history of Ireland has been shaped by the influence of religious institutions in society, including the education system; therefore, the Catholic Church plays an important role in education: most primary schools, like the National Schools, are run by the Church and subsidized by the State. Most Secondary Schools – private schools for secondary education – are also run by Catholic institutions. Education in Ireland is obliged from age 6 to 16, or until students have completed three years of secondary education.

Source: Europe Academy of Religion and Society.

Elementary school consists of eight grades. Pupils typically advance to secondary school at age 12. The Second Level is divided into a Junior Cycle and a Senior Cycle. Both general and vocational subjects are taught in secondary education.

Secondary education includes secondary institutions, vocational, comprehensive and community colleges. The number of young people continuing their education after compulsory education is high: more than 90 % of 16-year-olds, 75 % of 17-year-olds, and about 50 % of 18-year-olds attend school full-time.

Education in Ireland: outlook for growth

The challenges faced by Ireland for the education system are multiple. Ireland is trying to accommodate a rapid increase in enrolment. However, primary enrolment is declining after reaching a peak in 2018, and post-primary enrolment continues to grow strongly, increasing by 34,300 between 2017 and 2021. Full-time postsecondary education enrollment is also rising rapidly, with an increase of nearly 16,400 between 2017 and 2021 and 13 additional postsecondary schools since 2017, reflecting the substantial increase in enrolment.

The total number of teachers has increased by over 7,804 since 2017, from 64,692 to 72,496. The student-teacher ratio in elementary schools has decreased from 15.3 to 13.7 since 2017 and from 12.8 to 12.2 in secondary schools.

Not only is Ireland trying to increase enrolment, but it’s also promoting a more pluralistic school system that better accommodates diversity, especially religious diversity, in line with the changing profile of the population. A number of schools in Ireland, from 2019, have started to become the first transfer from catholic to multi-denominational.  The schools will implement programs to encompass and include different beliefs and values.  

The participation of children with special education needs has increased in the education system. Ireland wants to provide an education system that supports their participation and advancement to ensure they can reach their full potential. It is essential that schools have policies in place to deal with any difficulties of the students.

To maintain the quality and performance of all levels of the education system and to face the work world, to keep up with the changing world, the education and training system will play a key role in meeting existing and emerging skill needs by providing education, training, and skill development opportunities for those entering the workforce, as well as ongoing upskilling and retraining of existing labour market participants.

How did Ireland face the educational issues during covid-19 in 2020

According to a UN report, nearly 190 countries have imposed school closures, affecting 1.5 billion children and young people. As so, students had to start to adopt new learning, “learning from home education,” and teachers and educators had to change their way of teaching. The UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay guaranteed that United Nations was providing aid to adapt to this situation, especially since they were working with countries to ensure the continuity of learning for everybody, particularly disadvantaged children and youth who tend to be the hardest hit by school closures.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, 94% of students said they used a combination of textbooks and digital tools. Many students (79%) indicated no difficulties had been experienced, and if they had, the issues would have been addressed promptly. Most young people completed their assignments and received the teacher’s feedback.

Photo by Jessica Lewis on Unsplash

Bullying in schools

Even if a lot of children and adolescents attend Catholic Schools, a growing number of people do not practice the religion and may attend Christenings and Communions just because it is part of Irish culture rather than having any genuine belief in the practice, even though the majority of schools in Ireland are Catholic schools. Nearly 80% of the population describes their religion as Catholic, according to the 2016 Census.

Religious practicians and committed students feel vulnerable as they are a minority in Irish schools now.

To avoid this problem, Irish schools must have a code of behaviour and a specific educational program and procedures that together form the school’s plan to help students in the school to behave well and learn well. Also, school support teams will be available to help students experiencing bullying, and all the staff will be trained as part of the new action plan.

Disadvantaged people in Ireland

Despite having the fastest-growing economy in Europe, poverty levels in Ireland are stable. Children are more likely than the overall population to experience ongoing poverty.  More than 62,000 children live in persistent poverty, and others are in danger of poverty. One in five parents do not have enough food to feed their children. Children who travel a lot, like the Roman children, are particularly vulnerable. The term “Roma” is used by the Council of Europe to refer to Roma, Sinti, Kale and related groups in Europe, including Travellers and the Eastern groups, like Dom and Lom, and covers the wide diversity of the groups concerned, including persons who identify themselves as “Gypsies”.

Source: CSO Ireland.

From statistical data 2016, 2 % of 10-year-olds in Ireland cannot read and understand a simple text by the end of primary school. Those in rural areas are potentially negatively affected by difficulty in maintaining involvement in education or accessing facilities.

Educational disadvantages are often related to socio-economic factors, for example, inadequate income, poor housing,  health or family problems. Children who have been born into poor households or live in deprived areas are most subject to educational failure and subsequent labour market exclusion. Young people who experience social disadvantage are at a higher risk of being exposed to factors that impact their opportunity to progress successfully through first and second-level education.

Conclusions and recommendations

Ireland’s education system has shown significant strengths and achievements while facing challenges. The country is firmly committed to providing quality education to its citizens, evident through its well-structured and accessible education infrastructure. Ireland’s emphasis on early childhood education, investments in technology, and dedication to inclusivity have contributed to a positive learning environment for students of various ages and backgrounds.

The education system has many merits, but some areas can be improved to enhance its overall effectiveness:

Ireland should invest more than it does in education, particularly at the primary and secondary levels; this is crucial to maintaining high-quality teaching standards and facilities. Adequate funding will ensure all schools have the necessary resources to support students’ learning needs.

Despite progress, educational disparities persist in some regions and among specific demographics. The government should focus on narrowing these gaps by implementing targeted interventions, such as improved access to resources and specialized support for disadvantaged communities.

Continuous professional development for educators is essential to keep up with evolving teaching methodologies and technologies. Encouraging and providing opportunities for teachers to enhance their skills will benefit the student’s learning experience. As the education landscape becomes increasingly demanding, prioritizing mental health support services for students, parents, and educators is vital; creating a positive and supportive learning environment will help students thrive academically and emotionally.


Education Monitor: Around The Globe between the 1st and 15th of August, 2023

Broken Chalk proudly presents the tenth edition of “Education Monitor: Around the Globe” between the 1st and 15th of August, 2023. Broken Chalk aims with this letter to increase public awareness of  Educational problems, challenges, and violations in the scope of the world. This newsletter is unique. This is a weekly newsletter in which we attempt to monitor and convey educational news from around the world in a concise manner. This monitor will be published biweekly with the effort of our young and enthusiastic team.

You can contribute to our work if you like. If you witness any violations in the scope of education, you can write the comment part of this post. Broken Chalk will try to address the issue in its next monitor edition.

To Download it as pdf : Education Monitor: Around The Globe between the 1st and 15th of August, 2023

Broken Chalk Platform, in March 2019, was founded by a group of educators abroad who experienced and have been experiencing severe human rights violations in Turkey and had to ask for asylum currently in several countries.

These education volunteers also suffered greatly and started their new lives in their new countries without human rights violations. They gained respect just because they were considered human beings in those countries. However, they left one part of their minds and hearts in their homeland. They assigned themselves a new duty, and the human rights violations they left behind had to be announced to the World. A group of education volunteers who came together for this purpose started their activities under the Broken Chalk platform’s umbrella. However, the Broken Chalk platform was not enough to serve their aims. Therefore, they completed their official establishment as a Human Rights Foundation in October 2020.

Broken Chalk is now much more than a platform, and we have reviewed and enlarged our vision and mission within this framework. Violations of rights would be the first in our agenda in the field of Education all over the World. At the point we reached today, Broken Chalk opened its door to all individuals from all across the globe, from all professions, and to all individuals who say or can say ‘I also want to stand against violations of human rights in Education for our future and whole humanity, where our generations grow up together.’

Education is essential because it can help us eliminate the evils from society, introduce, and increase the good. We want to draw the public’s and stakeholders’ attention to the fact that Education is in danger in several different parts of the World. The attacks are wide-reaching, from the bombing of schools to the murder of students and teachers. Raping and sexual violence, arbitrary arrests, and forced recruitment also occurred, instigated by armed groups. Attacks on Education harm the students and teachers but also affect the communities in the short and long term.

We invite all individuals who want to stop human rights violations in Education to become Volunteers at Broken Chalk.

Education Challenges in Chad

Written by Vasthy Katalay

The social situation in Chad has never remained the same since the passing of the Corona Virus Pandemic at the end of the year 2019. The Chadian population has been experiencing various social difficulties leaving families to their own faith (UNICEF, 2023). In fact, parents have seen their households’ and loved ones’ basic needs consistently overlooked and denied as time went by. These basic needs inclusively concern safety, shelter, food, proper healthcare, and basic education following the reports made by UNICEF (2023).

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (2022) affirms that the socio-economic situation and political instability play a significant role in the current condition.        The challenge regarding Chad’s education sector has persisted for more than four years. It has been proven that seven in ten children aged 18 years and younger do not have access to any schools or learning facilities in Chad (World Bank, 2022 & UNHCR, 2022).     The UNHCR (2022) additionally attests that the perpetration of armed conflicts in the Lake Chad Basin has been contributing highly to the worsening of the education condition in Chad. This is because it restrains any humanitarian aid that may come from both local or international organisations due to the lack of security in the surrounding environments.

Assidick Choroma, Minister of National Education and Civic Promotion of Chad, and Alice Albright, GPE CEO, met students and teachers at the Lycée-Collège féminin bilingue d’Amruguebe school for girls in N’Djamena. The school welcomes 1500 girls and has 80 teachers, including 30 women. It provides education in Arabic and in French. Chad, February 2019
Photo by: GPE/Carine Durand

Consequently, 1.4 million children lack basic educational assistance while 360 000 struggle to access social protection services (OCHA, 2022). More than fifty per cent of children are incapable of accessing primary school education (INSEED & UNICEF, 2019). These statistics have been confirmed by the Humanitarian Needs Overview (2022), which attests that the number of children who need educational support increased by 8% in 2022. Although the conditions are not met, UNICEF has been making considerable efforts toward promoting and providing 85,600 formal and non-formal opportunities (UNICEF, 2023). This is being implemented through and with the help of the Chadian government’s local and national support coordination.

These efforts have resulted in the continuous educational support of 120,437 children, including girls, who represent 43% of the beneficiaries, according to UNICEF (2022). This was the result of both on-site and remote intensive learning programmes, schools’ rehabilitations, and some psychosocial support provided to children with disabilities. The World Bank equally joined hands in contributing to upgrading learning facilities and conditions in Chad. This is being achieved through various development programmes that benefit the school’s pedagogical and managerial staff for a period of five years (World Bank, 2022).

Research attests that the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) has evenly partaken in providing massive and continuous school attendance in various refugee camps in Chad. This endeavour is made regardless of the minimal financial and logistical support. UNESCO partially contributed to this cause through its involvement in the improvement of conditions in both existing and new formal and non-formal teaching and learning facilities. UNESCO thus set up two successful emergency development projects destined to upgrade the quality of the educational sector in a bid to minimise drop-outs and child marriage and labour. These projects are known as PREAT and PUREAT because they both plan and organise the implementation of ideas into practical actions (PREAT, 2019-2023 & PUREAT, 2021-2023). These projects have been involved in the translation of teaching documents from French into both Chadian Arabic and Sar, which are the popular languages spoken in the country.

The concerned projects have been working progressively well so far as they have allowed teachers to use national languages to favour pupils’ teaching process. Consequently, young and older pupils unable to understand or speak French may still have access to learning facilities and knowledge ((PREAT, 2019-2023 & PUREAT, 2021-2023). This strategy has proven to have increased the number of literates in both formal and non-formal educational facilities in the concerned country in accordance with the projects’ reports.

Quality education is the key Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) among all SDGs and thus constitutes a crucial sector in realising the remaining goals (Katalay et at., 2022).         In fact, SDG 4 secures the inclusivity and equity of quality education for each and every child. This is because, being born equal, every child has got the universal right to education regardless of their origins, colour of skin, religious beliefs, family backgrounds, age frame, or gender. Access to quality education has been revealed to be a vital pattern in individuals’ lifelong self-actualisation and poverty reduction all over the World (Katalay et al., 2022).

Katalay et at. (2022) carried out qualitative research that reviewed the educational challenges faced at different levels of understanding: global, continental, and local. Its results have indeed affirmed that the availability of quality learning facilities and affordable school fees were patterns in the increased school attendance rate in various African counties. Building affordable quality schools and vocational training centres in Chad may thus encourage parents and guardians to send their loved ones to acquire knowledge (Katalay et al., 2022). Research shows that education truly allows every citizen of a given nationality to be an added hand in both the socio-economic and political developments of their respective environments. This confirms that it is only through education that the remaining SDGs may be achieved in Chad (Katalay et al., 2022 & UNICEF, 2023).

The vocational training centre offers youths 9-month training courses on a specific trade. At the end, trainees receive equipment to set up their own business. In this photo, a young man is supervised by his teacher in the mechanics room, devoted mostly to motorbikes, the most common vehicle in this area of Chad. © 2018 European Union (photo by Dominique Catton)

Some research attested that individuals with low or without formal education or training are exposed to real-life struggles to provide basic needs in Africa (Katalay et al., 2022). This explains why the educated have more chances of finding employment than the less or non-educated.  The knowledge of those who are educated guarantees them access to various employment opportunities within their areas of specialisation. Schools and vocational training centres will equip individuals with some required skills and knowledge that will enable them to get various well-paid jobs and provide basic needs at home.

This is to say that less or non-educated individuals are more exposed to a lack of employment opportunities and thus incapable of providing for their families and loved ones. This is because their resources will be limited, and so will their access to various basic needs. These needs include the daily provision of shelter, food, proper healthcare, and education.         In light of this, education seems to be the crucial element that provides the Chadian government with capacities to fully participate and contribute to improving their social services. Improving these services would consistently and continuously make the lives of as many individuals as possible better and worth living (Katalay et al., 2022 & UNESCO, 2023).

Additionally, inclusive education for both men and women has proven to play a crucial role in abolishing various sociocultural mindsets and practices (Katalay et al., 2022). These involve female children being denied access to education, female genital mutilation (FGM), gender inequality in workplaces, women being abused, and child marriage and labour. Reports have revealed that poverty is the cause and consequence of the daily perpetration of social vices and inequalities in Chad (OCHA, 2021).

Poverty limits access to education, standard shelter, food, healthcare, clean water, constant electricity, and sanitary facilities as it increases the number of refugees. Inversely, all these social problems joined together seem to be partaking in upgrading the poverty level in many African countries, including Chad (World Food Program, 2023).

Research has shown that the poverty level in the African continent, in general, and in Chad, in particular, has been the cause of the stagnant situation of the education sector. This is because the lack of security and peace in various neighbouring countries has aggravated and increased the number of refugees in Chad. This makes the situation more difficult to handle since Chad has already been struggling to provide essential social services for its citizens.       In addition, the security or safety around Lake Chad has not been helping the current situation due to the danger to which both the population and humanitarian organisations are exposed. Six in ten parents have expressed their fear of sending their children to schools or vocational training centres, given the low-security measures taken in their surrounding environments.

In conclusion, several factors have recently been worsening the quality development of the education sector in Chad. It has been proven that socio-economic and political instabilities have contributed highly to the poverty level in multiple sectors. This situation has been affecting nearly half of the Chadian population.  The downgrading of the education sector in Chad has left families and households in a daily dilemma consisting of either providing food or sending their children to schools and centres. This explains why individuals in the country have limited access to other basic social human needs. These limited or lack of basic human needs leave parents and children denied a roof over their heads, food, clean water, electricity, health treatment, and basic education.


  1. Education Cannot Wait Team (2022), Chad Overview Development. Retrieved from &
  2. Inseed & UNICEF (2019). MICSE Chad Final Report in Djamena, Chad.
  3. Jesuit Refugee Service (2023). The Challenge of Accessing Education for Sudanese Refugees in Chad. Retrieved from
  4. OCHA (2021), Strengthening Girls’ education in Chad. Retrieved from
  5. UNESCO (2023). The PREAT 2019-2023 and PUREAT 2021-2023 Projects in Chad. Retrieved from
  6. UNHCR, (2019 & 2022).
  7. UNICEF, (2019, 2022 & 2023). Retrieved from
  8. World Bank (2022), Chad to Improve Learning Outcomes in Basic Education. Retrieved from &
  9. World Food Program (2023). Retrieved from

USA: 11 facts about high school dropout rates

Written by Néusia Cossa

We used to see social media, such as YouTube or Instagram, shaping dropouts, like how intelligent people get their lives together and become successful businessmen and women. Sometimes, this may be the case. Nevertheless, in reality, things are not so simple; high school dropouts have negatively affected society.

  1. Every year, over 1.2 million students drop out of high school in the United States alone.

That is a student every 26 seconds – or 7,000 a day[1]. The status dropout rate represents the percentage of 16- to 24-year-olds not enrolled in high school and lacking a high school credential (either a diploma or an alternative certification such as a GED certificate). In 2020, there were 2.0 million status dropouts between 16 and 24, and the overall status dropout rate was 5.3 per cent. This Fast Fact estimates status dropout rates using the Current Population Survey (CPS). The CPS is a household survey that covers the civilian noninstitutionalized population, which excludes persons in the military and persons living in institutions (e.g., prisons or nursing facilities).

The status dropout rate varied by race/ethnicity in 2020. The status dropout rate for Asian 16- to 24-year-olds (2.4 per cent) was lower than the rates for Black (4.2 per cent) and White (4.8 per cent) 16- to 24-year-olds, and all three rates were lower than the rate for those who were Hispanic (7.4 per cent). The status dropout rate for Asian 16- to 24-year-olds was also lower than that for those of Two or more races (6.5 per cent) and American Indian/Alaska Native (11.5 per cent). The rate for those who were Black was lower than the rate for those who were American Indian/Alaska Native.

2. According to David Silver (2008), about 25% of high school freshmen fail to graduate from high school on time.

Neild and Balfanz (2006) analyzed the School District in Philadelphia, showing that academic experiences play a critical role in students’ lack of persistence toward high school graduation. Furthermore, many students fall off the graduation track years before entering 9th grade. Attendance rates and course failure in math and English during 8th grade were found to have strong predictive power for high school completion.  In another study, Balfanz, Herzog & Mac Iver (2007) found that using attendance, behaviour, and course failure in math and English as key predictive indicators, they identified over half of the district’s future dropouts as early as the 6th grade.  Hence, the transition into the high school setting at 9th grade can push students who have been struggling academically and/or disengaged for years off the path to graduation.

In summary, there is much evidence that high school completion and post-high school educational status are not a function of high school educational experiences alone. In some cases, early educational experiences can predict the high school track in which students are assigned, influencing educational outcomes (Gonzalez et al., 2003; Oakes, 1985/2005).  Education is a cumulative process in which earlier academic experiences inform high school academic success. Nevertheless, a more precise understanding of early school factors influencing high school performance is needed to formulate pre-high school interventions to improve high school completion rates.  

3. The U.S., which had some of the highest graduation rates of any developed country, now ranks 22nd out of 27 developed countries[2]

    The dropout rate has fallen 3% from 1990 to 2010 (12.1% to 7.4%). Whereas, in 2020, the overall status dropout rate was higher for male 16- to 24-year-olds than for female 16- to 24-year-olds (6.2 vs. 4.4 percent). Status dropout rates were higher for males than females among Hispanics (8.9 vs 5.9 per cent) and Blacks (5.6 vs 2.9 per cent). However, the status dropout rates for males and females did not measurably differ for those of two or more races, White or Asian (National Center for Education Statistics, 2022).

    4. The percentage of graduating Latino students has significantly increased. In 2010, 71.4% received their diploma vs. 61.4% in 2006. However, Asian-American and white students are far more likely to graduate than Latino and African-American students.

    5. More U.S. high school students than ever are graduating on time, according to new information released by the research arm of the U.S. Education Department.

    According to the report, the percentage of students who graduated from high school within four years of starting ninth grade in the 2006-2007 school year hit a record high. “What we see is an increase,” Jack Buckley, who directs the Education Department’s National Center for Education Statistics, told The Huffington Post. Of the 4 million students who started school in 2006-2007, 3.1 million — or 78.2 per cent — graduated with a regular or advanced diploma in the 2009-2010 school year. That is an increase of more than two percentage points[3].

    Photo by Redd F on Unsplash

    6. A high school dropout will earn $200,000 less than a high school graduate over his lifetime. And almost a million dollars less than a college graduate.

    Earnings increase with educational level. Adults aged 25 to 64 who worked at any time during the study period earned an average of $34,700 annually. Average earnings ranged from $18,900 for high school dropouts to $25,900 for high school graduates, $45,400 for college graduates, and $99,300 for workers with professional degrees (M.D., J.D., D.D.S., or D.V.M.). Except for workers with professional degrees who have the highest average earnings, each successively higher education level is associated with an increase in earnings.

    Work experience also influences earnings.  Average earnings for people who worked full-time year-round were higher than average for all workers (including those working part-time or for part of the year). Most workers worked full-time and year-round (74 per cent).  However, the commitment to work full-time, year-round, varies with demographic factors, such as educational attainment, sex, and age.  For instance, high school dropouts (65 per cent) are less likely than people with bachelor’s degrees (77 per cent) to work full-time and year-round. Historically, women’s attachment to the labour force has been more irregular than men’s, primarily due to competing family responsibilities.7 Earnings estimates based on all workers (which includes part-time workers) include some of this variability.  Yet, regardless of work experience, the education advantage remains (Jennifer Cheeseman Day and Eric C. Newburger, 2002:2-3)[4].

    7. In 2010, 38 states had higher graduation rates. Vermont had the highest rate, with 91.4% graduating. Furthermore, Nevada had the lowest, with 57.8% of students graduating.

    Based on data collected from the states for the Class of 2010, the National Center for Education Statistics estimated that 78 per cent of students across the country earned a diploma within four years of starting high school. The graduation rate was last at that level in 1974, officials said.

    Students in Maryland and Virginia had higher graduation rates than the national average — 82.2 per cent and 81.2 per cent, respectively.

    The District had a lower graduation rate than all but one state, with 59.9 per cent of its students graduating on time. However, it is not unusual for major cities to experience a higher dropout rate and lower graduation rate than states. One study found that the Class of 2005 graduation rate in the nation’s 50 largest cities was 53 per cent, compared with 71 per cent in the suburbs.

    High school graduation rates are one measure of school success, and educators and policymakers have been trying for decades to stem the number of U.S. students who drop out of high school.

    Notable in 2010 was the rise in Hispanic students who graduated on time, with a 10-point jump over the past five years to 71.4 per cent. Hispanics are the nation’s largest minority group, making up more than 50 million people, or about 16.5 per cent of the U.S. population, according to the Pew Hispanic Center. One in four pupils at public elementary schools is Hispanic.

    Graduation rates improved for every race and ethnicity in 2010, but gaps among racial groups persist. Asian students had the highest graduation rate, with 93 per cent finishing high school on time. White students followed with an 83 per cent graduation rate, American Indians and Alaska Natives with 69.1 per cent and African Americans with 66.1 per cent (Lyndsey Layton, 2013)[5].

    8. It is concerning to know that nearly 2,000 high schools in the United States have a graduation rate of less than 60%.

    More than half the African American students in Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, New York, and Pennsylvania attend high schools where most students do not graduate on time, if at all. By contrast, the percentage of White students attending weak-promoting power high schools in these states is below the national average. As a result, African American students in these states are up to 10 times more likely to attend a high school with meagre graduation rates than White students. Even more striking gaps can be found by looking at the high schools with the worst promoting power in Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, New York and Pennsylvania (Robert Balfanz and Nettie Legters, 2004:15).

    9. These “dropout factories” account for over 50% of the students who leave school every year.

    According to a new study, after decades of flat-lining graduation rates, states finally have started to turn around or close hundreds of so-called “dropout factory” schools and recover some of the thousands of students who had already given up.

    The Washington, D.C.-based policy firm Civic Enterprises, whose 2006 report, “The Silent Epidemic,” helped galvanize state and federal attention on high school dropouts, reported that most states had gained momentum in improving graduation rates but will need to improve at least five times faster to meet a national goal of 90 per cent of students graduating on time by 2020.

    The study suggests that a combination of state economic concerns and federal accountability pressure has helped drive the national graduation rate from 72 per cent in 2001 to 75 per cent in 2008, the most recent federal graduation estimate. Black, Hispanic, and Native American students made some of the most significant gains, but more than 40 per cent of those students still did not graduate on time as of 2008 (Sarah D. Sparks, 2010)[6].

    Photo by Sam Balye on Unsplash

    10. 1 in 6 students attend a dropout factory. 1 in 3 minority students (32%) attend a dropout factory, compared to 8% of white students.

    High schools with the worst promoting power are concentrated in a subset of states. Nearly 80% of the nation’s high schools that produce the highest number of dropouts can be found in just 15 states (Arizona, California, Georgia, Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Texas)[7].

    11. In the U.S., high school dropouts commit about 75% of crimes.

    With high youth crime rates, there seem to be other effective alternatives to combat youth violence; however, America continues to build more facilities to detain at-risk youth. “That is one of the questions that we raised with this special over and over again. Our economy is stalled. The prison industry is the fastest-growing industry in America. Why? Because it is a business, we incarcerate more people in the nation than any other country in the world. Like everything else, it is all about money,”. “The lives of these children are dependable, and it is sad because it costs a whole lot less money to educate these kids than it does to incarcerate these kids” (Tavis Smiley)[8].

    A part of society portrays dropouts positively, leading to chasing your dream because school is tedious and expensive, as some may say. However, dropouts indeed have significant effects on society and economy that are not very helpful. Therefore, people should proceed with their education for the sake of the country’s national interest.  

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