Universal Periodic Review of Uruguay

The following report has been drafted by Broken Chalk as a stakeholder contribution to the Oriental Republic of Uruguay.

  • Education in Uruguay is accessible at all levels. Public education is centrally regulated by the National Public Education Administration (CODICEN). At the same time, there is also a Ministry of Education and Culture, which partly regulates private pre-primary and tertiary education and coordinates the education system but does not formulate policies.[i]
  • Uruguayan children spend 11 years in compulsory education. The last three years of secondary education are non-compulsory, and they prepare students for higher education or provide them with vocational skills. [ii]
  • Many children attend public institutions: 86% of children in early childhood education are enrolled in public schools.[iii]
  • The gross enrolment in primary school was 104.19% in 2020, slightly higher than the world average of 102.59%, while 119.9% of children enrolled in secondary education, significantly higher than the 94.51% world average. [iv]
  • It is also notable that approximately 68% of people in Uruguay had tertiary education in 2020, which was higher than the international average of 52%.[v]
  • Broken Chalk (BC) is pleased to note that equity is becoming an ever-greater focus in Uruguayan education to ensure that children from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds are not left behind. The Community Teacher Programme, the Teacher + Teacher Programme, the Tutoring Project and the Education Engagement Programme all provide opportunities for schools to offer extra help to students in need.[vi]
  • BC also admires that since 2015, compulsory education starts at age 3.[vii]
  • While there are positive indicators of the performance of the Uruguayan educational system, the country’s educational sector does display issues. Problems often relate to socioeconomic inequalities and discrimination based on ethnicity.
  • In the PISA survey, Uruguayan students scored lower than the OECD average in reading, mathematics, and science. Socioeconomically advantaged students not only outperform their socioeconomically disadvantaged peers by 99 points, which is above the OECD average of 89 points, but are also largely secluded in different institutions. This means a socioeconomically disadvantaged child has a mere 14% chance of attending the same school as their more affluent peers.[viii]
  • Dropout rates are also a prominent issue in Uruguay: only 45 in every 100 people between 20-23 hold a secondary education diploma, one of the worst statistics in Latin America.[ix]
  • As Uruguay ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1990, the state must commit to carrying out its duties and obligations, which include the insurance of equal opportunity for all children. Thus, BC urges Uruguay to address all issues which prevent the realisation of the rights set out in the Convention.

By Johanna Farkas

Download the PDF.

46th_Session_UN-UPR_Country_Review_Uruguay_S

References

[i] Santiago, P., et al. (2016), OECD Reviews of School Resources: Uruguay 2016, OECD Reviews of School Resources, OECD Publishing, Paris; 45.

[ii] Uruguay Education. “The Education System of Uruguay – Primary, Secondary and Higher.” www.uruguayeducation.info. https://www.uruguayeducation.info/education-system/education-profile.html. (Accessed August 14, 2023.).

[iii] Santiago, P., et al. (2016), OECD Reviews of School Resources: Uruguay 2016, OECD Reviews of School Resources, OECD Publishing, Paris; 49.

[iv] The Global Economy. “Uruguay Primary School Enrollment – Data, Chart.” The Global Economy. Accessed August 14, 2023. https://www.theglobaleconomy.com/Uruguay/Primary_school_enrollment/.; The Global Economy. “Uruguay Secondary School Enrollment – Data, Chart.” The Global Economy. (Accessed August 14, 2023.). https://www.theglobaleconomy.com/Uruguay/Secondary_school_enrollment/.

[v] Ibid.

[vi] Santiago, P., et al. (2016), OECD Reviews of School Resources: Uruguay 2016, OECD Reviews of School Resources, OECD Publishing, Paris; 19.

[vii] Uruguay. “National Report Submitted in Accordance with Paragraph 5 of the Annex to Human Rights Council Resolution 16/21* – Uruguay.” Uruguay, November 2018; 15.

[viii] OECD. “Country Note: Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) Results from PISA 2018.” OECD, 2019. https://www.oecd.org/pisa/publications/. (Accessed August 14, 2023.): 4-5.

[ix] Cura, Daniela , Nelson Ribeiro Jorge, Martín Scasso, and Gerardo Capano. “Challenges and Opportunities for Equity in Education: Main Barriers to Accessing and Using Ceibal Tools for Children and Adolescents in Uruguay.” Ceibal and UNICEF, 2022; 7.

Cover image by Linda on Flickr.

Broken Chalk Podcast Episode 1 – Felisa Tibbitts

Interviewer: Johanna Farkas

Transcription written by: Caren Thomas

Johanna Farkas, Intern at Broken Chalk, did an interview with Felisa Tibbitts, co-founder of Human Rights Education Associates (www.hrea.org).
The interview was recorded as audio, and this is the written transcription.

Felisa Tibbitts. Photo available in her website, Felisa Tibbitts.

Johanna Farkas(JF): Hello and good afternoon. This is the first episode of the Broken Chalk podcast. Broken Chalk is a human rights organization based in Amsterdam and it is dedicated to monitoring human rights violations in education. I am Johanna Farkas. I will be the host for today’s episode. It is my pleasure to welcome Felisa Tibbitts.

Felisa Tibbitts(FT): Hi Johanna. Thank you for inviting me.

JF: Thank you very much for accepting our invitation. Felisa, you have tremendous experience in the field of human rights and human rights education. To introduce you a bit more to the audience, Felisa’s main research interest is human rights and global democratic citizenship, critical pedagogy, education and social movements and human rights at higher education transformation. She is currently the chair of human rights education of the department of law, economics, and governance at the university of Utrecht as well as the UNESCO chair in human rights and higher education.

She has recently been teaching at Columbia university up until 2022. She also has several fellowships, awards, grants and some experience with board memberships and advisory positions. She has been working with organizations such as the UN, Council of Europe as well as Amnesty International.

There are several things to discover here, and I am excited to hear about everything.

What we will be focusing about today is your own organization that you co-founded that is the Human rights education association which I will be introducing later on.

But I will first ask some personal questions about you and your career path.

FT: Okay.

JF: Did you have a moment or a eureka moment when you knew that you want to work in the field of human rights or human rights education?

FT: That’s a really nice question. It’s interesting because some of my students who have become interested in human rights education often ask what is your career path? How did you get started and I don’t how it is for you Johanna or for people who are listening but it’s not always a straight or narrow path and for me I didn’t identify my interests as being in human rights until well into my adult career.

I had identified my interest as peace, I didn’t learn about human rights growing up. I hardly heard about human rights. It just wasn’t the language being used. I was very interested in peace. I grew up in a military family during the cold war, even during the Vietnam war, that’s how old I am and I remember when I ran out of fingers to count, when I had turned 11 years old I felt like I had to take a decision about what I wanted to do with my life.

I was a very serious child and I decided I wanted to work for world peace and then I got to college jump ahead about I guess at that point 7 years or so and I enrolled in a course offered by Karl Deutch at Harvard called Peace Research. I didn’t even know you could study peace and so that sort of set me on my path to combining my intellectual interest with my professional interest and there’s another story about how I ended up getting into human rights specifically but those were the origins for me.

I know a lot of people who are sort of lie first when it comes to their human rights work or human rights activism. They recognize at a really early age that they feel like they want to do something positive in the world whether that’s articulated as human rights or peace or social justice or you know it doesn’t really matter if it sets you on that path.

JF: You have a lot of understanding of what you want to do as we’ve heard. What do you find that people might misunderstand about human rights or human rights education or do you have maybe your own experience that you did not understand at first or something that has changed in your understanding? 

FT: I came into the human rights field in maybe one of the most positive or affirming ways possible which is that historically the Berlin wall came down and at that time I was doing my doctoral studies in international education, and I was interested in democracy and peace. So, I hadn’t heard about human rights as I mentioned earlier and I still hadn’t heard at this point it was 1990 but I went to eastern Europe and went from sort of beginning with what was still the East Berlin all the way till Bulgaria with some colleagues to do some research and what would be changing in the educational systems so I got a little bit of a flavour for in what might be happening in educational systems from a researcher’s point of view.

And then just by luck, by chance a couple of years later I was at a conference and I met the head of the Dutch Helsinki Committee, which is the Dutch version of the Human Rights Watch, Arie Bloed. He had begun working with his colleagues in legal reform in the new post-soviet countries. So classic work that human rights people still continue to do in transitional justice in post conflict environments related to rule of law, good governance and human rights. So they were typically training and working with lawyers, judges and news laws and lifting up and strengthening civil society.

Then there was this other sector, the schooling sector, that the Dutch Foreign Ministry, who was their main funder, had become interested to have them work in and I happened to know Arie and he said you know would you like to help us come figure out what we might do to support infusing human rights in the schooling systems. Our first country is Romania and so I went.

In the process of doing the first mission in raising money I subsequently became a part time staff for the Dutch Helsinki committee and that really Johanna was the way I learnt about human rights. I didn’t learn it in the classroom. I learnt it with my colleagues who were human rights lawyers and I also learnt that with my partners, if you will, in these countries who themselves have heard of human rights maybe during the communist period, maybe it was just on paper what does that mean for real life so my own learning was accompanying that of my partners and although I had in one year all the legal standards the law related approach, on the other hand I was still working with teachers and kids and continue to do so for whom law is something that they cannot understand or access so there we don’t want to lose that power of human rights in terms of the international and regional human rights standards and laws but we also want to recognize the norms and principles that influence our everyday lives.

Now that being said there are many critiques to your question, there are many critiques to human rights and I think it’s really very healthy for the human rights field to have these. I mean there’s the critique that if we look at governments who have signed on to these treaties there’s the spectrum of how well they live up to their human rights obligations, we know that accountability mechanisms at the United Nations are weak you know, monitoring is a bit stronger, accountability is weak. We know that if we look into local national context we see human rights isn’t necessarily owned by everyone and it could be one political party that takes it on and then it ends up being associated with particular political agenda or in the United States with the progressives or the leftists, when it should be for everyone and of course there’s now the very classic critique of Eurocentric that is based on natural law and individualism and questions about universality so these are all critiques and they’re all alive and well and they’re all also valid.

One of the benefits of working in the field of education is, Johanna and for the people listening, you have to deal with these learners because you aren’t there to indoctrinate people on what human rights is, here it is take it accept it believe it and carry on. It doesn’t work that way. It is a particular justice-based system around rights. There are other frameworks for promoting social change, right? They don’t have to be named human rights. So I think in human rights education my approach is to actually offer the critiques early on so that we can discuss them and learners can decide for themselves what their points of view are, how much coincides with their own or not.

I also think even with a flawed system that we find in implementing human rights in the international community the alternate is not a desirable one so my personal point of view is find a view that aligns with yours maybe its human rights language maybe it’s not.

Listen to what human rights offers, at least be aware of what it is and what it can offer you and then in terms of if you’re ultimately a believer in human rights and has potential then lean in and support it, support its implementation as best as you can it doesn’t mean you don’t criticize but try to make it better in whatever ways you can, as a diplomat, as an activist, as an educator, whomever.

Policy seminar on peace education with UNESCO & Myanmar Ministry of Education. Photo by Felisa Tibbitts.

JF: and do you think the international community on all levels when it comes to the UN or local decision makers do they have the will or wish to consider these? Do they have the tools to make these constant reevaluations of human rights and try to progress it?

FT: Well political will is obviously really key when it comes to state behaviour. We know that there has been a rollback until recently in terms of the democratic space and increase in authoritarianism which has coincided with the restriction of civil society, rule of law and human rights. So there’s no question that there are real challenges when we look at human rights challenges internationally. We still have ongoing wars, genocides. How is this still happening with all that we know not only about human rights but also about human history in the past 125 years. So its really befuddling and discouraging for sure.

At the same time, I am an optimist and I am in education so I have to own up to that, but I think the recent statistics I saw shows the kind of rolling back into authoritarianism and eroding of democracy even in the those countries that are primarily democratic seems to be shifting, that we may have reached the lowest point already in terms of authoritarianism and it might be a swing back. That is not to say that it is a permanent one.

For those of us who thought that the Berlin Wall has come down, apartheid is over, it’s going to be, maybe it’s going to be more of these cycles in term of conservatism. Conservatism does not quite capture authoritarianism, I think conservatism is quite a respectable point of view. Authoritarianism is very specifically eroding democratic principles and ways of governance so that’s very separate.

But I have to say that my understanding from political scientists, who know more than I do, that we may have seen the worst of it in terms of recent history and we may be swaying back. I mean we still have lots of challenges mind you even in the countries that are still struggling to save some of that democratic processes and institutions, checks and balances and so forth. But those countries that are aligned with human rights, I would say most countries have some if not lip service a deep commitment to forwarding human rights. Again it might be forwarding human rights within their foreign policy interest but at least it’s still there. I think if that continues, human rights is seen as important as others.

Sadly, because of the phenomenon like the war in Ukraine it’s an important reminder of how important human rights and humanitarian law is. So we know that when a catastrophe happen, human rights comes to the fore again.

But I will say, Johanna, I actually think that those of us who are working, not in government, but working in civil society and working even in higher education we have also created more space for human rights. Let me give you an example, at the higher education level there are more human rights centres than ever. It used to be, 30 years ago, the human rights centre used to be at the law school because you essentially only studied human rights if you were studying human rights law. You didn’t see it anywhere else in the university and now in the last 15 to 20 years there are interdisciplinary centres for human rights that link sometimes in parallel with the law school human rights centre which gives opportunities to graduates, undergraduates and students of all levels whether they’re in the humanities or social sciences usually those two areas are those that study Human Rights so its expanding in favourable environments in certain higher education institutions absolutely expanding.

In terms of activist work, Human Rights is being pushed down into the local level. There is a global initiative called “Human Rights Cities” and this perspective brings our attention to our local government but the local government in conjunction with community members, community organizations and all kinds of individuals in the community who hold different positions and also just regular citizens to review the human rights framework, to review the problems the community might have and what might need to be addressed. This is linked up more recently in some European cities with being cities that welcome refugees for example, so with the refugees coming in and some of the pretensions that could bring in local communities using that as a way to discuss human rights more broadly.

So, I think there has been lots of movement in a positive way amongst those actors who are human rights oriented, like I mentioned higher education, human rights cities, human rights based approach which is kind of a conceptual approach but has real bearing in thinking about looking at organizations as a whole not as a human rights perspective.

Other things happening in the United Nations around nonstate actors, multinationals, corporate social responsibility so I think on the other side of some of these discouraging trends that are restricting human rights movement you know ability to use in certain country context and the ongoing critiques of human rights which will always be there, do you have these positive sides of evolution and change and so I do think that the movement continues and you know and it just binds new avenues to remain relevant basically and potent.

JF: I see I see. You mentioned a lot about the authoritarianism and the actual issues with monitoring the implementation of human rights and how in your own experiences as well you learnt properly what human rights was or how it works when you practically worked in it and went to the field. It is a large issue there are countries who partially or who does not fully respect human rights. As you mentioned there’s still so much human rights violation including genocide happening. Has this ever hindered you or felt like giving up in your career because of witnessing or learning about all these setbacks in the history and human rights?

FT: I think that’s a fair question. I think, Johanna, I have been fortunate because I work in the field of education and that field is sort of intrinsically optimistic and forward looking. So without a question, I have also shared the deep disappointment and concern of others not only human rights people but many of us around the authoritarianism and the world back and other challenges in Ukraine, and the ongoing conflict in the Middle East don’t seem to be resolved, refugees, climate change, there’s plenty to be discouraged about but in the day-to-day that I have like having a conversation with you or meeting my students tomorrow, I can focus on these moments of learning and engagement.

 In some cases the human rights education and training I’m doing feeds immediately into social change and so sometimes I have the benefit of seeing that as I’m working with activists or I’m working with young people who eventually who get in careers in human rights or activism of some kind or so many ways you can be engaged in human rights without working for a human rights NGO or working at the UN  at the Office of the Human Rights Commissioner, there are so many things to do.

So when I’m up close its really easy and for me as well I know with education its long term game. It may be 10 to 15 years from now where we see curriculum in schools resulting in more people knowing about what human rights are and what its potential is. In that respect, I can only count wins. I don’t see any failures per se at least in the work I’m doing. But I know from my colleagues who are working in other environments where you have certain litigation, where you want it to go through successfully or you are working on social change and its big cultural changes and maybe you don’t necessarily see it in your lifetime but I even think for people who are not in education like myself, they find their own ways to stay motivated.

You know the thing about human rights as a human rights worker, if you will, is to find your joy in it. For me the joy is teaching and for others I know love law and their joy is in that. If you’re in an NGO, the joy is partly who you get to work with like your colleagues despite these very discouraging conditions and phenomenon.

First of all I don’t feel like I have a choice. This is always what I had to do and the question for me is what is the best way for me to engage, what are the skillsets I have, what will feed me. It is really important in human rights work, in humanitarian emergencies or in any kind of work you are confronting suffering whether it’s really up close or personal or wider you need to find a way to keep yourself healthy and engaged. Even for you as a young person you’ll have decisions to make on what to study next, if you’re going to study anymore, where you’re going to put your energies in, whatever you decide to do it should feed you and keep you going in the long term because we need people like you and others in the long term working for human rights.

JF: Let’s talk about and move on to the active working for human rights and you yourself actually cofounded an organization called HREA. The abbreviation of it is the Human Rights Education Association. You founded that in 1996. Can you tell me a bit about the vision and mission of this organization.

FT: Sure! So, the name itself speaks about what the mission is Human Rights Education and that was deliberate. At that time, I was living in Amsterdam, and I cofounded this organization at a time when human rights education was somewhat new. I was working for the Dutch Helsinki Committee and the work I was doing was pretty different from my colleagues because as I mentioned earlier in this conversation, I was working in the schooling sector and that was very different and new in terms of the international human rights movement.

The person who confounded HREA with me Cristina Sganga, she was the first Human Rights Education person appointed at the International Secretariat of Amnesty International. We were both concerned at that time, and we were both aware I should say that our colleagues were not thinking of it as seriously as for example monitoring and research which is classically what human rights organizations do or in my case if my colleagues were doing human rights education, again it was not with schools but with prosecutors and all.

So we decided we should start an organization that would help focus on human rights training and education inside the international human rights movement and would give us an opportunity to really help professionalize it so that’s why we started it. It was not to start an NGO because it’s not fun starting an NGO, it’s a lot of work. Although it’s fun if you know the people you work with and you like them then it’s fun and hard work.

 So that’s where HREA started, it started earlier on in the HREA or HRE kind of movement internationally and began from both our experiences in central eastern Europe primarily and sort of went from there.

The mission is to promote the use of education, training and learning inside the international human rights movement in order to promote all the goals we’re looking for in human rights, the realization of human rights. The organization works with civil society organizations, stakeholders and any learners interested to learn more.

JF: As you already mentioned your organization is already involved in a lot of different activities. You have e-learning courses, research, you take part in research with several international and local organizations and government organizations. What is the greatest achievement of this organization or what are you most proud of? Could you tell us a bit about this project?

FT: Sure. There are two things that HREA did that I am very pleased with. I am pleased with it because it felt like a real need at that time. One thing is we began an online research center for human rights and human rights education. There was time when there was no internet and when the internet came we thought let’s put all this wonderful information that we’ve been sharing by hand from place to place filling our suitcases with books for human rights activists.

So we started the online research center and it was really successful, thousands of resources. It made available to those interested in the human rights education but also to those who weren’t in a university setting so they couldn’t get access to human rights research online or conversely they were in a civil society organization and they just wanted to have an idea about what other people were doing so they could write their own curriculum. The online research center still exists but there are more out there now. At that time by 1998 we had an online research center which was well used. I still get good feedback from people who are in far off places and that this was the only way they could get human rights material at that time so that feels good still.

Second thing, we started in 2001 an online learning programme. this was before Canvas, Moodle, it was before Blackboard even, we developed our own infrastructure to offer online learning for adult learners, human rights, humanitarian development workers on topics and skills really welled for practice. We were interested in filling the gap for courses that people really couldn’t find at universities or even in trainings. But if they found them in trainings it was very expensive for the organizations to organize it because they had to travel somewhere or bring in a speaker. So wanted it to be relevant and really affordable. We offered at our peak 20 online courses a year to a range of adult learners, government and nongovernment, UN and so forth on topics ranging from strategic litigation to what I offered human rights education or the child rights-based approach to programming. So, the courses would basically evolve with what was happening in the field of needs.

So, I felt really proud of that Johanna because it was before online learning was a thing. We were out in front, we got some initial support from the Dutch Foreign Ministry and it just grew and at this there are many organizations that offer online learning like Amnesty International who has their own internal international professional development activities so we’re not filling a gap like we used to but I’m still offering courses. I’m still offering, for instance next week my online human rights education course is taking place and its filled and I am happy about that. Work does continue but happily people have more choices out there and resources which is wonderful for the field.

JF: My last question to you would be, as someone with so much experience, what would you recommend or advise to those who are entering this field right now and who are trying to find their career or own path in human rights or human rights education.

FT: Good question. It’s so precious when people are interested in human rights and human rights education. I have students at Columbia university who are self-identified as being interested in human rights. I will do anything to support their intellectual development and also to position themselves to make decisions about what they need to do next for example when they graduate from Columbia university. I think that there are unfortunately very few jobs in human rights, jobs meaning that those exclusively focused on human rights. I had mentioned some of the sectors earlier you might be involved in including the NGO sector, government, intergovernmental but there are so many ways you can be doing human rights.

There are two ways to answer this question if I may. The first is that to position yourself well to get a job with an organization whose mission is exclusively human rights, is to not only think about human rights but also get skillsets that organizations can use. Whether you work for Human Rights Watch or Amnesty International or you go work for the United Nations skill sets like project management, fund raising, social media, being able to develop training resources whatever your skillsets are needed by these organizations. Always remember to develop skillsets that can be used by an organization that may allow you to work in an organization focused on human rights. I’m not sure what people’s idea of what they might be doing but think about those skillsets and go on and get those law degrees or public policy degrees or education degrees you can still work in human rights.

The second strategy I have is to think more broadly about how you can be doing human rights. If you don’t work in an organization that is explicitly human rights related, there are so many ways that you can work towards what can be considered human rights goals. I had lunch with a former student of mine who had gone to law school, and she had attended originally to be part of the NGO sector for human rights, she realised if she worked for a law firm and uses their option to do their pro bono work she can do a lot of wonderful work for human rights NGOs supporting them with her legal advice. So just last week I had a conversation with a former student of mine who had graduated with a concentration in human rights from Columbia and she really wanted to be working full time in the human rights field. She had expected to go to law school and focus on refugee rights specifically and then proceed to work in an NGO. That was the plan, and the plans changed a bit. She is in law school but she has also been working in a private law firm and realised that she can do pro bono work through them and offer her services to the NGO sector in human rights. She’s just realized she can have a regular legal position and at the same time do the kind of work that she wants to do and so many other variations of how if you’re not working for a human rights organization per se or one that has a mission explicitly to that, you can do wonderful work either through your regular job like this young woman is going to do or through volunteerism.

So there’s just so many ways that you can contribute to international human rights movement. I would just say to you or anyone who is excited about human rights just to keep the spirit, do position yourself well through your education and your experience because your experience is really important to develop skillsets, to get field experience, position yourself well for full time human rights work and if that doesn’t work out for you for whatever reasons just to find other ways to do good things like this.

JF: Thank you very very much for your insights and for telling us about all your experience. It’s been a pleasure to talk to you. Thank you very much for your contribution today. Thank you very much for your talk. It has been very exciting to hear about your experience and thank you so much for the advice. I’m sure many of us who are pursuing this field can use lots of it. Thank you very much again today and for your time.

FT: My pleasure Johanna. Thank you for the opportunity to have a conversation with you.

JF: So this was the first episode of the Broken Chalk podcast. I hope to see you for the next episode as well. Good bye!

Universal Periodic Review of the Russian Federation

  • The Russian Federation has provided free state education since its formation in 1991. The Ministry of Education and Science centrally regulates education, while regional authorities may regulate and control education within their competencies and the helpful framework of federal law.
  • In recThe Russian Federation has shown significant progress in early childhood education rates in recent years. Enrolment of 3–5-year-olds has increased from 53% in 2005 to 83% in 2017, only slightly below the OECD average of 87% in 2017 (although there are still regional inequalities among enrolment rates). [i] 99% of children in early childhood education attend a public institution.
  • It is also impressive that 95% of adults between 25 and 64 have completed upper secondary education, well above the OECD average of 79%. [ii]
  • Broken Chalk is pleased to note that the share of people with tertiary education in the Russian Federation is among the highest among the OECD countries: 63% of 25–34-year-olds, compared to an OECD average of 44%.[iii] Moreover, in 2018, 63% of young adults aged 25-34 in the Russian Federation had completed tertiary education, the second highest rate after South Korea and significantly higher than the OECD average of 44%.[iv]
  • Despite all the improvements, the country’s educational sector does show severe issues. Problems often relate to regional inequalities, socioeconomic inequalities, and discrimination based on ethnicity.
  • The Russian Federation still spends one of the lowest amounts per student (USD 8 4791 in 2016) among the OECD countries: merely half the amount of the OECD average (USD 15 556).[v] Despite this, Russian students score 481 points in reading literacy, mathematics, and science, just below the OECD average of 488 issues in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). [vi]
  • As the Russian Federation ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1990, the state must commit to carrying out its duties and obligations, including the insurance of free compulsory education and equal opportunity for all children. Broken Chalk urges the Russian Federation to address all issues which prevent the realisation of the rights set out in the Convention.

by Johanna Farkas

Download PDF

44th_Session_UN-UPR_Country_Review_Russian_Federation

[i] OECD. “Education at a Glance: Russian Federation.” OECD. OECD, 2019. https://www.oecd.org/education/education-at-a-glance/EAG2019_CN_RUS.pdf. (Accessed 19 January 2023); 1, 3.

[ii] OECD. “OECD Better Life Index.” www.oecdbetterlifeindex.org. https://www.oecdbetterlifeindex.org/countries/russian-federation/. (Accessed January 12, 2023).

[iii] OECD. “Education at a Glance: Russian Federation.” OECD. OECD, 2019. https://www.oecd.org/education/education-at-a-glance/EAG2019_CN_RUS.pdf. (Accessed 19 January 2023); 1.

[iv] OECD. “Education at a Glance: Russian Federation.” OECD. OECD, 2019. https://www.oecd.org/education/education-at-a-glance/EAG2019_CN_RUS.pdf. (Accessed 19 January 2023); 2.

[v] OECD. “Education at a Glance: Russian Federation.” OECD. OECD, 2019. https://www.oecd.org/education/education-at-a-glance/EAG2019_CN_RUS.pdf. (Accessed 19 January 2023); 2.

[vi] OECD. “OECD Better Life Index.” www.oecdbetterlifeindex.org. https://www.oecdbetterlifeindex.org/countries/russian-federation/. (Accessed January 12, 2023). https://www.researchgate.net/publication/337821304_Educational_Inequality_in_Israel_From_Research_to_Policy. (Accessed 19 September 2022); 14.

Cover image by Petr Kratochvil on Public Domain Pictures.

Educational Challenges in Israel

 

By Johanna Farkas

 

Over 20 years, Israel has seen some significant developments connected to its education system. These advancements, by 2019, led to Israel becoming one of the highest spenders on primary, secondary, and post-secondary non-tertiary education as a share of GDP amongst OECD countries (Israel: 6.7%, OECD average: 4.9%),[i] with more than half of the population holding tertiary attainment between age 25 and 64.[ii] Furthermore, Israel’s fast technological developments put the country on the list of the top 20 most innovative countries in the world.[iii]

Despite all successes, Israel is still behind in ensuring some basic human rights regarding access to education for all its citizens and residents. Following brief overview of Israel’s ethnic composition and education system, this article highlights some of the most urgent issues in the country’s education sector by looking at educational differences along ethnic groups and socioeconomic classes, analysing the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as investigating what is going on in Area C of the occupied territories of the West Bank.

 

The Composition and Historical context of Ethnic Groups in Israel

Israel is a multi-ethnic, multinational, and multicultural state; 74% of the population is Jewish, 21% is Arab, 1.5% is Ethiopian, and the remaining 3.5% are identified as “others”. The composition of the Arabic-speaking population can be further categorised according to religious beliefs: 85% of them are Muslim, 7.5% are Christian, and the remaining 7.5% are Druze.

The ethnic composition of the Israeli population is crucial to discussing issues in the country since many problems stem from discrimination and clashes among ethnic groups, and the Israeli education system reflects these issues too. Conflict among these ethnic (and religious) groups frequently have deep historical roots, particularly in the case of clashes between the Jewish and the Arabic groups. Their conflict dates back to the very creation of Israel as a state, and the several wars throughout the 20th century, such as the 1948 Arab-Israel War, the Six-Day War of 1967, and the Yom Kippur War of 1973, further complicated the relationship of the two sides.

The Arabic-speaking minorities’ national identity rarely associate with Israel, whose political leadership stresses the state’s Jewish character, while refusing to recognise Arab or Palestinian national identities. Moreover, Israel frequently applies discriminatory practices towards these ethnic groups (also in the education sector) because state authorities frequently perceive them as a security threat due to the historical Arab-Israel conflicts.[iv]

 

The Younger the Better – The Israeli Education System

From its very foundation in 1948, the State of Israel has been closely monitoring and regulating its education system because they have been considering education as a way to ensure social mobility. The 1949 Compulsory Education Act was the first official legal action taken in Israel to enforce compulsory education which ensured free school attendance for children for 9 years from age 5.[v] Later amendments further expanded the Act, and, by 2009, compulsory education was extended until grade 12, while, by 2016, compulsory school entrance age was lowered to age 3.[vi] The successes of the Israeli education system are further reflected in the fact that despite compulsory education starting at age 3, 47% of children are already enrolled in an educational institution before age 2.[vii] Furthermore, 99% of the child population between age 3 and 5 was enrolled in an educational institution in 2019.[viii]

State-funded Israeli general education works along a four-stream system to satisfy all cultural, religious, and ethnic demands of its population. Consequently, the state provides secular, religious, and ultra-orthodox (Haredi) educational institutions for Jewish Israelis, while Arab schools serve the needs of Arab, Bedouin, Christian Arab, and Druze Israeli minorities.[ix] Along these ethnic and cultural lines, Hebrew-speaking schools are managed by Jewish principals while schools teaching in Arabic are coordinated by Arab principals. However, all principals are subjugated to centralised Israeli administration, funding, and curriculum which ensure similar requirements and control teacher-salaries.[x]

 

‘Some are More Equal Than Others’[xi] – Ethnic Discrimination in Education

Although the four-stream school system seemingly satisfies different types of cultural and religious demands, the curricula of Arab schools are largely organized by a Zionist narrative which omit Arab historical, geographical, and cultural perspectives.[xii] Arabs are underrepresented in governmental educational decision-making bodies, as well as in educational planning and supervision positions, which prevents the interest of the Arabic-speaking community from being asserted both on national and on local levels.[xiii] Thus, despite the wide-range of official responsibilities of the Arab schools’ leaders, they have little influence on decisions concerning their institutions as most educational policies are top-down determined.[xiv]

Inequality is also prominent between Jewish and Arab schools when it comes to budget allocation for advance learning programmes, and to provide programmes supporting students who have fallen behind or children with disabilities.[xv] Moreover, an approximately 30% smaller budget is allocated to the Arab school system in population ratio. Differences in school budgets are tightly connected to inequality of opportunity and quality issues, as Arab schools often have ‘fewer classrooms, libraries, laboratories, and qualified teachers’.[xvi] These factors also result larger classes which hinder the learning of students because they have less individual attention from their teachers. In addition, Arabic-speaking students are required to learn Hebrew too, which is an additional subject for Arab students on top of all other compulsory subjects, yet schools do not receive extra funding to support their learning. [xvii]

The abovementioned factors negatively influence the learning outcomes of Arabic-speaking students which is indicated by the average lower achievement of Arab pupils and students on both national and international exams.[xviii] Arab students are 30% less likely to receive a matriculation certificate (Bagrut) which is needed to enter higher education and certain courses or even jobs.[xix]

Ethiopian students also experience significant discrimination. Although most of them attend Jewish religious schools, particularly the Orthodox Jewish community in particular questions the legitimacy of the minority’s Jewish identity due to their relatively recent presence in Israel and often also because of their darker skin colour.[xx] Racial discrimination, sometimes even by teachers, combined with low socioeconomic background widens the educational gap between Jewish and Ethiopian Israelis and results a considerably large dropout rate (10.5% official dropout and 23% hidden dropout) among Ethiopian students.[xxi] The issues Ethiopian students face are so severe that only ‘30% of twelfth-grade Ethiopian students earn the Bagrut at the level required for university entrance, compared to 65% of the general Jewish student population’ which further hinders Israeli Ethiopeans’ social mobility.[xxii]File:Reuven Rivlin speaks at the state memorial service in memory of Ethiopian Jews who perished on their way to Israel, May 2021 (GPOHA1 6061).jpg

Haim Zach / Government Press Office, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Innovation But Not Equal Distribution –Socioeconomic Obstacles in Education

In Israel, socioeconomic inequalities majorly exist along ethnic and religious lines: Arabs and Haredi Jews together constitute approximately 30% of the Israeli population but make up 60% of the poor in the country.[xxiii] The reason behind this overrepresentation varies for the two groups.

As mentioned before, historical hostility between Arabs and Jewish Israelis are still prominent and often result in discrimination towards Arabs. Haredi Jews, on the other hand, are stuck in lower socioeconomic positions because of their strictly orthodox religious lifestyle in which men dedicate their life for reading the Torah and the community lives in relative segregation.[xxiv]

Figure 2 Israel Sci-Tech Schools. “Haredi Schools and Villages.” Friends of Israel Sci-Tech Schools. https://www.israel-scitech-schools.com/pioneering-models/haredi-schools-and-villages/. (Accessed: 15 October 2022).

While Jewish Israelis usually receive quality education for years and live in families where both parents work, Arab and Haredi communities frequently lack quality education, have lower paid jobs, and live in families where either one or both parents are unemployed.[xxv] Low socioeconomic background is generally in negative correlation with dropout rates, while the parents’ level of education is also a significant factor; the higher the number of years the parents attended school, the lower their children’s chances to drop out.[xxvi] This shows a vicious circle of social immobility which widens the educational and socioeconomic gap between the ethnic and religious groups in Israel.

However, not only are parents’ financial and educational statuses determinant in dropout rates. Since funding for general education institutions is allocated by local governments, schools in less affluent areas are frequently underfunded and cannot always provide quality education. This means that funding for Arab schools in Arab neighbourhoods can be 10 or even 20 times lower than in wealthier areas.[xxvii] Moreover, the population of Arab areas is increasing, which means a significant rise in student numbers in Arab schools.

In light of the above, the redistribution and reconsideration of funding allocation is becoming urgent to ensure quality education to all students in these areas.[xxviii] Financial issues affect the quality of Arab schools negatively, which can have a demotivating effect on Arabic-speaking student to continue or finish their studies. It gives some hope, however, that dropout rates have significantly declined since 2003 among Arabic-speaking students and fallen from 15.8% to 8.1% thanks to some reforms targeting the Arab education sector.[xxix]

When it comes to the Haredi community, boys from age 14 often transfer to yeshiva schools which are not supervised by the Israeli Ministry of Education. These schools follow a specific curriculum which rather focuses on religious studies and gives little space to regular school subjects. This means that Haredi students usually perform worse than other Jewish Israelis on international exams neither do they attain the Bagrut, which prevents them from entering higher education.[xxx]

However, recently the Israeli government has shown some admirable efforts in assisting yeshiva schools to ensure more regular subjects being taught, and thus increasing the chances of young Haredi Jews to pursue higher education and higher paid jobs. The state offered to cover 100% of the funding with an additional stipend for each student at every Haredi school that adopts core subjects in its curriculum, like mathematics or English.[xxxi]

 

Lacking Technology in the 15th Most Innovative Country – Issues During the Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic further widened the educational gap along socioeconomic lines. Israel has closed its educational institutions due to the pandemic in March 2020 and continued providing education through remote teaching.

However, many households lacked basic facilities needed for online education (computers, internet access, or even electricity) and even if they had access to them, families often could not afford multiple devices and facilities to support the learning of all their children.[xxxii]

The seriousness of these issues is exacerbated by the fact that students with low socioeconomic statuses are more likely to need assistance or extra attention from teachers which they rarely had the chance to get through online teaching, especially that some teachers also had difficulties adapting to remote teaching.[xxxiii] While some only struggled with getting used to the online platforms, others simply did not have access to appropriate facilities necessary for remote teaching.

In addition, online teaching was problematic in the Haredi Jewish community also because they traditionally avoid using internet, and although the number of internet users in the community is increasing, it is still not without obstacles for some children to participate in online education. A few Haredi schools simply refused to stop in-person teaching.[xxxiv]

 

Troubled Territories – Area C

Eventually, it is important to take a look at the West Bank territories (the majority of Palestine’s territory) occupied by Israel with almost only Arab residents. Legal, administrative, and governmental (and so many other) statuses of this region are complex and cluttered, but it is clear that Israel have significant influence over the region in every aspect.

The occupied West Bank territories were divided into three administrative regions in 1995, Area A, B and C.[xxxv] To put it simply, Area A is majorly governed by the Palestinian Authority (PA), while in Area B the PA has similar responsibilities, except for the security of the area which is managed by Israeli authorities. Area C, which means roughly 60% of the West Bank’s territories, is under Israeli control apart from certain civilian issues such as education and healthcare.

 

Figure 3 Welcome to Palestine. “Everything You Need to Know about Areas A, B and C.” Welcome To Palestine, July 21, 2017. https://www.welcometopalestine.com/article/areas-a-b-c-explained-west-bank-israel-gaza-palestine/. (Accessed: 15 October 2022).
Figure 4 Kadman, Noga. “Acting the Landlord: Israel’s Policy in Area C, the West Bank.” B’TSELEM. June 2013. https://www.btselem.org/publications/summaries/201306_acting_the_landlord. (Accessed: 19 September 2022).

Despite it seems that Israel does not have much to do with education in the West Bank, they do have a tremendous amount of indirect influence over these civilian sectors just by controlling land or constructions in Area C. Besides, international law also identifies some responsibilities for Israel as it states that territorial occupants need to ensure human rights and dignified living conditions for people subjected to occupation.[xxxvi]

The education sector in Area A and B are affected by the overwhelming control of Israeli authorities in Area C, since the isolated regions with no airport or bay can only get supplies through Area C. However, this article primarily focuses on Area C as the education sector faces the most severe problems there.

Area C of the occupied West Bank territories hosts approximately 325 thousand Jewish Israelis, 180 thousand Palestinians, and 20 thousand Bedouin and other shepherding Israelis.[xxxvii] Israeli control limits non-Israeli settlement and certain activities, such as construction and infrastructural matters. These measures often leave non-Jewish villages without basic utilities and services, such as water, electricity, healthcare, education, or appropriate public transportation and roads.[xxxviii] Moreover, Israeli authorities have the right to demolish Palestinian and Bedouin settlements along Israeli interest and relocate their population.[xxxix] Some Bedouin villages are demolished simply because the Israeli authorities do not acknowledge them as official settlements. [xl]

Despite the lack of direct Israeli influence on education, these conditions prevent mostly Palestinian and Bedouin children from attending school among appropriate conditions, or even from attending at all. The demolition of settlements endangers educational institutions as well, while new schools can rarely be built due to the restriction of non-Jewish construction. This leaves entire villages without any form of educational services. In 2012 alone, 37 schools were facing demolition because they were built without a permit from Israeli authorities.[xli]

The lack of infrastructure is also challenging for non-Jewish children to physically get to school, as public transportation and school buses are limited in the area.[xlii]  189 out of 532 settlements do not even have a primary school at all,[xliii] which means that many children have to walk up to two hours each way to get to school.[xliv] This often becomes impossible when weather conditions are hostile.[xlv]

In addition, it is often unsafe for small children to travel alone to school due to frequent atrocities targeting Palestinian and Bedouin children, some of which is committed at military checkpoints where children often need to cross to get to school.[xlvi] During school raids, the Israeli military frequently arrests several students and confiscate school equipment. These dangers discourage parents to send their children to school, especially their daughters. [xlvii]

Girls’ education is particularly endangered as some traditional societal norms prohibit them to travel alone and when no male family member can accompany them on the way, they cannot attend school.[xlviii] In addition, early marriage, or the need for them to stay home to help take care of their grandparents or disabled siblings, for instance, also results in many girls never attending or failing to finish their education. [xlix] However, it is not genuine to girls to potentially drop out or miss school to help out their parents.[l] As the socioeconomic gap widens between Jewish Israelis and non-Jewish citizens and residents, some families become unable to afford school equipment, basic needs like shoes,[li] or public transportation, thus they cannot send their children to school despite education itself is free.[lii]

These circumstances negatively influence the quality of education which results in common disinterest in education among children in Area C which can result in children leaving school, while the ones who can continue with their studies often do this in poor-equipped educational institutions.[liii] Dropout rates are particularly high among Bedouin children: only 32% of them get a matriculation certificate compared to 68% of the Israeli population (excluding the Haredi community). [liv] These issues were exacerbated by schools shifting to online teaching during COVID-19, as Bedouins frequently live in tents without any electricity, internet access, and computers.[lv] ‘About 100,000 Bedouin students and about 2,000 Bedouin college students from the Negev’ had severe difficulties to attend school during the pandemic. [lvi]

Finally, it is also important to highlight that education in Area C lacks the adequate financial resources. Most financial support arrive from international organisations, such as the USAID, UNRWA, and the Middle East Quartet.[lvii] However, both these organisations and the PA need to complete prolonged bureaucratic procedures to finance projects and receive permit from Israeli authorities. The difficulties frequently result in organisations abandoning their projects or lead to subsequent delays in project implementation.[lviii]

 

Final Remarks

Israel inarguably has some admirable achievements regarding its education sector. However, policymaking and policy implementation face severe difficulties not only in terms of creating effective and inclusive policies for its ethnically and religiously diverse population, but also because of (unresolved) historical conflicts among the country’s ethnic groups. These clashes are reflected in Israel’s education system where the disadvantage of, for example, Arab or Ethiopian Israeli students is significant compared to Jewish Israeli students. These inequalities are partly indicated by the generally worse performance of Arab or Ethiopian students on both international and domestic exams.

Tackling educational inequalities (or any discriminatory practices embedded into a social, political, or economic system) is a multi-generational project. However tedious, slow, or impossible it seems sometimes to carry on with such an initiative, the current state of the Israeli education will lead to further damage if inequality issues are left unresolved. The vicious circle of poverty, closely intertwined with ethnic lines, cannot break without mutual cooperation, understanding, and the recognition of each other’s grievances. The Israeli government in cooperation with civil society actors must bridge societal gaps and the wide-spread disconnection between ethnic groups and between socioeconomic classes, to build an empathetic and harmonious society.

Of course, issues are more complex than simply setting up a few educational programmes or giving some extra funding for Arabic-speaking schools, for instance. But change must start somewhere, and maybe it has already in the six Hand in Hand Arabic-Jewish schools.[lix] The bilingual privately funded schools work with a multicultural curriculum that aims to advance inclusion and equality in the Israeli society. Hand in Hand does not only initiate productive discussion between ethnic groups but also facilitate their harmonious cohabitation and cooperation to build a healthier society and a peaceful future.

 

 

 

Sources;

[i] OECD. “Education at a Glance.” OECD, 2019. https://www.oecd.org/education/education-at-a-glance/EAG2019_CN_ISR.pdf (Accessed 20 September 2022).

[ii] OECD. “Education GPS – Israel – Overview of the Education System (EAG 2019).” gpseducation.oecd.org, 2021. https://gpseducation.oecd.org/CountryProfile?primaryCountry=ISR&treshold=10&topic=EO (Accessed 20 September 2022).

[iii] The Global Economy. “Innovation Index by Country, around the World | TheGlobalEconomy.com.” TheGlobalEconomy.com, 2021. https://www.theglobaleconomy.com/rankings/GII_Index/ (Accessed 20 September 2022).

[iv] Ibid: 189.

[v] Krief, Tomer. “The Compulsory Education Law in Israel and Liquidity Constrains.” Israel Economic Review 7, no. 1 (2009): 79.

[vi] Center for Israel Education. “Compulsory Education Law Is Implemented.” CIE, September 18, 2022. https://israeled.org/compulsory-education-law/#:~:text=The%20Compulsory%20Education%20Law%20which. (Accessed 19 September 2022).

[vii] OECD. “Education Policy Outlook: Israel.” OECD. OECD, 2016. https://www.oecd.org/israel/Education-Policy-Outlook-Country-Profile-Israel.pdf. (Accessed 19 September 2022); 4.

[viii] OECD. “Education GPS – Israel – Overview of the Education System (EAG 2019).” gpseducation.oecd.org, 2021. https://gpseducation.oecd.org/CountryProfile?primaryCountry=ISR&treshold=10&topic=EO (Accessed 20 September 2022).

[ix] Ibid.

[x] Da’as, Rima’a, and Alexander Zibenberg. “Conflict, control and culture: implications for implicit followership and leadership theories.” Educational Review 73, no.2 (2021): 199.

[xi] Orwell, George. Animal Farm. 1945. Reprint, Boston ; New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Corp, 1945.

[xii] Reingold, Roni, and Lea Baratz. “Arab School Principals in Israel – between Conformity and Moral Courage.” Intercultural Education 31, no. 1 (November 20, 2019): 88.

[xiii] Da’as, Rima’a  and Alexander Zibenberg. “Conflict, control and culture: implications for implicit followership and leadership theories.” Educational Review 73, no.2 (2021): 189.

[xiv] Reingold, Roni, and Lea Baratz. “Arab School Principals in Israel – between Conformity and Moral Courage.” Intercultural Education 31, no. 1 (November 20, 2019): 89.

[xv] Da’as, Rima’a  and Alexander Zibenberg. “Conflict, control and culture: implications for implicit followership and leadership theories.” Educational Review 73, no.2 (2021): 199.

[xvi] Zeedan, Rami, and Rachel Elizabeth Hogan. “The Correlation between Budgets and Matriculation Exams: The Case of Jewish and Arab Schools in Israel.” Education Sciences, 12, no.554 (2022): 2.

[xvii] Resh, Nura, and Nachum Blass. “Israel: Gaps in Educational Outcomes in a Changing Multi- Ethnic Society.” In The Palgrave Handbook of Race and Ethnic Inequalities in Education, edited by Peter A. J. Dworkin and A. Gary Stevens, 631–94. Palgrave Macmillan, 2019; 671.

[xviii] Da’as, Rima’a  and Alexander Zibenberg. “Conflict, control and culture: implications for implicit followership and leadership theories.” Educational Review 73, no.2 (2021): 199.

[xix] Zeedan, Rami, and Rachel Elizabeth Hogan. “The Correlation between Budgets and Matriculation Exams: The Case of Jewish and Arab Schools in Israel.” Education Sciences, 12, no.554 (2022): 2.

[xx] Resh, Nura, and Nachum Blass. “Israel: Gaps in Educational Outcomes in a Changing Multi- Ethnic Society.” In The Palgrave Handbook of Race and Ethnic Inequalities in Education, edited by Peter A. J. Dworkin and A. Gary Stevens, 631–94. Palgrave Macmillan, 2019; 659.

[xxi] Ibid; 658

[xxii] Ibid; 660.

[xxiii] OECD. “Israel: A Divided Society – Results of a Review of Labour-Market and Social Policy.” OECD. OECD, 2010. https://www.oecd.org/els/44394444.pdf (Accessed 20 September 2022).

[xxiv] Black, Shlomo, Itschak Trachtengot, and Gabriel Horenczyk. “Community Post-Traumatic Growth: Israeli Ultra-Orthodox Coping with Coronavirus.” Contemporary Jewry 42, no. 1 (March 2022): 86, 90.

[xxv] OECD. “Israel: A Divided Society – Results of a Review of Labour-Market and Social Policy.” OECD. OECD, 2010. https://www.oecd.org/els/44394444.pdf (Accessed 20 September 2022).

[xxvi] Yanay, Guy, Hadas Fuchs, and Nachum Blass. “Staying in School Longer, Dropping out Less: Trends in the High School Dropout Phenomenon.” Taub Center for Social Policy Studies in Israel, 2019; 19.

[xxvii] OECD. “Education Policy Outlook: Israel.” OECD. OECD, 2016. https://www.oecd.org/israel/Education-Policy-Outlook-Country-Profile-Israel.pdf. (Accessed 19 September 2022); 16.

[xxviii] Ibid; 16.

[xxix] Yanay, Guy, Hadas Fuchs, and Nachum Blass. “Staying in School Longer, Dropping out Less: Trends in the High School Dropout Phenomenon.” Taub Center for Social Policy Studies in Israel, 2019; 9, 11-12.

[xxx] European Training Foundation. “National Qualifications Framework – Israel.” European Training Foundation. European Training Foundation, 2021. https://www.etf.europa.eu/sites/default/files/document/Israel_0.pdf. (Accessed: 28 September 2022): 4.

[xxxi] Shain, Yossi. “Régóta esedékes változás következik a Haredi iskolarendszerben – Vélemény.” The Jerusalem Post | JPost.com, 2022. július 2. https://www.jpost.com/opinion/article-711008. (Accessed: 28 September 2022).

[xxxii] Setton, Keren. “Pandemic Exposes Weaknesses of Israel’s Already Battered Education System.” The Media Line, January 6, 2022. https://themedialine.org/life-lines/pandemic-exposes-weaknesses-of-israels-already-battered-education-system/. (Accessed 28 September, 2022).

[xxxiii] Sabag, Ziba, and Shirly Cohen. “The Influence of the COVID-19 Epidemic on Teaching Methods in Higher Education Institutions in Israel”. Journal of Research in Higher Education 1 (2020):44-71.

[xxxiv] Ibid.

[xxxv] Welcome to Palestine. “Everything You Need to Know about Areas A,B and C.” Welcome To Palestine, July 21, 2017. https://www.welcometopalestine.com/article/areas-a-b-c-explained-west-bank-israel-gaza-palestine/ (Accessed: 30 September 2022).

[xxxvi] Ibid; 99.

[xxxvii] Kadman, Noga. “Acting the Landlord: Israel’s Policy in Area C, the West Bank.” Edited by Yael Stein. B’TSELEM. The Israeli Information Centre for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, June 2013. https://www.btselem.org/publications/summaries/201306_acting_the_landlord. (Accessed: 19 September 2022); 12-13.

[xxxviii] Ibid; 5.

[xxxix] Ibid; 20, 44.

[xl] Ibid; 11.

[xli] Ibid; 22.

[xlii] Kadman, Noga. “Acting the Landlord: Israel’s Policy in Area C, the West Bank.” Edited by Yael Stein. B’TSELEM. The Israeli Information Centre for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, June 2013. https://www.btselem.org/publications/summaries/201306_acting_the_landlord. (Accessed 19 September 2022); 55.

[xliii] OHCHR. “United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs – Occupied Palestinian Territory | Access to Education in Area c of the West Bank.” United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs – occupied Palestinian territory, July 4, 2017. https://www.ochaopt.org/content/access-education-area-c-west-bank. (Accessed 20 September 2022).

[xliv] Kadman, Noga. “Acting the Landlord: Israel’s Policy in Area C, the West Bank.” Edited by Yael Stein. B’TSELEM. The Israeli Information Centre for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, June 2013. https://www.btselem.org/publications/summaries/201306_acting_the_landlord. (Accessed 19 September 2022); 28.

[xlv] Ibid; 55.

[xlvi] OHCHR. “United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs – Occupied Palestinian Territory | Access to Education in Area c of the West Bank.” United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs – occupied Palestinian territory, July 4, 2017. https://www.ochaopt.org/content/access-education-area-c-west-bank. (Accessed 20 September 2022).

[xlvii] Ibid.

[xlviii] Kadman, Noga. “Acting the Landlord: Israel’s Policy in Area C, the West Bank.” Edited by Yael Stein. B’TSELEM. The Israeli Information Centre for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, June 2013. https://www.btselem.org/publications/summaries/201306_acting_the_landlord. (Accessed 19 September 2022); 55.

[xlix] European Institute of the Mediterranean. “Field Diagnosis: Girls’ Access to Education in Six ‘’Area C”” Localities in Bethlehem and al Khalil.” IEMED, October 18, 2018. https://www.iemed.org/publication/field-diagnosis-girls-access-to-education-in-six-area-c-localities-in-bethlehem-and-al-khalil/#section-main-findings-and-analysis-of-the-situation-of-girls-education-and-dropout-levels-GG9aD. (Accessed 20 September 2022).

[l] Ibid.

[li] Ibid.

[lii] Kadman, Noga. “Acting the Landlord: Israel’s Policy in Area C, the West Bank.” Edited by Yael Stein. B’TSELEM. The Israeli Information Centre for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, June 2013. https://www.btselem.org/publications/summaries/201306_acting_the_landlord. (Accessed 19 September 2022); 52.

[liii] UNICEF. “State of Palestine: Country Report on Out-of-School Children.” UNICEF, July 2018, 3.; Kadman, Noga. “Acting the Landlord: Israel’s Policy in Area C, the West Bank.” Edited by Yael Stein. B’TSELEM. The Israeli Information Centre for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, June 2013. https://www.btselem.org/publications/summaries/201306_acting_the_landlord. (Accessed 19 September 2022); 82.

[liv] Zaken, Danny. “Israeli-Bedouin Students Left behind over Coronavirus – Al-Monitor: The Pulse of the Middle East.” www.al-monitor.com, April 2, 2020. https://www.al-monitor.com/originals/2020/04/israel-arab-bedouin-education-ministry-coronavirus-computer.html. (Accessed 19 September 2022).

[lv] Ibid.

[lvi] Ibid.

[lvii] Kadman, Noga. “Acting the Landlord: Israel’s Policy in Area C, the West Bank.” Edited by Yael Stein. B’TSELEM. The Israeli Information Centre for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, June 2013. https://www.btselem.org/publications/summaries/201306_acting_the_landlord. (Accessed 19 September 2022); 23.

[lviii] Ibid.

[lix] Hand in Hand. “About Us.” Hand in Hand. 2022. https://www.handinhandk12.org/. (Accessed 21 October 2022).

Cover Photo by Taylor Brandon on Unsplash 

Oroszország lerohanta Ukrajnát: Ki fizeti meg a háború árát?

Mahmud Darwish palesztin költő és író így nyilatkozott a háború jelenségéről:

„A háborúk véget érnek egyszer. A vezetők kezet ráznak. Az öreg hölgy örökké várakozik a mártírhalált halt fiára. Egy lány várni fog szeretett férjének visszatérésére. És gyermekek várják haza hősként ünnepelt édesapjukat. Nem tudom, ki adta el a szülőföldünket, de azt láttam, hogy ki fizette meg az árát.” [1]

Az évek során számos országot pusztítottak el háborúk és diktatúrák. Ezek közül sok ország fejlett volt, mielőtt a háborúk tönkretették volna őket; virágzó kultúrával és fejlett társadalmi és technológiai vívmányokkal rendelkeztek, mint például Szíria, Palesztina, Líbia, Afganisztán, Irak, Szomália, Jemen és még sorolhatnánk.

Diktátorok és korrupt politikusok kapzsisága és önzése nyomorba taszította ezeket az országokat. Sok ártatlan élet elvesztett; sok ország most is szenved a szegénységtől elnyomó rezsimek rossz kormányzása alatt. A háborúk miatt a nemzeti infrastruktúrák összeomlottak, miközben a pusztítás az országok környezeti értékeire is káros hatással voltak.

The Costs of War Project, Watson  Institut für internationale und öffentliche Angelegenheiten, Brown Universität, 2021

 

Ukrajna most csatlakozott azon országok sorához, amelyeket diktátorok kapzsisága miatt háború tesz tönkre. Vlagyimir Putyin nem csak megszállt egy Oroszországgal szomszédos szuverén államot, de rendszere teljes cenzúrát gyakorol a háborúról történő orosz kommunikáció felett is. A független orosz médiumokat és újságírókat, akik felszólalnak Putyin rezsimje, illetve a rezsimje által okozott orosz állampolgárok szenvedései ellen, azokat megfélemlítik és akár törvénytelenül őrizetbe is veszik őket. Ugyanígy bánnak azokkal a tüntetőkkel is, akik ellenzik Putyin uralmát és a rezsimje által Ukrajnában elkövetett bűnöket, például azt, hogy fiatal oroszokat kényszerítenek az orosz fegyveres erőkhöz való csatlakozásra anélkül, hogy tájékoztatnák őket arról, hogy részt vesznek Ukrajna lerohanásában. Mindezek tankönyvi példák lehetnének arra, hogyan is működik egy totalitárius állam.

Hogyan érintette az ukrán oktatást a háború?

A háború lesújtó hatással volt az ukrán oktatásra: az oktatási anyagok hiánya és a szegénység miatt az oktatáshoz való hozzáférés korlátozott. A háború miatt számos oktatási intézmény, például iskola és óvoda megsemmisült vagy megrongálódott, ami veszélyezteti az országban élő gyermekek jövőjét.[2]

Az UNICEF nemrégiben közzétett egy jelentést az Ukrajnába történő orosz invázió hatásairól. A jelentés szerint az invázió miatt több mint 350 000 iskolás gyermek nem jut oktatáshoz, mivel az iskolai infrastruktúra megrongálódott vagy megsemmisült. Mindeközben a tanárok által elsajátított tanítási módszerek sok esetben nem hatékonyak egy háború sújtotta szegényes oktatási környezetben, ez pedig szintén korlátozza az ukrán gyermekek minőségi oktatáshoz való hozzáférését. Ez azt jelenti, hogy a háború megfosztja az ukrán gyerekeket attól, hogy biztonságos menedékhez, vízhez vagy megfelelő oktatáshoz jussanak. [3]

Néhány probléma, amellyel az ukrán gyermekmenekültek szembesülnek az őket fogadó országokban

A háború kezdete óta sok ukrán keresett menedéket különböző országokban. Különösen sok probléma merül fel a gyermekmenekültek más országok iskolarendszerébe történő integrálásával kapcsolatban, főként a nyelvi akadályok miatt. A kihívások ellenére például a lengyelországi iskolák pozitívan viszonyultak a problémához, és iskoláik nemcsak befogadták az ukrán gyermekmenekülteket, de aktívan igyekeztek minél jobban segíteni a beilleszkedésüket. A lengyel tanárok támogatást nyújtottak az új ukrán diákoknak a nyelvi akadályok leküzdésében és a lengyel oktatási rendszerhez való alkalmazkodásban.[4]

Azonban nem minden ország fogadta ilyen jól a gyermekmenekültek érkezésének kihívását. Az Egyesült Királyságban menedéket kereső ukrán gyerekek jelentős problémákkal néznek szembe, mivel az angol nyelvet gyakran alig vagy egyáltalán nem ismerő diákok beiratkozása és beilleszkedése meghaladja a legtöbb brit iskola kapacitását. Ehhez jön még a brit oktatási rendszer elégtelen finanszírozásának problémája, ami nagy nyomás alá helyezi az Egyesült Királyság iskoláit, és a menekült diákok beiratkozási kérelmének gyakori elutasítását eredményezi.[5]

 

A háború hatása a nemzetközi diákokra Ukrajnában

Az ukrán egyetemeken tanuló nemzetközi diákok, akik közül sokan Afrikából, Dél-Ázsiából és a Közel-Keletről érkeztek, szintén a háború áldozatai lettek. Sokan közülük nem tudták befejezni tanulmányaikat, és kénytelenek voltak más országokba menekülni abban a reményben, hogy hamarosan visszatérhetnek Ukrajnába, és befejezhetik tanulmányaikat.[6]  Azonban sokuknak jelentős problémát jelentett a menekülés, mivel nem ukrán állampolgárként ügyüket a potenciális európai befogadó országok másképp kezelték. Ráadásul számos külföldi diák életét vesztette a háborúban, és legalább ketten estek áldozatul a fegyveres konfliktusnak csak a kitörést követő első napokban.[7]

A háború hatása a posztszovjet államokra és Oroszországra

Oroszország ukrajnai inváziója óta a posztszovjet államok polgárai félelemben élnek, hogy Putyin ellenőrzése átveszi országaikat. Az azerbajdzsáni példa különösen aggasztó, mivel azerbajdzsáni elnök, Ilham Alijev aláírt egy olyan megállapodást Oroszországgal, mely óriási teret enged az orosz befolyásnak. A 43 pontból álló dokumentum oktatási és gazdasági szempontokból is szorosabbra fogja a két ország szövetségét, ami elkerülhetetlenül növeli a Putyin-rezsim befolyását Azerbajdzsánban.[8] Ez például abban nyilvánul meg, hogy az orosz nyelv nagyobb mértékben válik kötelező tantárggyá az oktatási intézményekben.[9]

Az utóbbi időben az orosz oktatási minisztérium új platformot talált a propagandaterjesztésre az online oktatáson keresztül. Olyan ideológiákkal igyekeznek befolyásolni a gyerekeket, amelyek Putyin vezetését dicsőítik, és elmagyarázzák, “miért volt szükség az ukrajnai felszabadító misszióra”.  Nagy a kockázata annak, hogy ezek a leckék hozzájárulnak egy olyan generáció kifejlődéséhez, amely támogatja mind a háborút, mind Putyin oroszországi diktatúráját, ez pedig veszélyt jelent egy demokratikus orosz társadalom lehetőségének jövőjére nézve.[10]

 

Reméljük, eljön majd a nap, amikor a háborúk véget érnek, és a kitelepített vagy elmenekült emberek visszatérhetnek szülőföldjükre, ahol szeretteiket hagyták. A vezetők kezet fognak rázni, hogy békét teremtsenek a világban, de milyen áron fog ez megtörténni, amikor már annyi kárt okoztak? Nos, a hazákat eladták, népeik pedig megfizették az árát.

 

 

By Zinat Asadova

Translated by Johanna Farkas from https://brokenchalk.org/russias-invasion-to-ukraine-who-will-pay-the-price-for-this-war-2/

 

Sources;

[1] “The war will end” Poem by Mahmud Darwish

[2] Save the Children. (2022). Ukraine: Attacks on schools endangering children’s lives and futures. Retrieved from https://www.savethechildren.net/news/ukraine-attacks-schools-endangering-children-s-lives-and-futures

[3] UNICEF Europe & Central Asia Region (ECAR). (2022). Ukraine Situation Report – 24 February 2022 (p. 2). Retrieved from https://www.unicef.org/media/116031/file/Ukraine-Humanitarian-SitRep-24-February-2022.pdf

[4] Deutsche Welle (DW). (2022). Poland fights to give Ukrainian kids access to education [Video]. Retrieved from https://www.dw.com/en/poland-fights-to-give-ukrainian-kids-access-to-education/av-61185207#:~:text=About%202%20million%20Ukrainians%20have,Poland’s%20education%20system%20is%20enormous.

[5] Abrams, F. (2022). Ukraine refugees may struggle to find places in English schools, councils say. The Guardian. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/education/2022/mar/05/ukraine-refugees-may-struggle-to-find-places-in-english-schools-councils-say

[6] Fallon, K. (2022). Foreign students fleeing Russia’s war on Ukraine hope to return. Aljazeera.com. Retrieved from https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/3/5/they-told-us-to-go-home-student-recounts-ukraine-war

[7] International education’s continuing response to the war in Ukraine. ICEF Monitor – Market intelligence for international student recruitment. (2022). Retrieved from https://monitor.icef.com/2022/03/international-educations-continuing-response-to-the-war-in-ukraine/

[8] Azərbaycan Respublikası Xarici İşlər Nazirliyi. (2022). No:056/22, Azərbaycan Respublikası Xarici İşlər Nazirliyinin Mətbuat xidməti idarəsinin məlumatı (AZ/RU). Retrieved from https://www.mfa.gov.az/az/news/no05622; President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev. (2022). Declaration on allied interaction between the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Russian Federation. Retrieved from https://president.az/en/articles/view/55498

[9] Aliyeva, J. (2022). Azerbaijani president notes importance of Russian language. Report News Agency. Retrieved from https://report.az/en/foreign-politics/azerbaijani-president-notes-importance-of-russian-language/

[10] Russia’s Ministry of Education Official Page on Vkontakte. (2022). An Open lesson “Defenders of Peace” (Открытый урок «Защитники мира») [Video]. https://vk.com/video-30558759_456242419?list=8411aa6de207bc39a2

Universal Periodic Review of Israel

The Israeli education system

  • The 1949 Compulsory Education Act was the first official legal action taken in Israel to enforce compulsory education, ensuring free school attendance for children, for 9 years, from age 5. In 2009, compulsory education was extended until grade 12, and in 2016 compulsory school enrolment was lowered to age 3.
  • State-funded Israeli general education works along a four-stream system, which provides secular, religious, and ultra-Orthodox (Haredi) educational institutions for Jewish Israelis. There are Arabic schools for the Arab, Bedouin, Christian Arab, and Druze Israeli minorities.
  • Hebrew-speaking schools are managed by Jewish principals while schools teaching in Arabic are coordinated by Arab principals. However, all principals are subjugated to a centralised Israeli administration, funding, and curriculum which ensures similar requirements and teacher-salaries.
  • Despite compulsory education starting at age 3, 47% of children are already enrolled in an educational institution before age 2. 99% of children between 3 and 5 was enrolled in an educational institution in 2019. 
  • It is commendable that more than half of the population, between 25 and 64 years-old, held tertiary attainment in 2019.
  • Broken Chalk is pleased to note that Israel spends 6.7% of its GDP on education which is above the 4.9% OECD average.
  • Between 2003 and 2017 dropout rates have fallen from 9.9% to 7.6% which is particularly remarkable since it ‘occurred primarily among the weakest students in the system’.
  • Despite all the investments and successes, the Israeli educational sector does show severe issues. Problems in the system are often related to the inequalities of the four-stream educational system, socioeconomic inequalities, and discrimination based on ethnicity.
  • For instance, Israel has one of the highest gaps in achievement, based on the best and worst performing students in PISA, among OECD countries.
  • Furthermore, enrolment numbers decline as studies proceed: enrolment amounted to 96.5% between age 6 to 14, while it was of 66.1% between age 15 to 19, in 2019.
  • As Israel has ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child [CRC] in 2005, the state must commit to carry out its duties and obligations which include the insurance of free compulsory education and equal opportunity for all children. Thus, Broken Chalk urges Israel to address all issues which prevent the realisation of the rights enshrined in the CRC. 

Overview of the previous UN UPR cycle

  • In its national report prepared for the 2018 UN UPR, Israel particularly emphasized its efforts to ensure human rights in its territories, including access to education. Israel promised to work for closing educational gaps, and for the integration of minorities into the Israeli society, also through education. Efforts are reflected in the Resolution project from 2014-2017 targeting Druze communities to improve their education, and in the efforts to provide state funded higher education for the Arab communities through the CHE academic colleges.
  • Israel took further steps in expanding the number of years spent in education by lowering the obligatory school entrance age to age 3 and expanding after-school day-care services in 2017.
  • In the previous UPR cycle, Israel received 5 recommendations regarding the right to education, focusing on narrowing the inequality gap among different ethnicities. Israel supported 3 of these recommendations, however it rejected 2 which regarded the issues existing in Area C of the occupied territories in West Bank (see section IV.).

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