Thursday, April 7, 2011

Why Sexual Terror, Weapon of War in Conflict???

NEWS BANJUL THE GAMBIA (MB)-At the launching of the Education for All (EFA), global monitoring report 2011, the Secretary General, Gambia National Commission for UNESCO Sukai Bojang,
says sexual terror is used as a weapon of war in conflict areas against girls and women, despite the effort of governments in the conflict to push their education agenda, aid donors have not been supportive and only 2 percent of humanitarian aid goes to the education sector.
 The launching of the 2011 report was held at colorful ceremony at the Laico Atlantic Hotel in Banjul. The report was sponsored by UNESCO-BREDA which also highlighted the challenges faced by countries that cannot attain education for all goals 2015, and also gives adequate data and projections on what to expect if solutions are not found quickly. It also exposes how the world is faring with regards the achievement of the six EFA goals by 2015.
 According to her, the Director General of UNESCO observed that armed conflict is preventing the world from ensuring that education is a basic human right for all and over 40 percent out of school children live in conflict countries.
  She continued: “early childhood welfare, mortality rates among under five year old children have fallen from 12.5 million children in 1990 to 8.8 million in 2008,” adding that enrolment rate an additional 52 million children were enrolled in schools from 1990 to 2008, according to global figures.
  Madam Bojang positioned that in Sub-Saharan Africa, enrolment rates rose by one third whilst South and West Asia halved their number of out of school children and that gender parity in primary school enrolment improved in regions where there were the greatest gender gaps at the start of the decade, she remarked.
  Highlighting the challenges facing the Education for All, secretary general Bojang noted that hunger negatively impacts progress, in developing countries one in three of the 195 million under five year old children experience malnutrition.
She adds: “It is common knowledge that malnutrition affects the cognitive development and long term educational prospects of children,” 
  Progress has been slow, in 2008 with regards achieving Universal Primary Education, as 67 million children were out of school stating that, “if that trend continues there could be more children out of school by 2015 than today.”
  Still on figures, Bojang disclosed that ten million children in Sub-Saharan Africa drop out of school before completing primary education, while 796 million adults translating to 17 percent of world’s adults still lack basic literacy skills saying that two third of the said figures accounted are women.
 As she puts it, gender disparities continue to hamper progress in education adding that equality was not achieve in 2008, thus the chance was lost to put an additional 3.6 million girls in school.
 According to Bojang, quality of education remains a concern as children complete education with reading, numeracy and writing skills well below expected levels noting that teacher supply is a major challenge.
  She remarked “by 2015, another 1.9 million teachers will be needed if universal primary education is to be achieved;” going further to state that Sub-Saharan Africa will need half of this number. 
SG Bojang stated that less than five years to 2015, concerted efforts must be made to ensure progress toward the achievement of the EFA goals. The world financial crisis has increased the pressure on education budgets and the abilities of poor countries to honor commitments to the sector.
 She said the donor community and national governments should establish an international finance facility for education on the same lines as the health sector. This will help donors to mobilize new resources for education. 
   Making her opening statement, the vice chairperson, National Commission for UNESCO Dr. Fatoumatta Sisay-Joof buttressed that today conflict is robbing 28 million children of a future noting that these children are deprived of proper houses, adequate sanitation and most importantly education.
  Some of these children, Dr. Sisay continued, are exposed to horrible violence, rape and other sexually violence, diseases, famine, and worst still, they either have their limbs mutilated or be forcefully enlisted as child solders.
 She adds: “This year UNESCO has chosen the Theme ‘Hidden Crises: Armed Conflict and Education’ stating that the  study has revealed that many countries would not attain the six education for all goals by a wide margin and the most affected are those where there is conflict.
 According that her, in most cases, countries where there are no crises tend to believe they have nothing to fear and do not take adequate preventive measures to sustain the peace they enjoy.
 In conclusion, Dr. Sisay stated that the report clearly stated that education plays a fundamental role in building peace and sustaining it, and that it regarded as powerful force that can build peace, tolerance and understanding between peoples. She remarked “It is time we give our children the chance to explore their full potential in school and build a responsible and peaceful society.”

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