High-profile influencers from around the world spoke out in support of the calls for more inclusive education systems in UNESCO’s 2020 Global Education Monitoring Report released on 23 June. The report, All means All, showed that exclusion in education had deepened during the COVID-19 pandemic, showing, among other facts, that about 40% of low and lower-middle income countries had not supported disadvantaged learners during school shutdowns.
“The COVID-19 education crisis was fuelled by pre-existing inequalities, but countries have not paid enough attention to the marginalized in their responses. Education should be built for all – not a few,” Colombian superstar, Shakira said.
“UNESCO’s new GEM Report is an urgent call for more inclusive education to make a more inclusive world. Let’s answer the call,” said former US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton.
“Those of you who know me well, know I care deeply about the education of our youth. But this education is not always easy to access, and this is why I became a UNESCO ambassador. Even before schools shut due to the virus, many were already left without access to proper education. So I am asking you to read and share the GEM Report from UNESCO, which calls for schools to be more inclusive after this global shutdown,” said football legend, Pele.
The Report provides an in-depth analysis of key factors excluding learners in education systems, i.e. gender, age, location, poverty, disability, ethnicity, indigeneity, language, religion, migration or displacement status, sexual orientation or gender identity expression, incarceration, beliefs and attitudes. Celebrities, all with strong personal reasons for giving their support, joined the Report’s calls for countries to focus on those left behind as schools reopen after the COVID-19 shut-downs.
Even before the pandemic, the Report shows that persistent discrimination holds many students back from achieving their full potential. Celebrities from India, Jassie Gill and Usha Jadhav, joined the call for change. Jadhav, who starred in Bollywood film Dhag, as a mother fighting for her son trying to break free of his caste status provided a video message of support, calling for countries to “embrace and promote inclusion across education globally.”
Where people come from, the language they speak and their culture can hold back their education chances. The Report found that 10-year old students in middle and high-income countries who were taught in a language other than their mother tongue typically scored a third lower than native speakers. Actresses from Latin America, including Patricia Velasquez and Yalitza Aparicio provided video messages of support on the issue. “I am asking for countries to take a hard look at their education policies and make sure that they reflect the diversity of our multicultural societies,” said Aparicio. “They should begin their assessment on the basis that all learners should be welcomed as equals into the classroom.”
Ensuring all children can go to school is not enough. Exclusion also happens inside school walls: one-third of 11- to 15-year-olds have been bullied in school. As well as children with disabilities, learners who identify as LGBTI are often made to feel like outsiders in school, which drove support from additional high-profile personalities including Mexican American actress, singer, and songwriter, Sara Ramirez, and French fashion designer, Jean-Paul Gaultier. “Society would be far richer if it was set up to embrace diversity,” he said. “Education for all must refer to all children and not just the lucky few.”
The 2020 GEM Report shows that children with disabilities are two and half times more likely to never go to school than their peers. Many of those lending their voice were born with a disability, including several television personalities from the UK, such as Adam Pearson, Lucy Edwards, Bryony May Williams, Lee Ridley and Samantha Renke. Paralympic medallist, Ade Adepitan, also spoke out: “My school taught me to let nothing hold me back in achieving my goals. The same should go for every child”.
Some were driven by the fact that one of their own children is living with a disability, including Chilean actress and model, Leonor Varela, whose son tragically passed away in 2018, and American actor, Christopher Gorham. Actress and comedian, Sally Phillips asked, “We are none of us the same, so why do so many in education believe students’ potential is dictated by their background or identity?”
The Report has ten recommendations for countries to move towards more inclusive systems, underlining the importance of countries’ celebrating diversity in education, rather than seeing it as a problem. Caecilie Liv Carlson, dance choreographer and performer also passionate about education lent her support to the calls for change. Pallavi Sharda, Australian-Indian film actress, said, “The flexibility of schools & teachers during #Covid19 MUST NOT STOP. It is imperative that schools are more welcoming no matter of background, identity or ability.”
Cardoso approves CBN’s reviewed service charter
CBN governor, Mr Yemi Cardoso, has approved the reviewed “Service Charter’’ of the apex bank.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the service charter is a requirement of the Business Facilitation Act 2022 for driving the ease of doing business in Nigeria.
It compels the CBN to fully comply with the directives of SERVICOM on improvement of customer service delivery.
The CBN stated on Thursday in Abuja that the charter outlined the working relationship between the bank and its external customers.
“The document clearly outlines the bank’s mandates, vision, mission, and core values.
“It contains the list of services offered by the bank through its various departments and the service standards for each service.
“The service charter also includes a standardised customer complaints form for reporting service failures as well as a mechanism for addressing failures in any of the bank’s services,’’ it stated.
It added that the service charter reiterated CBN’s commitment to effective and prompt service delivery to its stakeholders and to its customers.
“It enables our customers to know the range of services provided by the bank as well as the standards at which these services would be provided.
“It equally states redress procedures in the event of service failure from any of our service windows.
“The charter applies to all stakeholders and customers of the bank,’’ it stressed.
In the Foreword to the reviewed document, Cardoso reiterated CBN’s commitment to providing more responsive and citizen-friendly governance through quality service delivery that is efficient, accountable and transparent.
2024 budget to bring 61% increase to health sector, reduce brain drain — FCTA
The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) says the 2024 budget will bring about 61 per cent increase in the nation’s capital’s health sector and reduce brain drain.
Dr Adedolapo Fasawe, the Mandate Secretary, Health and Human Services Secretariat of the FCTA, disclosed this
on the sidelines of the 2023 Association of Resident Doctors (ARD), FCT chapter Health Week in Abuja.
Fasawe said the N27.5 trillion budget christened “Renewed Hope”, would bring about drastic infrastructure development in the FCT health sector and improved wellbeing for doctors and health workers.
She added that “the budget is an increase over the last budget. We believe this will translate to a 61 per cent increase in
our health indices, better equipment in our hospitals, and we will be able to employ more doctors.
“For every doctor who leaves the system, we replace the person. As people leave, we also have people looking for jobs.
“Most people leave not because of poor salaries or poor working conditions, but because they don’t have the right equipment to work with at times.
“We hope the `Japa syndrome’ will reduce with the improved budget; we also hope to see the right equipment and expansion of hospitals and better roll-call.”
She, therefore, encouraged FCT residents, especially the poor and vulnerable, to register under the insurance scheme at the primary or secondary health facilities to access free healthcare services.
She explained that “for the FCT health insurance scheme, we have a plan for the vulnerable; it is for the poor who cannot afford healthcare. They are by law statutorily mandated to be taken care of once they are registered under the scheme.
“So, if you fall under that group — poor, no job, no social security, visit any of our primary or secondary healthcare centres, where you will be assessed and registered.”
Earlier, Sen. Ireti Kingibe of the Labour Party (LP), representing the FCT, had appealed to doctors and other health workers not to relocate abroad, but rather stay back in the country and support the government and stakeholders to strengthen the health system.
Kingibe, who was represented by Dr Juliet Essien, a Clinician, said “the FCT will continue to receive improved budgetary allocation for its health sector.
“It is no secret that our healthcare is facing numerous challenges, but we need to address issues such as brain drain, infrastructure, accessibity and the wellbeing of healthcare professionals.”
Also, Dr Rahman Olayinka, the President of ARD, FCTA, said the health week was to provide a platform for members to share insights and draw government’s attention to crucial matters within the health sector.
It will be recalled that President Bola Tinubu recently presented the 2024 budget to the National Assembly.
A budget breakdown showed that the country’s health sector got N1.33 trillion, while the FCT Minister, Nyesom Wike, presented N61.6 billion budget to the lawmakers for 2024.
CAC, FIRS strengthen collaboration for economic growth
The Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) and the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) are strengthening their existing collaboration to ensure economic growth.
Registrar-General of the CAC, Mr Hussaini Magaji, said this on Thursday in Abuja when he visited the FIRS Executive Chairman, Mr Zacch Adedeji.
Magaji said the visit was to familiarise and further cement already existing collaboration between the CAC and the FIRS.
Speaking on CAC’s mandate vis-à-vis its relationship with the FIRS, Magaji said the CAC had created a platform for integration with the FIRS, thereby making the process of business registration seamless.
He emphasised the need for greater cooperation and collaboration between the two agencies that are strategic to national economy, especially as it relates to revenue generation.
Magaji said it was pertinent to identify and formalise the enormous number of unregistered online businesses to boost the country’s revenue.
Responding, the FIRS chairman stressed the need to have a robust inter-agency relationship to make FIRS to perform better.
Adedeji said while the CAC registered and nurtured companies, the FIRS awaited the companies to mature before it began to assess them.
He added that the FIRS relied on the CAC to drive voluntary compliance by obtaining data from the former.
He noted that both agencies needed to reinvigorate their existing standing technical committee to interface more often to cement their long-standing relationship and to engender capacity building.
Also speaking, the Coordinating Director, Digital and Information Support Group of the FIRS, Ms Chiaka Ben-Obi, said Tax Identification Numbers (TINs) were now generated for all entities upon registration.
Ben-Obi said this was a departure from the past when the FIRS supplied the CAC with TIN.
While appreciating the CAC for the introduction of online electronic submission of audited accounts, she said the FIRS was studying the possibility of having an interface with the CAC in that regard.
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