GCE Asia-Pacific Region: news round-up
Bangladesh: GCE members organise launch of Kailash Satyarthi’s global campaign in Bangladesh
Government ministers, civil society organisations, celebrities and citizens – including hundreds of children – came together on April 2nd for the Bangladeshi launch of the 100 Million for 100 Million campaign. Held at a school in the capital Dhaka, the event was organised by GCE’s member network the Campaign for Popular Education (CAMPE). This ambitious campaign was conceived by Nobel laureate, child rights activist and GCE co-founder Kailash Satyarthi. It aims to mobilise 100 million youth and children for 100 million underprivileged children across the world, to promote the right of every child to be safe, free, and educated, over the next five years. Given that there are currently more than 100 million child labourers in the world, and 121 million children aged 14 and under who are out of school, the scale of the ambition is clearly necessary.
Joler Gaan, a popular folk band, performed at the event and entertained the young members of the audience. Participants shared experiences and took a pledge of solidarity. Supporters built momentum for the initiative on social media, which was live-streamed on CAMPE’s Facebook account, using the hashtags #FutureIsOurs and #DoYourBit.
The Education Minister Mustafizur Rahman promised to support the campaign, referring to the thousands of children in Bangladesh who are still not in school. Meanwhile, Employment Minister Mujibul Haque announced the government’s plans to eliminate child domestic labour by 2021, and ensure all sectors are free from child labour by 2025. CAMPE director and GCE Vice-President Rasheda Choudhury also spoke at the event.
Satyarthi himself spoke passionately about the role of education in reducing exploitation and enabling all other rights:
“Education empowers people. We must build a stronger demand for equitable, inclusive and quality education. Through democratising education for all children, equality can be brought about faster than in any other way.”
You can join the 100 Million for 100 Million campaign here.
NEPAL: Strengthening public education for all
On March 14th, GCE’s Nepalese member network NCE-Nepal organised a national conference on strengthening public education for all. Nepal’s new 2015 constitution spells out that the structure of the State will be less centralised – this means government decisions, around education policy and budgets for example, will be increasingly made at provincial and local levels. GCE members were joined by various civil society organisations, students, parents, community leaders and government representatives to discuss what this means for education, and to share ideas, experiences and tools. The forum focused on the necessity of adequate financing for education, and the importance of tax revenues to fund public services like education. The guest of honour was the Education Minister Hon. Dhaniram Paudel, who stressed the importance of improving the public education system – particularly as there has been increasing numbers of private schools in Nepal in recent years.
Elsewhere, NCE-Nepal continues to focus on the effects on education of the devastating earthquake of 2015. Two years on, some students are having to take classes in temporary learning centres, as the process of school reconstruction is still incomplete. In February, together with its partners, the coalition called on the government to make schools a priority in reconstruction efforts, and urged the government to ensure the right of all children to a safe education – in a secure environment at all times.
1) '100 million for 100 million' campaign launch in Bangladesh. Credit: Kailash Satyarthi Children's Foundation
2) Workshop on public education in Nepal. Credit: NCE Nepal