GCPEA Protecting Education Newsletter - October 2014
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Protecting Education Newsletter

October 2014
© 2014 Christopher Furlong/Getty Images
Malala Yousafzai at a press conference after being announced recipient of the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize. Birmingham, England, 10 October 2014
© 2014 Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

Message from the Director

The selection of Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi for the Nobel Peace Prize this month sends a strong message of hope and encouragement to students and teachers in war-torn communities who risk their lives for the sake of learning. Teenager Yousafzai is an ardent global advocate for education who was shot in the head by the Pakistani Taliban in October 2012 for defending girls’ schooling. Satyarthi has dedicated decades to rescuing children from hazardous labor conditions, freeing them to pursue what should be their primary occupation â€” education.

The Nobel announcement is especially timely. As classrooms opened for another season of learning this year, far too many students and teachers in conflict-affected areas returned to school filled with dread and fear of possible attack, instead of anticipation and excitement for the coming term. Others did not return to class at all because their school or university was closed due to threats of violence or destroyed as a deliberate tactic of war.

On October 1st, schools in three distinct regions of the globe came under attack in one day alone. In Syria, where at least 3,645 schools have been destroyed or damaged since the conflict began, car bombs exploded outside of Akrama al-Makhzoumi elementary school just as children were leaving for the day. Condemned as a â€œnew low” by the UN, the attack killed 41 children according to some reports and sparked protests in Homs. In Peshawar, Pakistan, a hand grenade hurled at Askari Public School and College injured two children and killed a school teacher. And in eastern Ukraine, shells hit a playground on the first day of classes at School No. 57 in Donetsk; a teacher and the parent of a student were among those killed.

This day of violence was just one in a year that has seen many days of brutal attacks on education, the most highly publicized example being the mass abduction by Boko Haram of girls from their school in Borno state, Nigeria in April. More than six months later, the nightmare has still not ended for the missing girls of Chibok or their families.

Against this backdrop, the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack (GCPEA) has continued its work to highlight the incidence and impact of attacks on education, improve monitoring and reporting of attacks, promote effective programs and policies to protect education from attack, and strengthen accountability. In February, GCPEA released Education under Attack 2014, a global survey that found attacks on education to be far more widespread than reported previously, with a significant pattern of attacks occurring in 30 countries between 2009 and early 2013.

More recently, GCPEA released two publications that analyze programs and policies implemented around the world to protect education in conflict. The first underlines how international organizations can tap into local resources and knowledge to prevent and respond to attacks. The second documents attacks on teachers and the strategies employed to protect them.

In a significant milestone toward ending the use of schools for military purposes—a risk factor for attacks and a serious impediment to learning more generally—in June the Norwegian government committed to leading the process to endorse and implement the draft Lucens Guidelines for Protecting Schools and Universities from Military Use during Armed Conflict. The Guidelines urge warring parties to refrain from using education facilities for military means, including as bases, barracks, weapons caches, or detention centers. To date, 29 countries have voiced their support for the Guidelines publically. To help militaries and non-state armed groups better understand and implement the Guidelines, GCPEA has released a Q&A on the Guidelines and what they aim to achieve.

Moreover, on September 24th, GCPEA joined over 30 organizations participating in CHARGE â€” the Collaborative for Harnessing Ambition and Resources for Girls Education — led by Hillary Clinton and Julia Gillard and announced at the 10th Annual Meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative in New York City. At the event, GCPEA committed to providing technical support to states to incorporate the Lucens Guidelines into national policies and military doctrine, contributing to making schools safer for girls, one of CHARGE’s five key priorities.

While there has been some progress in protecting education in conflict, so far this year, as in previous years, the education experience for thousands of students has been one of terror and destruction, with learning spaces converted into military targets and back-to-school excitement transformed into grief and despair. Unless schools, students, and teachers are protected from violent attack and perpetrators are held to account, a generation of children living through conflict will miss out on the joy of learning and the long-term benefits of education.

In granting their award, the Nobel Committee explained: “It is a prerequisite for peaceful global development that the rights of children and young people be respected. In conflict-ridden areas in particular, the violation of children leads to the continuation of violence from generation to generation.” Governments, militaries, and non-state armed groups should heed this warning and take every precaution to ensure that schools are safe spaces for learning and that the right to education is protected for all students at all times.

Diya Nijhowne, GCPEA Director

Thank you for your continued support and efforts toward attaining this vision.

Best wishes,
Diya Nijhowne
Director, Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack

"The only battles fought in schools should be battles over ideas."
- Ambassador Samantha Power, US Permanent Representative to the UN

Latest News

© 2014 Christopher Furlong/Getty Images
Nobel Win for Malala Is a Message to All Students in Conflict – Yes You Can
By honoring Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi, the Nobel Committee has recognized the critical link between addressing the dire protection needs of so many of the world’s children and achieving peace and security.
read more>>
Hillary Clinton Announces CHARGE at CGI 2014
GCPEA Joins the "CHARGE" Commitment to Protect Girls' Education in Conflict
At the 10th Annual Meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative in New York City, GCPEA joined more than 30 organizations in committing to actions to raise global ambition for girls' education.
read more>>
© 2013 Diego Ibarra Sánchez
Teachers Under Attack
October 5th marked World Teacher's Day 2014, which celebrates the role of teachers in providing quality education at all levels. But teachers are deliberately targeted for attack in conflicts around the world. In this blog post, GCPEA Director Diya Nijhowne discusses why and what can be done.
read more>>
Partner Spotlight: COALICO
COALICO, the Coalition against the involvement of boys, girls, and youth in the armed conflict, has been advocating for children's rights in Colombia for 15 years. Learn about their important work. 
read more>>
"If all countries endorsed and implemented the Lucens Guidelines, it would go a long way toward making schools safe for many of the nearly 30 million out-of-school children living in conflict and crisis."
- Ms. Julia Gillard, 27th Prime Minister of Australia, 
Board Chair of the Global Partnership for Education

Statements & Commentary

© 2014 UN Photo by Devra Berkowitz
UN Security Council Should Build on Momentum
read more>>
© 2011 LUIS ROBAYO/AFP/Getty Images
Protecting education from attack: What can be done?
read more>>
© 2012 PIUS UTOMI EKPEI/AFP/Getty Images

Nigeria Abductions a Call to Action
read more>>

Media Selections

>> Why it's so important to protect schools during wartime | Global Post 
>> Nigeria: Achieving quality education in the North | Daily Independent
>> Where Girls Get Kidnapped on Their Way to School | The Atlantic

>> Liberal religious scholar gunned down in Karachi | Business Standard
>> Five Hundred Days Remain to Achieve Our Goal of Universal Primary Education | Brookings Institution
>> Schools must not be used as instruments of war | A World at School 
>> Actually, Let's Bring Back All Our Girls | Glamour Magazine
>> The war on teachers |
>> Soldiers in schools - the impact of military occupations on education | IRIN News
>> Under fire: bearing witness to assaults on the academy | Times Higher Education

>> Education subjected to 10,000 violent attacks | BBC News
>> Schools and universities increaingly subjected to violence, study finds | The Guardian
GCPEA is participating in the Let Girls Learn campaign led by USAID to help all girls get a quality education.
read more>>

Partner Resources

Futures Under Threat: The impact of the education crisis on Syria's children
Futures Under Threat: The impact of the education crisis on Syria's children
Save the Children
read more>>
25 Years of the Convention on the Rights of the Child
25 Years of the Convention on the Rights of the Child
read more>>
We Will Stop Here and Go No Further
We Will Stop Here and Go No Further: Syrian University Students and Scholars in Turkey
IIE Scholar Rescue Fund
read more>>
Passing the Test – the real cost of being a student
Passing the Test – the real cost of being a student
Norwegian Refugee Council
read more>>
© 2014 MOHAMMED ABED/AFP/Getty Images
All Parties Should Protect Schools in Gaza Conflict
read more>>
© 2012 Priyanka Motaparthy - Human Rights Watch (Yemen)
Norway Leading the Way to End Military Use of Schools
read more>>
© 2013 Jerome Sessini/Magnum Photos
Education Under Attack: Schools must be a safe space
read more>>


© 2012 Olivier Jobard/Sipa
Education Under Attack 2014
End Military Use of Schools

Recent Publications

Questions and Answers on the Draft Lucens Guidelines
Questions and Answers on the Draft Lucens Guidelines
read more>>
Protecting Education Personnel from Targeted Attack
Protecting Education Personnel from Targeted Attack in Conflict-Affected Countries
read more>>
The Role of Communities in Protecting Education from Attack
The Role of Communities in Protecting Education from Attack: Lessons Learned
read more>>
Education Under Attack 2014
Education under Attack 2014
read more>>
GCPEA Mailing List
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