30 January 2020
Posteado en : Reportage
With the 2030 Agenda in mind, the FIIAPP manages European cooperation projects in Algeria and Morocco to improve the educational systems of both countries
When Albert Camus won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1957, he wrote a letter of thanks to one of his primary school teachers. Without you, without the affectionate hand you extended to the small poor child that I was, without your teaching and example, none of all this would have happened, wrote one of the most significant writers of the twentieth century. Albert Camus was born into a humble family of French settlers in Algeria. His mother was almost illiterate and his father died during World War I when he was little. However, despite the poor little child that he was (his words), his teacher, a man named Louis Garmain, made sure to guarantee Camus’s right to education. A right to which millions of minors do not have access.
According to UNESCO, there are more than 260 million children in the world who do not attend school and 617 million children and adolescents who cannot read. We can unequivocally affirm that there are not enough Garmains to remedy this. But it is necessary to mention that there are public institutions, agreements, the will of countries and international cooperation. And, fortunately, guaranteeing inclusive, equitable and quality education and promoting lifelong learning opportunities is one of the sustainable development goals that the international community has set out in the 2030 Agenda and to which the work of the FIIAPP Contributes actively.
The FIIAPP and education
Aware of the value of education in ensuring the sustainability, peace and development of societies, the General Assembly of the United Nations proclaimed 24 January International Education Day. Committed to this reality, the FIIAPP manages several projects funded by the European Union that work in Algeria and Morocco in this dimension.
“Of the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals signed in 2015 in the 2030 Agenda, number four is the quality of education and I think it’s the most important one because all the others in one way or another depend on it for solving poverty in the world, achieving peace and bringing about the well-being of all the inhabitants of this planet,” explains Pilar Garcés, vice-minister of universities and research of Castilla y León and head of the two twinning projects financed by the Union European, and managed by the FIIAPP in Algeria and Morocco.
The FIIAPP in Algeria
Professor at the University of Valladolid, Antonio Bueno coordinates a project managed by the FIIAPP in Algeria in support of the Algerian Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research. Bueno works hand in hand with the professor of the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research of Algeria, Amina Benbernou, to improve Algeria’s academic potential. “The aim is to reinforce the teaching skills of teachers in research and improve the administration’s management skills,” says Benbernou.
A twinning between Spain and Algeria is established for this purpose, through which various specialists travel to Algeria to work alongside the Algerian institutions. Efforts focus on improving the governance of higher education institutions, in line with the standards of the Bologna Process and the European Higher Education Area. In this way, the project provides the necessary tools to improve higher education in Algeria.
For Bueno, “Sharing educational ideas is based on the reality that all citizens who receive them have the same rights and duties and are called to the same mission: that of the progress of humanity.” Through this project, Spain brings the work of highly qualified professionals to Algeria. “Spain is well positioned at the level of pedagogy and monitoring in digital education and synergy. The contribution it can make to Algeria is to support this topic with high-level specialists,” says the Algerian professor.
According to Bueno, the fact that international cooperation allocates resources to education is very significant for societies: “Education is surely one of the areas in which cooperation offers the best results in the short, medium and long term, and although wealth may not be immediately perceived, the truth is that it produces it in abundance.”
The FIIAPP in Morocco
Improving university education in Morocco. With this objective, the FIIAPP manages a twinning project with Morocco. “Higher education has its shortcomings, there are many more private than public universities, which can lead to a kind of “decompensation” and produces a certain inequality among the population,” says the head of the project and Deputy Minister for Universities and Research of Castilla y León, Pilar Garcés.
Through the work of specialists, the project not only promotes improvement in educational organisation, management and legislation, but also explores solutions to the problem of overpopulation in the Moroccan higher education system. “There should be more infrastructure to be able to have a really important and strong higher public education,” says Garcés.
Therefore, specialists from the Junta de Castilla y León work with their Moroccan counterparts on introducing techniques, methods and tools that serve to support the higher education system in Morocco. Among the objectives of the project financed by the European Union is the implementation of an ECTS system to assess qualifications, and the accompaniment in the development of a new national strategy in this area.
For Garcés, “education is one of the most important issues in the life of any human being, because it provides social peace and well-being and enables people to get out of poverty, or reduces violence.” Therefore she agrees with Bueno and very much appreciates the European and Spanish institutions’ financing and development of cooperation and twinning projects: “I think it’s a very important duty that governments should take it even more seriously than they are at the present time, because although it’s true that the economy is important for a country to progress, education is even more so,” she concludes.
19 July 2018
Posteado en : Opinion
Civil society plays a key role in the inclusion of people with disabilities, especially women, in Sudan. The main challenge is that they become aware of their rights, also at institutional level
6% of all Sudanese citizens are disabled. Although there are specific policies and laws aimed at this group, they continue to be discriminated in their communities in relation to accessing services or their rights.
The main challenge they face is the limited awareness of these specific rights. Therefore, at present, civil society associations are actively working to make people with disabilities in Sudan aware of their rights and how to obtain them, while promoting policies and laws to boost them.
For example, the right to a better education or access to the labour market are two of the main challenges that they face. Universities and schools in Sudan are not well equipped for people with disabilities. Jobs are available, but there are accessibility issues in the work environment.
In Sudan, in addition to associations for each type of disability, the Organization of Women with Disabilities includes all women, regardless of the type of disability they have. This organization works as a network that promotes the exchange of experiences among women with disabilities, which allows them to understand the needs of their colleagues and work together to help and support each other. The organization’s main objective is the social inclusion of women with disabilities in their communities.
One of the success stories of this project was the case of a girl with visual impairment who stopped going to school and stayed at home for 14 years. The organization has now helped her to finish her school education. They sent her to a specialized institution for blind people, they paid her fees and she has now passed the exam to go to university.
Another woman asked for our help to go to university because the Faculty of Education refused entry because she had a hearing disability: how was she going to work as a school teacher if she could not hear the students? Faced with this situation, the organization went to the University to solve the problem and allow the woman to continue studying, which we hope will allow her to develop her professional career as a teacher in the future.
The fact is that access to employment for women with disabilities is still limited in Sudan. Hence, here at the organization we place a lot of importance on the work we are doing together with Bridging the Gap, a project funded by the European Union, coordinated by the FIIAPP and implemented in Sudan through the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS, for its initials in Spanish). In particular, we work in the state of Gedaref to strengthen the capacities of women with disabilities from rural areas and thereby increase their chances of finding a job or creating business opportunities and cooperatives.
These training activities promote the awareness of teachers, families and people with disabilities about the right to education and the inclusion of women with disabilities in the labour market, which benefits society as a whole. They also work to create a better environment, better accessibility and equipment, and to correctly deal with people with different types of disabilities.
In general, the Sudanese community considers disability as a stigma, although views differ. While some people are accepting of disability, others hide their children from friends and family. They are afraid of having children with disabilities, especially girls, because they believe that they will not be able to protect themselves when they are walking down the street from sexual abuse, for example. Therefore, they keep them inside the house, which becomes a prison for them. Access to education and, subsequently, to the world of work, therefore becomes a liberating experience for them.
Bridging the Gap is a good project because it works with both Government authorities and with people with disabilities themselves. This helps Sudanese society to reduce the gap between people with and without disabilities and for this to be reflected in policies and laws.
In this sense, the role of civil society is key since the country’s institutions usually request their support when they have to address disability issues because officials are not prepared to deal with people with disabilities. Nevertheless, the National Council for Persons with Disabilities is working on a Strategic Plan for People with Disabilities in Sudan that, once approved by the Government, should be adopted by all Ministries.
In the past, women have been poorly represented in organizations related to disability in Sudan. But now it is considered that women have the ability and are prepared within communities to talk about their rights.
Akhyar Omar, President of the Organization of Women with Disabilities in Sudan
About the Project
Bridging the Gap has the backing of Sudanese national institutions and is in line with the country’s development strategy, which includes support for the social inclusion of people with disabilities. The project seeks to help strengthen the participation of national civil society organizations and organizations for people with disabilities in policy formulation processes. The Organization of Women with Disabilities continues to work so that these inclusive policies pay special attention to women with disabilities.