Jakarta, Indonesia – The collaborative work between authorities, educational institutions, humanitarian organizations and other stakeholders to ensure the continuity and resumption of education in crisis situations has been at the heart of discussions during a webinar on Wednesday (July 28, 2021), co-organized by the ASEAN Foundation, the ASEAN Institute for Peace and Reconciliation (ASEAN-IPR) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC ).
In his opening remarks, ASEAN-IPR Executive Director HE Ambassador I Gusti Agung Wesaka Puja stressed that the ASEAN Political Security Community (APSC) master plan calls for promoting education as an effective way to instill respect and values of tolerance, non-violence and mutual understanding to prevent the spread of extremism and address its root causes.
HE Dr Yang Mee Eng, Executive Director of the ASEAN Foundation, in her welcoming remarks, stressed that the key stakeholders of ASEAN must provide a solid foundation for the education system in the region and accelerate public collaboration and private sector to provide a better roadmap for the recovery of the ASEAN education system.
In her opening speech, Dr Helen Durham, Director of International Law and Policy at the ICRC, underlined that access to education and safe schools is of crucial importance, before, during and after crises, creating a protective and stabilizing effect on the lives of children. and their families.
The webinar then continued with a panel discussion moderated by Ms. Beatrijs Vanhove, ICRC Interim Education Officer, which included stakeholders from the Philippines and Indonesia, namely Ms. Josephine Lascano, Executive Director of the Rehabilitation Center. de Balay and Ms. Ayu Kartika Dewi, member of the ASEAN Women Peace Registry (AWPR) of Indonesia.
The two speakers involved in education enriched the discussion by sharing their experiences and challenges encountered through their direct contacts with all stakeholders in the field.
The exchange during the webinar identified key highlights and take-away points:
Prioritize preparation for access to education
Better preparedness is of crucial importance to ensure the continuity of education during any crisis, including during the COVID-19 pandemic. There is a need to strengthen education as an essential public service. This means that advocacy for better access to education must be an integral part of humanitarian response and assistance in crisis situations.
Prioritization also means that more capital and resources must be allocated for better preparation and resilience of schools. This has also been recognized in the contexts of the ASEAN region.
Adopt best practices that could be useful in improving access to education, before, during and after the crisis
Establishment strong legislation to guarantee access to education. In the Philippines, for example, the national government has enacted child welfare and development legislation to ensure sustainability of actions for children in emergencies.
Relevant development child protection roadmap and framework. For example, this includes adopting child protection safeguards (to ensure safety and reduce risk), human rights and humanitarian protection, as well as mental health and support frameworks. psychosocial.
Adopt a whole-society-approach. Rather than focusing only on the education sector, it is important to involve other community members in the effort, encouraging them to contribute to better access to education.
Incorporate key additional subjects into the curriculum such as sessions on peace, human rights, diversity and reconciliation. This will motivate children to continue their education and encourage critical thinking and make the learning crisis sensitive, culturally appropriate and trauma-aware.
Allocate more resources and investments for a more robust educational infrastructure that will improve resilience. This also includes reducing the gap in the teacher-student ratio, improving distance / online learning capabilities, modules and facilities as well as accessibility of school to children.
Develop collaboration for better access to education
Partnership and coordination of stakeholders are essential. Government, community, school as well as international organizations, civil society organizations and the private sector play important roles based on their own respective capacities. Proactive advocacy needs to be accelerated for stronger partnerships. In this regard, coordination among stakeholders that emphasizes a complementary approach is necessary to ensure more effective and efficient resource mobilization.
The webinar is also available online here.