UNESCO report: Link between absenteeism from school and violence

12 Jul

Moi wrote about school absenteeism in School Absenteeism: Absent from the classroom leads to absence from participation in this society:
Education is a partnership between the student, the teacher(s) and parent(s). All parties in the partnership must share the load. The student has to arrive at school ready to learn. The parent has to set boundaries, encourage, and provide support. Teachers must be knowledgeable in their subject area and proficient in transmitting that knowledge to students. All must participate and fulfill their role in the education process….

UNESCO has released the report, Children Battling to Go to School, about the link between absenteeism and violence.

Sarah D. Sparks writes in the Education Week article, UNESCO Probes Links Between Absenteeism and Violence:

In the United States, the push to improve school attendance often focuses on outreach efforts, better monitoring, and parent education. But in much of the world absenteeism is a matter of life and death.
“Children Battling to Go to School,” a report released this morning by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization’s Education for All initiative finds half of the world’s out-of-school children, 28.5 million primary-school-age kids, live in a country affected by conflict, from civil war to extreme gang violence. For adolescents, who were last measured in 2011, 69 million are not attending secondary school, and 20 million of those out-of-school students live in conflict zones.
Nearly all of these children live in middle- to low-income countries, UNESCO found, with more than 12 million in sub-Saharan Africa alone. Moreover, the report found schools and other education centers often become direct targets of fighting, as “Sita,” a 12-year-old refugee in Sevaré, central Mali, reported:
“On Monday I went to school. They came into the school. It made me scared. They broke our school desks, destroyed our school books and our things. I didn’t like what they were doing at all. School is supposed to be a place where we learn things. They came in and chased us all out. They shot at the doors. When we left the school, we all ran straight home and stayed there. We didn’t go back. We stayed at home from then on.”
The report notes that less than 1.5 percent of international humanitarian aid goes to education—virtually none is used for education in unstable, violent regions or the refugee camps to which children often are forced to live for months or even years….http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/inside-school-research/2013/07/unesco_absenteeism_violence.html?intc=es

Here is the press release from UNESCO:
10.07.2014 – Education Sector

11.07.2013 – UNESCOPRESS
UNESCO: Half of all out-of-school children live in conflict-affected countries
A new paper by UNESCO’s EFA Global Monitoring Report shows that half of the 57 million children out of school live in conflict-affected countries. Released in partnership with Save the Children to mark the 16th birthday on 12 July of Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani schoolgirl shot by the Taliban on her way home from school in October 2012, the paper shows that urgent action is needed to bring education to the 28.5 million primary school age children out of school in the world’s conflict zones.
Globally, the number of children out of school has fallen from 60 million in 2008 to 57 million in 2011. However, the benefits of this slow progress have not reached children in conflict-affected countries; they now make up 50% of children who are denied an education, up from 42% in 2008.
The paper, Children battling to go to school, shows that 44% of the 28.5 million children affected live in sub-Saharan Africa, 19% in South and West Asia and 14% in the Arab States. The vast majority – 95%- live in low and lower-middle income countries. Girls, who make up 55% of the total, are the worst affected, as they are often victims of rape and other sexual violence that accompanies armed conflicts.
In addition to the boys and girls out of school, almost a third of the world’s out-of-school adolescents (20 million) live in conflict affected countries.  Some 54% of these are women.
“Education seldom figures in assessments of the damage inflicted by conflict”, said Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO.  “International attention and the media invariably focus on the most immediate images of humanitarian suffering, not on the hidden costs and lasting legacies of violence. Yet nowhere are these costs more evident than in education. Across many of the world’s poorest countries, armed conflict continues to destroy not just school infrastructure, but also the hopes and ambitions of a whole generation of children.”
The EFA Global Monitoring Report’s paper also shows that the share of humanitarian aid for education has declined from 2% in 2009 to just 1.4% in 2011. Not only does it receive a small share overall, but it also receives the smallest proportion of the amount requested from humanitarian aid of any sector: in 2010, of the modest amount requested for education in humanitarian crises, just over a quarter was actually received, leaving a funding gap of around $220 million.
“The decline in humanitarian aid for education is especially bad news because funds are needed more than ever,” said Pauline Rose, Director of the EFA Global Monitoring Report. “There are more refugees now than there have been since 1994; children make up half of those who have been forcibly displaced. Nowhere is this more painfully visible than in Syria today. These girls and boys face a disruption of their learning process at a critical time – and the risk of a lifetime of disadvantage as a result.”
For more information, interviews, photos, case studies or quotes, contact:
Sue Williams, Head of Press, UNESCO: s.williams(at)unesco.org
Kate Redman, Communications Specialist, EFA Global Monitoring Report, k.redman(at)unesco.org +33(0)671786234
The policy paper is available at the following link
See also: Education For All Global Monitoring Report website http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0022/002216/221668E.pdf

Moi featured research from Johns Hopkins University in Johns Hopkins University report about school absenteeism:

Missing school matters:
In a nationally representative data set, chronic absence in kindergarten was associated with lower academic performance in first grade. The impact is twice as great for students from low-income families.
A Baltimore study found a strong relationship between sixth-grade attendance and the percentage of students graduating on time or within a year of their expected high school graduation.
Chronic absenteeism increases achievement gaps at the elementary, middle, and high school levels.
Because students reared in poverty benefit the most from being in school, one of the most effective strategies for providing pathways out of poverty is to do what it takes to get these students in school every day. This alone, even without improvements in the American education system, will drive up achievement, high school graduation, and college attainment rates.
Students miss school for many reasons. These can, however, be divided into three broad categories:
Students who cannot attend school due to illness, family responsibilities, housing instability, the need to work or involvement with the juvenile justice system.
Students who will not attend school to avoid bullying, unsafe conditions, harassment and embarrassment.
Students who do not attend school because they, or their parents, do not see the value in being there, they have something else they would rather do, or nothing stops them from skipping school.
Despite being pervasive, though overlooked, chronic absenteeism is raising flags in some schools and communities. This awareness is leading to attendance campaigns that are so vigorous and comprehensive they pay off quickly. Examples of progress nationally and at state, district, and school levels give hope to the challenge of chronic absenteeism, besides being models for others.
In addition to these efforts, both the federal government, state departments of education, and school districts need to regularly measure and report the rates of chronic absenteeism and regular attendance (missing five days or less a year) for every school. State and district policies need to encourage every student to attend school every day and support school districts, schools, non-profits, communities, and parents in using evidence-based strategies to act upon these data to propel all students to attend school daily. Mayors and governors have critical roles to play in leading inter-agency task forces that bring health, housing, justice, transportation, and education agencies together to organize coordinated efforts to help every student attend every day.
Download the Full Report
Download the full report, available here in pdf.
Download the presentation tool, available here as a  PowerPoint show.
Report Coverage in the News
New York Times
Huffington Post

Both the findings of the UNESCO report and Johns Hopkins are that children belong in school because it not only benefits the individual student, but the whole society.

Don’t skip: Schools waking up on absenteeism           http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/44704948/ns/today-education_nation/t/dont-skip-schools-waking-absenteeism/
School Absenteeism, Mental Health Problems Linked
A National Portrait of Chronic Absenteeism in the Early Grades 
Don’t skip: Schools waking up on absenteeism           http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/44704948/ns/today-education_nation/t/dont-skip-schools-waking-absenteeism/
School Absenteeism, Mental Health Problems Linked http://psychcentral.com/news/2011/12/25/school-absenteeism-mental-health-problems-linked/32937.html
A National Portrait of Chronic Absenteeism in the Early Grades

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