UNESCO in NORTH WEST and SOUTH WEST REGIONS of CAMEROON
A Role for UNESCO
As the United Nations’ specialized agency for education, UNESCO has been globally mandated to lead, coordinate and monitor the implementation of the SDG4-Education 2030 Agenda: “Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”. In this capacity, UNESCO has an important role to play in working with the Member States and partners to strengthen the resilience of education systems and to improve the delivery of quality education in crisis-affected context. Increasing recognition of the importance of areas in which UNESCO has valuable contributions to make – such as bridging humanitarian and development interventions, addressing the root cause of vulnerability, or reinforcing capacity plan and manage crisis response and recovery. While UNESCO is not a humanitarian agency, its sector-wide mandate in education and role as custodian of the SDG4-Education 2030 Agenda uniquely and strategically position the organization to help strengthen humanitarian-development nexus in the education sector. UNESCO's action in this area is based on the Education 2030 Agenda, the aim of which is “to design education systems that are more resilient and more reactive to conflicts, social unrest, and natural risks - and to ensure that education continues to function in emergency situations, during conflicts and in subsequent periods”. UNESCO is a founding member of the International Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE) and has made commitments to the Education Cannot Wait fund, in education in emergencies. UNESCO’s Education in Emergencies (EiE) response in North West and South West regions of Cameroon is part of its global education strategy geared to respond to education needs in emergency and crisis situations internationally. It contributes to the NWSW Education Cluster Strategy (2019-2020), aligned with the Humanitarian Response Plans 2019 and 2020. UNESCO response aims to rapidly improve access to inclusive and safe learning opportunities for vulnerable out-of-school children in crisis-affected North West and South West Regions of Cameroon, through the following interventions:
Production of learning material to support out-of-school children
While applying the Global UNESCO Avicenna Virtual Campus model, UNESCO is producing pre-recorded lessons and internet-based online/offline essential competency-based learning materials, specifically targeting out-of-school children from NW and SW Regions. In order to ensure that learning materials are culturally, socially and linguistically relevant and appropriate to the context of NW and SW regions, UNESCO applied Universal grade-level competency standards in defining the profile and needs of learners, as well as mastery of competencies developed in each subject area. The learning material content is for Primary school levels 1, 2, and 3 in Mathematics, English language, Science and Technology, and Life-skill, as well as Secondary school cycle 1 in Mathematics, English language, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, and Life-skills. The process of design and production of learning materials is led by renowned academicians in the field of Pedagogy and Information, Communication and Technology, from UNESCO Avicenna Virtual Campus Network. In order to facilitate the distribution of these learning materials to the communities and learning spaces, UNESCO will train facilitators, with pedagogical background, on how to use the materials and how to assist out-of-school children in the learning process. The production and distribution of additional learning materials in native languages will be initiated, to further boost and facilitate access to basic education, especially for primary level conflict-affected children.
Access to formal education for vulnerable out-of-school children
UNESCO will facilitate access to formal education for vulnerable out-of-school children through the disbursement of capitation grants to selected schools (contingent upon deduction of school fees). Selection of schools is guided by the Cameroon Education Cluster standards, aiming at supporting schools that are operating at a significantly reduced enrolment rate to enable access to education to those who are unable to pay fees, while assuring that student-teacher ratio does not exceed 60:1. To complement this activity, school principals and head teachers will receive training in leadership and financial management, and psychological support programs. At the same time, schools that are operating at a higher enrolment rate and facing challenges with overcrowded classrooms, hosting different grade level learners in one physical classroom, will benefit from contribution towards the construction and equipment of temporary learning classrooms. UNESCO is following Cameroon Education Cluster and INEE standards for the selection of schools and technical standards for setting up of temporary learning classrooms.
Geographical Coverage and beneficiaries
Implementation of UNESCO EiE activities will be in the South West Region, divisions of Fako, Manyu, and Meme, and North West Region, divisions of Boyo, Mezam, and Ngo- Kentunja. UNESCO's ongoing activities in NW and SW, as described above, will aim to support approximately 36, 308 out-of-school children by June 2020.
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