*Initiative seeks to ensure 'zero' out-of-school children
Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, chairperson of Education Above All (EAA) and Qatar Foundation, has announced a new strategy to ensure that the number of out-of-school children in select countries reaches zero.
She was addressing the plenary session of the World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE) 2019 at Qatar National Convention Centre yesterday.
“In order to innovate new solutions to the challenges like monitoring, among others, Education Above All is launching a new strategy to be implemented in selected countries, with the aim of ensuring the number of out-of-school children in these countries reaches zero. Through doing this, we can prove that nothing is impossible if we all determine that education truly is above all,” Sheikha Moza explained.
“Since WISE was established 10 years ago, we aimed to make it an intellectual platform to effect change and a laboratory of innovation, as well as a global hub for supporting education. In this context, and since its launch at WISE in 2012, the Education Above All Foundation embodied the spirit of innovation in developing and implementing its programmes. Indeed, Education Above All has succeeded in enrolling 10mn children back into school,” explained Sheikha Moza.
The EAA chairperson noted that despite these milestones, official reports point out that there are still 59mn out-of-school primary-aged children around the world.
“In reality, that number is much larger. The statistics lag behind the actual numbers and many children go unaccounted for due to inadequate monitoring mechanisms. Most of these children are in hard-to-reach areas,” she continued.
“Among other innovative solutions, we proposed the concept of portable, multi-functional schools, designed and equipped for refugee children and their families to use for education and community engagement. The prototype was made to be affordable, adaptable to different weather conditions, and easy to compact for transporting from one location to another.
“They were designed by the late renowned architect Zaha Hadid, and I remember her excitement when I asked her if it was possible for the field of architecture to provide an alternative solution to the tents or temporary wooden buildings typically used for refugee education. My suggestion resonated with her deep desire to contribute and help marginalised children around the world. She subsequently worked to develop and finalise the design until it became what is on display today at the WISE exhibition. Sadly, Zaha Hadid passed away before she saw this project become reality,” described, Sheikha Moza.
According to Qatar News Agency, Sheika Moza officially unveiled the prototype classroom during her tour of the WISE Majlis. EAA and Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy have partnered to fund the construction of these structures which will be used during the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar and then redistributed to EAA projects in many countries.
“We all recognise that the issue of out-of-school children is one that is highly complex in its causes and solutions. And the ideal solution for the challenges facing education, as you are all aware, is peace, or, at the very least, for a culture of coexistence to prevail around the world. How can we even dream of achieving what seems impossible in a world that never ceases to produce wars and conflicts, a world that continues to invent regional and international crises?” she added.
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