How can education be improved in your country/region?
Uganda has universal primary and secondary school education for all children, without discrimination. The challenge that remains is that since it is not compulsory, not all parents send their children to school. The usual casualty is again, the girl child. At university level, there is affirmative action for girls. This gives an opportunity to the girl who would not have been able to compete equally with the boy, and has increased the number of the girls attending university.
It is absolutely necessary to raise the level of women's education in general, and particularly around peace and security issues. This will ensure women's ability to defend their rights and interests, including through international mechanisms such as UNSCR 1325, and by harnessing the experience of women's peace initiatives in the region of the South Caucasus and all over the world.
Hakima Chaoui • Marocco
Not all women and girls are able to access full education because of poverty and illiteracy. In rural areas, there are certain customs and traditions which discriminate between men and women in the family, for example, allowing boys to be educated while girls are married off.
Some teachers promote extremist ideas, calling for violence and revenge. This makes an impact on the minds of students. Educational policies, curricula and teacher-selection policies need to be changed in order to ensure teachers promote the value of peace and separate education from religious extremism.
Human rights organisations and women's associations have launched initiatives against violence and religious extremism, in an attempt to promote a culture of peace. The Ministry of National Education has an initiative to review programmes and curricula, particularly in relation to the teaching of Islamic education, in order to remove religious extremist ideas.
Many things have to be done, by all actors: governments, society, community and the Diaspora. Diaspora groups the world over fund wars -- this was the case for Sri Lanka. In a post-war setting it is important for all to come together to enable those who were deprived of education to be given the space to be educated. This include policy changes, but more so the will of all actors.
Recent studies done in Armenia indicate that almost all textbooks, especially those on humanities, are rather non-sensitive both in terms of language and content. Women and the roles they played in history and continue to play in day-to-day life are not appreciated, and should be reconsidered. The language, context and narratives should change.
Tolerance education and diversity acceptance should be mainstreamed through all textbooks. The teachers should be re-trained and universities that produce teachers should re-think their methodologies, approaches, narratives and texts.
While rates of applications for tertiary education are generally equal between women and men, in certain parts of the country, like the south near Iran, applications are dominated by men due to the high rate of early marriage. Girls who have received education do not always find work, as employers prefer men. Marriage and childbirth are significant barriers for women in employment.
In the field of medicine, education, and in the economy the percentage of women is high, but the numbers at the decision-making level is low.
Education is disrupted by any crisis: political armed conflict and humanitarian crises, including those caused by natural disasters. It is unfortunate that our call for the resumption of the broadcast of school programmes to reach children and their communities as a public service has fallen on deaf ears. Providing education to traumatised children and families is more than replacing books and buildings. The social, economic and political infrastructure must make education more accessible, and this includes psycho-social support.
Tajyka Shabdanova • Kyrgyzstan
In Kyrgyzstan, every girl and boy can get free education up to secondary school (7-18 years old). However, we have different challenges such as the lack of financial support from the government for infrastructure, libraries, teachers' pay and professional development, etc. In one of the cross-border communities of Kyrgyzstan, we have improved school infrastructure to increase access to education of local girls and boys. We have built additional rooms equipped with computers and the Internet to find additional materials on different topics and improve educational levels.