Enabling Education – for life!
This year’s newsletter features articles that take us beyond primary and secondary school settings. Education should be an enabling experience at every level of learning, from early childhood to old-age. Effective learning does not only happen within a formal classroom environment.
Articles cover early childhood development (Sri Lanka), kindergartens (Trinidad and Tobago), safe play areas (Kyrgyzstan), and learning in the home (Armenia), as well as post-secondary education (Australia, England and Nigeria). Some articles focus on the use of art and drama to bring students together and promote pupil or stakeholder voice (Armenia and England). Education for ‘forgotten’ groups is discussed (child slaves in Niger, shepherd boys in Lesotho and over-age learners in Southern Sudan).
Further articles look at environmentally-aware schools (Madagascar), the relationship between special and mainstream schools (Malawi), and advocacy for inclusive education (Tanzania). We also introduce next year’s newsletter theme – water, sanitation and inclusive education – with an article from Nepal about the effects of menstruation on girls’ participation in education.
EENET’s website has been completely redesigned! The work has been done free of charge by an amazingly dedicated volunteer – Alex Hauschild – who also designs EENET Asia’s newsletter. The new site should be ready to launch in October 2009. It contains hundreds of articles from over 200 authors and features more than 80 countries. The website address remains the same – www.eenet.org.uk – but we have made some significant changes to the content:
- simplified navigation menus
- improved listings of documents – you will be able to search easily according to theme, author, country, date, and type of document
- improved accessibility – you will be able to choose font size and colours, and we will gradually add audio and video files to complement some of the written materials
- easier updating process – EENET’s co-ordinator will be able to update the site in-house, so materials and news announcements will be added more quickly and regularly.
We hope that you will like the new website, and look forward to receiving your feedback. As always we need more contributions for the site – so keep sending your articles, reports, posters, photos, etc.
Steering Group meeting and open seminar
In September 2008, EENET held the first meeting of its new Steering Group. The Group is made up of EENET’s founders, and representatives from regional inclusive education networks, grassroots user groups and academic institutions. The Group oversees EENET’s work, and ensures compliance with the network’s vision and commitment to participatory ways of working. Discussions focused on regional networking, strategic planning, financial issues, improving the newsletter, and clarifying our accountability to network members. As part of the meeting we held an open seminar – The Bigger Picture – focusing on the use of images and photography in inclusive education research and projects. As well as workshop sessions there were case studies from India and Burma, and a showing of the Young Voices film. A copy of the report is available from EENET.
Participants in EENET’s 2008 steering group
Back row: Windyz Ferreira (Brazil), Evena Massae (Tanzania), Anupam Ahuja (India), Salma Khalidi (Palestine), Kalpana Kumar (India), Alex Hauschild (Indonesia), Ingrid Lewis (UK), Nafisa Baboo (South Africa), Charity Namitwe (Zambia), Ian Kaplan (UK).
Front row: Sue Stubbs (UK), Susie Miles (UK), Francis Simui (Zambia)
Mother tongue teaching
Last year we focused on the issue of language and how the use of mother tongue supports the learning and participation of children, especially at the start of their education. Augustine Chulube, a teacher from Zambia, was inspired to write to us:
“Working with people like you has given me the courage and optimism to carry on working well at my school. Thank you so much for sending me the newsletter. The last newsletter challenged us teachers on the importance of teaching in mother tongue. I was glad to read that teaching in mother tongue is the only means of ensuring good quality primary school education. I shared the newsletter with fellow teachers and parents here, particularly in the rural schools. I translated it into the local language, Icibemba, which is widely spoken in Zambia. Parents and teachers welcomed the idea and I provided photocopies which stimulated the interest of parents to support the use of mother tongue in school.”
If any EENET newsletters have inspired you to share information with others or to have discussions (or arguments!) about a particular inclusion issue, we’d love to hear from you.
EENET has received an increasing number of requests in recent years to help other organisations find inclusive education consultants. We have also undertaken more consultancies directly, with EENET staff and founders acting as the consultants. In early 2009, the University of Manchester held a business enterprise competition. We took the opportunity to develop and submit a business plan for EENET to set up a consultancy branch. We were shortlisted in the top six of the competition. Although we didn’t win, we are continuing to develop the consultancy business plan. A key focus of the plan is to find more consultants based in Southern countries, to run consultant capacity-building workshops, and then help NGOs to recruit more South-based consultants. If you would like more information about EENET’s consultancy work, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
We would also like to thank Derin Adefajo and Thabo Miles ‘Matli for their valuable voluntary contributions to the development of EENET’s business plan.
If you use the social networking site Facebook – www.facebook.com – please visit EENET’s page and become a fan! You will be able to read latest news, find links to key documents and videos, and join in discussions with other EENET fans.