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Five things you need to know this week about global education (07 February 2020)

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Rebuilding cyclone-hit schools in Myanmar, a call to fund Palestinian education and 5,000 new early years centres in Rwanda are in our roundup.

Cyclone-damaged schools repaired and rebuilt in Myanmar

More than 300,000 disadvantaged children in Myanmar have benefitted from a four-year project to restore education after Cyclone Komen caused massive flooding.

It included the construction, repair and rehabilitation of 78 schools in Rakhine State and 37,350 roofing sheets provided to another 263 schools in Rakhine and Chin States. All the new schools are flood and earthquake-resistant.

Over 11,000 teachers were provided with training on a more inclusive approach to teaching and learning. Over 372,000 children are studying in schools where teachers have benefitted from more inclusive, child-friendly schools training.

The programme was led by Myanmar's education ministry with the support of Japanese government and UNICEF. Rakhine State's planning and finance minister U Kyaw Aye Thein said: “Investing in children’s education helps break the cycle that traps children in the same poverty their parents experienced and creates a better future for children.”

14 children die in Kenya school stampede

Fourteen children were killed in a stampede as they rushed down a staircase at the end of classes at a primary school in western Kenya on Monday, officials said.

At least 39 more pupils were badly hurt in the incident at the Kakamega Primary School, the Daily Nation newspaper said. It reported that some of the children fell from the third floor as they ran.

"We lost 14 of them," Education Minister George Magoha told Citizen TV. "One life (lost) is a life too many."

"As kids were going home from school there was a stampede as they were going down the stairs," said Peter Abwao, a spokesman for Red Cross Kenya. "It's a three-storey building, it's a classroom block."

UNRWA asks for funding for Palestinian schools

The UN agency that provides education for more than 500,000 Palestinian children has appealed for funding for its programmes throughout 2020.

UNRWA (UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East) said it needs at least $1.4 billion to run its essential services and assistance.

The agency - which spends over half its budget on education - runs more than 700 schools in the West Bank, Gaza, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.

Two years ago it faced a massive funding crisis when its biggest donor the United States withdrew its financial backing. But donors stepped in to save the day and keep the schools and other vital programmes running.

Rwanda launches 5,000 ECD centres

Five thousand new home-based early childhood development centres will be set up in Rwanda to give children under five the best start in life.

They will provide education, nutrition and healthcare - with an emphasis on reducing cases of stunted growth, which can result in poor cognition and educational performance.

The centres will be launched by a partnership of the Imbuto Foundation and Local Administrative Entities Development Agency, a Rwandan government fund.

They hope to drastically reduce the current rate of 38% of Rwanda's children below the age of five being stunted.

Taliban sets Afghan girls' school on fire

A girls' school in Afghanistan was set on fire by Taliban militants, according to government officials.

The attack happened during daytime at the school at Bodala village near Taluqan city, the capital of Takhar province.

Attacks on Afghan schools by the Taliban and Islamic State have soared in the past three years. More than 1,000 schools were closed down at the end of 2018.

About 3.7 million children - nearly half of the country's school-aged population - are not getting an education.