A right to education

What does Article 28 “Right to Education, Schooling and Vocational Training” of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child mean in practice? The Angels for Children Foundation pursues a wide range of educational measures in Laos to ensure a continuous system of primary and secondary school and vocational training. Chairman of the foundation Christian Engel elaborates, what impact the foundation has in Laos and how the organisation ensures sustainability in the long-term.

What impact does Angels for Children have in Laos?

Why is the foundation engaged for such a long time in Laos?

Under the microscope: Article 28 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child at the Foundation Angels for Children

Artikel 28: Right to education; school; vocational education

1. States Parties recognize the right of the child to education, and with a view to achieving this right progressively and on the basis of equal opportunity, they shall, in particular:

(a) Make primary education compulsory and available free to all;

(b) Encourage the development of different forms of secondary education, including general and vocational education, make them available and accessible to every child, and take appropriate measures such as the introduction of free education and offering financial assistance in case of need;

(c) Make higher education accessible to all on the basis of capacity by every appropriate means;

(d) Make educational and vocational information and guidance available and accessible to all children;

(e) Take measures to encourage regular attendance at schools and the reduction of drop-out rates.

2. States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to ensure that school discipline is administered in a manner consistent with the child’s human dignity and in conformity with the present Convention.

3. States Parties shall promote and encourage international cooperation in matters relating to education, in particular with a view to contributing to the elimination of ignorance and illiteracy throughout the world and facilitating access to scientific and technical knowledge and modern teaching methods. In this regard, particular account shall be taken of the needs of developing countries.

Artikel 28: Right to education; school; vocational education

(1) Ingrid Engel’s concern – “All children in the world – no matter where they are born – should have the same life chances and opportunities to develop”.

a) The Angels for Children Foundation is committed to promoting education in three Laotian state schools near the capital Vientiane. Despite private support, the schools are open to all children in the area and parents do not have to pay school fees.

b) Transition to vocational training & work: In cooperation with various partners, the Recruitment and Training Programme (RTP) was launched in 2015. In the RTP, after nine years of school, graduates are given the opportunity of a free three-year vocational training as electricians or mechanics.

c) Joint education management between the Angels for Children Foundation and the headmasters of the schools – planning of further training for teachers, promotion of gifted pupils, planning of lessons and rooms, administration and maintenance.

d) At the Ban Phang Heng middle school, several information events are held for the graduating classes in the course of a year in order to attract interested students for vocational training at the RTP. The trainees of the current years are also regularly involved to give first-hand accounts of the training.

e) The existence of a school is no guarantee that children will (be able to) attend school. The Angels for Children Foundation is therefore committed to enabling all children in the vicinity of the schools to attend school. This begins with the registration of all school-age children from the age of six, in which the teachers of the schools support the community administrations, continues with the provision of school uniforms and ends with the donation of school materials for children from particularly poor families.

(2) Due to the many years of project work in Laos, the foundation is closely networked with many authorities. In its work, the Angels for Children Foundation does not influence the private or religious education of the children. In its work, the Angels for Children Foundation is completely incorruptible.

(3) In a five-year pilot project from 2015 – 2020, the Angels for Children Foundation cooperated with Prof. Dr. Isabel Martin from the Karlsruhe University of Education (PH Karlsruhe) in the bi-directional teaching and learning project “Teaching English in Laos”. In joint tandem teams, Laotian teachers and students and graduates of the PH Karlsruhe worked together to improve teaching in the subjects of English, science and mathematics.

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