Today marks the United Nations’ International Day of Education, celebrating education’s role in enhancing peace, social and economic development. While access to education is taken for granted by most, many children across the globe still do not have this right and are in a more desperate position than ever from the effects of the pandemic. According to the United Nations, 258 million children today are not attending school. The importance of championing such access and unlocking the potential in every child, youth and adult is now more critical than ever.
This year’s theme is “Changing Course, Transforming Education”. As shown in this short clip, it marks a turning point, whereby gaping inequalities, a damaged planet, growing polarisation and the devastating impact of the pandemic calls for a radical change of course. As laid out by the UNESCO report, this requires helping support new opportunities to help improve inclusion for the most vulnerable.
Technology is a core proponent and solution in helping change course. However, access remains a key hurdle. As stated by Audrey Azoulay, UNESCO Director-General, we need to “orient the digital transformation around inclusion and equity”. Temenos’ role in this mission is to provide digital technologies to help improve access, creativity and communication.
With education being not only a human right but also a common good, UNESCO notes that we need a new social contract. We require “an implicit agreement among members of a society to cooperate for shared benefit”. Temenos continues to be committed to its role in this. We continue to support our colleagues in providing technology to break down the barriers communities are facing to educational access. We are, therefore, marking International Day of Education by celebrating the work of our employees in empowering the most marginalized members of our society. From supporting women and children in obtaining essential business skills training to donating health kits to aid pupils to return safely to school, the Temenos team has been aiming to do its bit across the globe.
Kenya: The power of education for women and young people
Over the last two years, our Kenya CSR program has provided business skills training to 345 Kivandini Village members, helping them start 241 enterprises and create 314 new jobs. Despite the challenges that Covid-19 presented, all our members were able to complete and offer life-changing training in financial planning, credit borrowing and repayment and climate change resistance.
With inclusion and equity at the heart of this year’s theme, Temenos has witnessed the inequalities faced by women and children – the most marginalized in our society. Therefore, the program was specifically targeted to empower those suffering most in these poverty-stricken communities, helping over 75 percent of women and transforming the lives of nearly 30 percent aged 18-25.
However, it had an even wider impact. As a result of the work of the Kenya CSR program, more than 960 women, children and men will now be lifted out of poverty through strengthened incomes. This poverty alleviation has provided these families with greater food security, better nutrition, and more funds to contribute to their children’s education and healthcare – hopefully breaking the cycle of poverty that educational truancy causes.
Latin America & The Caribbean: Providing technological access in St Lucia and Costa Rica
For those reading this, technology is part of your daily life – something you or I can’t imagine living without. However, the lack of connection to the digital world poses challenges for those without and continues to deepen inequalities. Students without access to the internet face challenges in having access to the required learning material, being unable to master basic computer skills and submitting assignments on time. Recognizing these hurdles, we have partnered with the Anse La Raye RC Infant school on the island of St. Lucia. Our latest initiative involves upgrading their computer facilities to equip pupils with the necessary computer skills to operate in a technological world while offering teacher training to enhance education by integrating technology lessons into the curriculum. Temenos Costa Rica also donated laptops to Colegio Tecnico de San Isidro de Hederia’s children to help them stay connected and learn about technology during their 2021 virtual classes.
India: Temenos India’s Fight for Educational Access during the Covid-19 Pandemic
Our team in India has continued to work closely with communities to address the barriers to providing quality education while the country suffers from the pandemic, exacerbating inequality. We have aimed to provide the tools and support to learn safely, helping maintain a safe environment and follow coronavirus guidelines to ensure children can keep learning effectively and not fall behind. To do this, we provided health kits for 4,500 students and 400 staff in 10 government schools and two Government Education offices in Chennai and Bangalore. This allowed these educational institutions to re-open safely, providing parents with the comfort that their children could return to school as safely as possible.
The Education Support Programme, established in 2017, has also been a critical project in Temenos India’s efforts. Till 2021, our Temenos employees individually and as groups have funded the education of 238 school children by paying their school fees. Understanding the pressures of the Covid pandemic, Temenos’ India team spearheaded this scheme during a vital and pressured time for education, offering constant access through educating students from home and providing and delivering meal kits. As a result, The CSR Universe recognized Temenos’ widespread positive impact by awarding the team the best CSR project award for a Covid Response Initiative for its significant impact in the “Education” category.
Temenos donated 40 laptops to three different educational institutions across Romania. The Cultural Education Association for Children with hearing disabilities, Asociatia Procultura Timotei Cipariu Highschool in Bucharest, and the Vanatorii Mici, Giurgiu primary school. These provided a vital helping hand to children in desperate need to attend online classes when schools were forced to shut during the pandemic.
Temenos employees are passionate about looking for ways to directly transform education access in some of the most marginalized of society, and today reminds us how action, no matter how big or small, can help achieve significant development across the globe. We must now further help rebuild education across communities badly impacted by the pandemic.