OSISA’s Education programme recognizes that education is a basic right, which is important both for its own sake as well as because of the powerful role education plays in fostering open societies. A literate and educated citizenry is more likely to participate in democratic processes, and has more tools at its disposal to hold its leaders accountable.
OSISA also recognises that schools play a crucial role in socialising children, and that extending access to formal schooling is an important objective for an open society. At the same time, the foundation recognises that for many poor and marginalised groups, formal schooling is either inaccessible or of very poor quality. For youth and adults who have not had access to schooling, it is important that other pathways to learning are made available. As in other programme areas, OSISA seeks to support initiatives targeting marginalised and vulnerable groups as well as on issues that do not receive sufficient policy support and attention. In particular, OSISA welcomes proposals focused on women and girls, socio-cultural and linguistic minorities, young people and people with disabilities. As such, OSISA supports regional initiatives that promote advocacy, networking and capacity-building in the following areas:
Promoting access to Early Childhood care and education (ECCE): The foundation is aware that less than 12 percent of children access pre-school or early childhood education facilities. Yet there are clear benefits for kids and parents. OSISA supports organisations working to extend access and quality of early childhood services – both at the policy and advocacy level, although the foundation is also supportive of model programmes that deliver innovative services.
Increasing access to learning for youth and adults: Poverty, marginalisation and a range of other social factors often lead to young people either not enrolling in school, or dropping out. While many funders and NGOs focus on basic education, OSISA recognises the need to reintegrate young people and adults who struggle with literacy and skills. The foundation supports organisations working to improve policies and programmes aimed at young people and adults, to ensure that they can realise their rights to basic education.
Improving education policy, management and governance including budget tracking at local and national levels: As the state is the duty-bearer for education, OSISA is engaged in work that monitors state performance in education. This includes ensuring that education policies, administration and overall governance are managed in a transparent fashion. It also includes advocacy to expand education budgets and to scrutinise their use. OSISA supports civic groups at local and national levels working on these issues, and collaborates with state entities seeking technical assistance on education governance.
Supporting innovative approaches aimed at increasing educational access for marginalised groups: The programme targets children with disabilities, orphaned and vulnerable children, and children from socio-cultural and linguistic minority groups. While many states have adopted policies for free primary education, there remain significant problems of access for children from marginalised groups. Efforts that seek to bridge the gap for these children, in a systematic and innovative manner, are welcome to apply to OSISA for funding.
OSISA's Education Programme will not fund in education:
• Stand-alone workshops;
• Individual scholarship programmes;
• Welfare needs of children and their communities; and,
• Purely academic research on education