Mobile pastoralists and education: strategic options
In 1948, education was agreed by the United Nations to be a fundamental human right. This is a right that, across the globe, and despite decades of effort, remains unrealised for many people. This global failure provides a continuing stimulus to review past progress and future prospects in making this right a reality for everyone. At present, international attention is closely focused on the pending deadline of achieving the second Millennium Development Goal for education by 2015. As progress is made in attracting children to school, it is becoming increasingly clear that nomadic groups challenge the likelihood of success in achieving this goal. They do this at two levels. Firstly, including nomads is clearly a huge practical challenge, and secondly it is also a conceptual challenge. This paper will show that successful policy is possible, and that progress is being made – but only when both aspects of educational provision for nomads are considered at the same time.
Educating nomadic peoples in the context of rapid global socio-economic change is a challenge of massive proportions. This paper sets out to address this challenge in two ways. Firstly, it maps out the conceptual terrain, analysing the key debates in relation to terms that are often misleadingly used as if they are interchangeable – education, schooling, and learning. Greater clarity on terminology, and its underlying assumptions, shows how the educational marginalisation of nomadic groups has been created, and sustained. Secondly, building on this analysis, the paper reviews successful and innovative approaches to education provision around the world that can inform and inspire new approaches to nomadic education. As old assumptions are challenged and corrected, obstacles that previously seemed insurmountable can be overcome.