The CSS Blog Network

Damaging Education

Waiting for a decent education, photo: TheAdvocacyProject/flickr

According to a report by the Kenyan Teachers Service Commission (TSC), up to 12,600 girls were sexually abused by teachers over a five-year period from 2003 to 2007. Most of the victims were aged between 12 and 15; and in some cases, teachers abused as many as 20 girls before they were reported.

As a result, a total of 600 teachers were fired in 2009, and this year so far the number totals 550. In addition, the survey, done jointly with the non-profit Centre for Rights Education and Awareness (CREAW), found that 633 teachers were charged with sexual abuse in the five years covered by the study. The report went on to state that these numbers probably only represented the tip of the iceberg, as most cases went unreported.

Failure to report cases of sexual abuse to the police or the TSC was often attributed to either the fear of stigmatization, or the collusion between teaching staff and the officials investigating the abuse. In some cases, education officials even collaborated with the offenders. In addition, many parents did not want to involve the notoriously corrupt police out of fear of repercussions. » More

Great Projects or Great Illusions?

How will Sochi fare? photo: jan zeschky/flickr

Much has been made of Russian great power politics. Western media has been swamped with reports of Russia’s assertive energy politics, its Cold War-style military parades and photographs of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in shirtless macho poses.

More discreetly however, Russia has been striving to display the country’s greatness through the realization of various projects that commemorate Russia’s glorious history and show off the country’s modernization and economic growth. By holding prominent international events, Moscow hopes to restore the country’s national pride and revive some of its regional centers through the development of infrastructure projects that typically accompany such events.

But will Russia’s investments into these events improve its image abroad and bring much-needed progress for its lesser-developed regions? » More

New CSS Analyses: Post-Conflict Democratization and the Privatization of Security

Security for democracy- who provides it? photo: Isafmedia/flickr

Our colleagues at the CSS have published new CSS Analyses on two topics that will continue to hit the headlines in the coming months.

  • In Post-Conflict Democratization: Pitfalls of External Influence, the author, Judith Vorrath, addresses democratization as an important facet of post-conflict reconstruction and argues that despite ambivalent results thus far, democratization will remain an important component of peacebuilding. She calls for the optimization of democratization efforts in the following areas: the conscious handling of trade-offs, conceptual precision, and a dynamic conflict analysis.
  • In Privatising Security: The Limits of Military Outsourcing, the author, Ulrich Petersohn, asks how far the trend towards a more privatized security sector will be allowed to go and what effects this is likely to have on mission fulfilment in the future. He argues that decisions on outsourcing should ultimately be made flexibly in accordance with the security environment.

On Course with European Identity

Pieces of a European puzzle, photo: Cemre/flickr

South Wales is not renowned as a symbol of European identity. Indeed, if you were fortunate enough to watch the drama unfold at the 38th Ryder Cup last week – the biennial golfing contest between Europe and the USA – you might have missed the phenomenon occurring beyond the playing area.

Yes, what might just have passed for a raucous band of Brussels bureaucrats on tour was, in fact, a crowd of 50,000 European golf fans (many of them British) bedecked in blue and yellow – many literally wrapped in the EU flag – cheering on their team with endless chants of ‘Europe, Europe’. For this supporter, bred on a British media diet of fear and skepticism regarding the Brussels ‘takeover’, the passionate display of ‘europeanness’ was faintly startling.

Put the tournament in its proper context as the one event where Europe is represented as a single team and with a television audience of one billion people (making this the third largest sporting event in the world) and you’ll understand why President Barroso of the European Commission was positively giddy as he opened proceedings.  Remember, this is also from the perspective of a country where 71 percent want a referendum on EU membership, and of a Union to which less than half its members’ populations feel any attachment.

But what does it say about European identity when its most fervent popular expression is in a sport characterized by birdies, bogeys and bunkers? » More

ISN Insights: Look Back, Week Ahead

Last week ISN Insights explored the following issues:

  • In ISN Podcasts, published each Friday, Vivian Brailey-Fritschi interviewed Marta Szpala about the Bosnian elections

In the week ahead we’re going to be looking at: The booming assassination business in Mexico, the preliminary findings of the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Commission, the reintegration of female combatants and FARC’s organizational challenges in the wake of a key leader’s assassination.

Keep checking the ISN website each day for the newest edition of ISN Insights and remember to check the blog on Mondays – we’ll be highlighting our past and future offerings at the start of the week.

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