By Rotimi Agbana
The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund has revealed that there is a widespread learning loss among Ukraine’s children, as students enter the fourth year of disruption to education.
This was contained in a statement by UNICEF on its official website on Tuesday.
According to the statement, children across Ukraine are showing signs of learning loss, including a deterioration in learning outcomes of the Ukrainian language, reading and mathematics, as an outcome of the war with Russia.
It noted that continuous Russian attacks on Ukrainian schools have made it practically impossible and unsafe for students to learn because many schools have suffered direct hits and others have closed down as a precaution in 18 months of missile and artillery attacks on residential areas across the country.
The statement reads, “According to national survey data, two-thirds of preschool-age children are not attending preschool. In frontline areas, three-quarters of parents report not sending their children to preschool.
“For Ukraine’s refugee children, it is also the beginning of another uncertain academic year, with more than half of children from preschool to secondary school age not enrolled in national education systems across seven countries hosting refugees. Pre-schoolers and secondary-age students are the most likely to miss out on their education. Language barriers, difficulty in accessing school, and overstretched education systems are among the reasons for low enrolment rates.”
The statement, however, assured that UNICEF is currently working with the Ukrainian government and other partners to provide multiple learning pathways for children not currently enrolled in school.
It reads, “UNICEF is working with governments and partners on the ground in Ukraine and countries hosting refugee children and families to help increase access to quality learning. This includes supporting the inclusion of children in national education systems and providing multiple learning pathways for children not currently enrolled. This also means equipping teachers and school staff with the skills needed to integrate all vulnerable children in classrooms, providing language classes and mental health and psychosocial support.
“UNICEF is working with the Government of Ukraine to support learning recovery and alignment with regional standards to remove barriers to education and ensure lifelong learning for all. This includes rehabilitating schools and providing much-needed catch-up classes in core subjects, with the aim of supporting 300,000 children at risk of learning losses in Ukraine over the coming school year, while providing longer-term support through the strengthening of early childhood education systems and services at scale.