The Government of Japan allocates US 2.7 million to ensure the safe reopening of schools and catch-up learning in response to COVID-19 in Kyrgyzstan
BISHKEK, 4 August 2021 – With the contribution of US 2.7 million from the Government of Japan, the Kyrgyz Republic launched a new project to ensure quality education for children affected by COVID-19, which UNICEF will implement.
Mrs. Nadira Dzhusupbekova, the Deputy Minister of Education and Science, attended the signing ceremony between Mr Shigeki Maeda, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan, and Mrs Yulia Olenik, UNICEF Deputy Representative in the Kyrgyz Republic. In support of the Ministry of Education and Science, this programme was developed to respond to and mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on the education system.
Mr. Shigeki Maeda, the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to the Kyrgyz Republic noted: “Since the first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in Kyrgyzstan last March, the country has been hit hard, both socially and economically. Particularly vulnerable children have been seriously affected because the pandemic caused difficulties to access to education which is a universal right. The Government of Japan strongly hopes that through this project, equitable and comprehensive educational opportunities will be ensured, and the children will build the foundation for sustainable development with their own hands.”
In March 2020, after the first cases of COVID-19 were identified in the Kyrgyz Republic, the Government closed schools across the country as a necessary public health measure and introduced remote learning. This had an impact on 1.44 million school children. Despite Government’s efforts, according to the accessibility assessment conducted by UNICEF with partners, in October-November 2020, 23% of children did not benefit from the full advantages of remote learning during COVID-19 lockdowns, while 77% of children could attend remote learning lessons all the time, or most of the time. Even though most schools reopened after the month of December 2020, these children would need specific programmes in order to catch up with their peers. In addition, ensuring good hygiene and infection prevention and control in school is critical to ensure that COVID-19 will not further affect students.
Addressing the participants of the signing ceremony, UNICEF Deputy Representative in the Kyrgyz Republic Ms Yulia Oleinik noted: “It’s been 18 months since the COVID-19 outbreak started and unfortunately, in the world today, the education of over 156 million children is still disrupted. In Kyrgyzstan, the closure of schools also impacted more than 1,44 million schoolchildren. The partnership between the Government of Japan and UNICEF will strengthen our education programme to ensure that all children have access to quality education despite the pandemic of COVID-19”.
The project will support the Ministry of Education and Science with the implementation of water, hygiene and sanitation interventions in schools, including the procurement of hygiene equipment and supplies and hygiene education, by adapting and applying good practices from Japan. In addition, it will also support children who have not been able to o participate in remote learning during the school closures through catch-up learning programmes. The catch-up learning programme will also introduce school children in grades 2-4 to digital technology and digital learning and enhance learning programmes on numeracy and literacy.
The project duration is until August 2024 and will contribute to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org.