Education materials for the most vulnerable children
A joint initiative by the Ministry of Education, UNICEF and the Red Cross to support the most vulnerable children who are not able to follow school online classes via the internet or TV during the COVID-19 pandemic
PODGORICA, 16 May 2020 – As soon as schools were closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the Ministry of Education started organizing the distance learning programme #LearnAtHome, a new form of cooperation was established in order for children with no internet or TV access to be able to successfully continue to learn. This was enabled through regular distribution of education material, with explanations about the lessons and assignments prepared by the schools. The distribution of the material to the most vulnerable children is being organized across the country, with the support of the Ministry of Education, UNICEF and the Red Cross.
“We have really thought of every child. This, I believe, is illustrated by the fact that #LearnAtHome was not made available only on e-platforms, but also on the TV channels, with additional agreements reached with the TV operators, so that the #LearnAtHome channels would be accessible to every household, regardless of the cable operator. The effort is, therefore, just a continuation of those activities with the aim of enabling every child to get involved,” PR Adviser at the Ministry of Education, Milica Lekić, says.
According to a survey conducted by UNICEF in 2016, nine percent of children in Montenegro do not use the internet. This digital gap reflects the social and economic discrepancies in society, so these are children who were on the margins even before the digital revolution. Supporting their education is of vital importance given that education is the only way out of the vicious cycle of poverty, which is inherited across generations.
“Every child has the right to education and society has an obligation to create opportunities for the exercising of this right for every child, regardless of the circumstances. The data on the improvement of digital literacy of children who are attending school at a distance during this crisis is encouraging, but at the same time it is necessary to enable the continuation of education for those children who cannot do so via the internet or TV,” acting UNICEF Representative to Montenegro, Michaela Bauer, indicates.
A Red Cross volunteer from Cetinje, Ivana Vujović, has been ceaselessly distributing aid packages to the most vulnerable families for days now. The engagement of schools in providing education material for the most vulnerable children has particularly made her happy.
“Along with UNICEF and the schools, we are trying to reach all those children who are not able to follow classes via the internet and to provide them with the necessary material so that they can learn as well,” Vujović explains.
She was delighted to see a girl named Elizabeta Gaši and a boy named Nedžad Emini eagerly open the education materials and start to draw and write with joy and new motivation at a shabby desk in front of their homes.
A mother of four, Ahija Gaši, is extremely happy with the support provided to children through the distribution of education materials from the schools. “This support comes at the right time, and my children are learning at home and trying to fulfil all their tasks. I thank you very much for that,” she said.
The distribution of education materials from schools to vulnerable children across Montenegro is underway. In this manner, UNICEF and the Red Cross are supporting the country in its efforts to make the protection and education of every child a priority even during the COVID-19 pandemic.