UNICEF young reporters speak up about education during COVID-19

UNICEF’s young reporters asked primary and high school students and their parents and teachers about their opinions on education during this crisis

UNICEF Montenegro
A girl in front of the computer
UNICEF Montenegro / Duško Miljanić / 2020
08 September 2020

Podgorica, 8 SEPTEMBER 2020  – On International Literacy Day, celebrated worldwide on 8 September and in line with UNICEF's recommendation to base decisions on education during the COVID-19 pandemic on regular consultations with all stakeholders – primarily children, young people, parents and teachers – UNICEF’s young reporters asked primary and high school students and their parents and teachers about their opinions on education during this crisis: the advantages and disadvantages of online education, whether they are afraid of getting COVID-19 at school and how they think education should be organized in this situation.

So far, the voices of young people have been those least present in the public debate on this issue. For this reason, through the young reporters, UNICEF is contributing to having the voices of young people heard in public on all the issues that affect them. We will continue supporting various groups, especially the most vulnerable, to participate in the public debate so that their needs are taken into account when decisions are made. Everyone has equal rights, and so the voices of all citizens should be heard in the public debate.

Juan Santander, the UNICEF Montenegro Representative

As a result of the young reporters' activities, two short vox populi videos have been produced. The first one addresses the issue “How to organize education during the COVID-19 pandemic”. While the second one is focused on the advantages and disadvantages of online education:

UNICEF Montenegro
UNICEF Montenegro

Our goal is to have our voices heard on this topic, as this issue is, above all, about us, young people,” young reporter Dunja Šestović says.

The vox populi videos made by the young reporters point out that many young people want to go back to school, but they are, at the same time, aware of the risks and concerned about getting sick at school and spreading the disease to their closest ones, especially those with a weak immune system.

Arsenije Aleksa Mraković, young report
UNICEF Montenegro / Duško Miljanić / 2018
Arsenije Aleksa Mraković, UNICEF young report, talking about what he misses the most during online learning, in Podgorica, in September, 2020.

The lack of direct contact with my teachers and peers is something that I miss the most during online learning.

Arsenije Aleksa Mraković, UNICEF young reporter

According to young reporter Đorđe Ivanović, online education is a challenge for children who have no computer or internet access, as well as for those whose parents cannot explain them things.

On the other side, children with chronic diseases and those with disabilities are at particular risk from schools reopening.

Online education seems to be the only way to protect ourselves and our families from COVID-19.

Katarina Nikolić, UNICEF young reporter
Katarina Nikolić, UNICEF young reporter
UNICEF Montenegro
Katarina Nikolić, UNICEF young reporter, explaining why online education is better solution during coronavirus pandemic, in Podgorica, in Septemebr, 2020.

UNICEF recommends providing education adapted to children during the COVID-19 pandemic as well. This means that there should not be one and the same solution for all schools in the country. Every school needs to do an assessment of its risks. Also, every school should be able to provide education in different ways to respond to the different needs of various children, including those who, for various reasons, will not be able to come to school once it is reopened during the pandemic. Therefore, it is necessary not only to provide schools with new technologies, but also with digital pedagogy training so that they can organize quality online education. Finally, it is crucial to ensure adequate hygiene and conditions for the safe reopening of schools. In case a school is closed due to health risks during the pandemic, it is recommended that the school immediately provide online education for all children and, at the same time, invest its efforts into reducing the risks so that the school can go back safely to offline education as soon as possible.