Schools reopen in Niger after pandemic closings
UNICEF calls for increased efforts to improving the teaching levels and the synergies of access to WASH for every child
NIAMEY, 15 October 2020 – UNICEF supports the Government of Niger and partners in the back to school towards improving the teaching levels, implementing a holistic education approach for every child, including the most vulnerable, and protecting the public budgets for the education sector.
This year, the back to school takes place in the context of COVID-19 and coincides with International Handwashing Day, an opportunity for all actors involved in the campaign to combine the efforts to ensure a new successful school year for children with those of the specific context of handwashing and COVID-19 prevention.
‘The suspension of the academic program due to COVID-19 represented a challenge for the entire educational system. In this context we must put all our efforts together to ensure that Nigerien students and teachers can return to school safely and with quality teaching’ said Ilaria Carnevali, Acting UNICEF Representative.
UNICEF calls all national actors to continue to prioritize education in their COVID-19 recovery plans to reduce the negative impact of the COVID-19 crisis on children and the national economy.
In Niger, children go to school in some of the most challenging contexts. In the midst of COVID-19, washing hands with soap remain one of the most effective barrier gestures against the pandemic. UNICEF ensured the provision of handwashing devices and soap and sensitization actions in primary schools across the country.
UNICEF as the sector lead has been working alongside education authorities, national artists, and communities to support school reopening by providing tools and training for teachers, improving access to water, hygiene, and sanitation in schools, and promoting innovations in school health, digital learning, and foundational skills, in cooperation with technical and financial partners
‘Our aim is to ensure every child in Niger has access to good quality education, without leaving behind the most vulnerable children. Although more children are enrolled in school, far too many are not learning. We need to do more to support teachers. A key factor that affects the quality of education is the availability of quality teaching. UNICEF will support the upgrading program for all teachers and propose innovative approaches for them’ said Carnevali.
UNICEF celebrates the first steps taken so far in reopening schools and calls on governments to:
- Improving teaching
COVID-19 could mean many children and youth may never get back to school again and acquire the skills they need to succeed in this changing context. We must promote new and innovative approaches to learning.
- Meeting the holistic needs of children and youth
Schools are a platform that enables a package of integrated services such as nutrition, health, hygiene services, psychosocial support, and protection. As schools reopen, we need to ensure these essential services are provided
- Reaching the most vulnerable
The pandemic should be seized as an opportunity to reinvent education systems with the aim of equipping excluded adolescents with economic and psychosocial skills for their empowerment. We advocate Efforts to increasing the efficiency of government budgets in the area of education should be continued.
Thanks to the support of Education Cannot Wait and The Global Partnership for Education UNICEF works in Niger to improve the inclusive quality of education, and create equitable, safe, protective and gender-sensitive learning environments.
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.