UNICEF welcomes the decision schools to resume classes while negotiations continue between the teachers’ union and the Government
Skopje, 4 May 2022: UNICEF welcomes the joint decision between the Trade Union for Education, Science and Culture and the Ministry of Education and Science to resume school classes and at the same time continue with the negotiation process in the coming weeks.
Considering the delayed start of this school year and the prolonged teachers strike, it is imperative to not only avoid further learning losses but to recover from the existing ones and mitigate the long-term damage to children’s wellbeing, overall development, and productivity. These losses are very likely to have a negative impact on children today, but they will also impact their future and the socio-economic development of the country.
UNICEF also welcomes and encourages the engagement and participation of young people in the solutions to address learning losses, resume teaching and come up with solutions for the State Matura. At the same time, UNICEF reminds that particularly in a situation when children and young people bear the biggest burden, it is the responsibility of the society as a whole to ensure they are safe and able to express their opinions and concerns, online and everywhere. We urge media professionals to maintain the high standards of reporting when children and young people are involved, as until now.
Now that children are back in school, it is critical to adequately assess the learning levels and provide targeted and adjusted instruction based on student’s learning needs to ensure they achieve the intended learning outcomes. We also must bear in mind that the completion of the school year is subject to delivering the planned 172 teaching days, rather than reaching a fixed date in the calendar. In this context, we encourage the Ministry of Education and Science to come up with solutions that validate the different needs of students, while keeping their best interests at the forefront. Such flexibility and diversified solutions may very likely be required to address the issues with the national exam i.e., State Matura.
Once again, UNICEF welcomes the mutual solution that ensures the best interests of children takes precedence. While the negotiations between the Government and teachers’ trade union continue, UNICEF encourages all stakeholders to seek solutions that will avoid any further learning disruptions, and consider the much-needed broader education reform that will allow teachers to deliver the quality and inclusive education that children are entitled to.
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.mk.