Mission: Recovery education in humanitarian countries
Updates on UNICEF’s work to deliver education to children in crisis-affected countries, with support from the US Government
The COVID-19 pandemic has robbed millions of children of their right to learn. Especially for children affected by conflicts, natural disasters and other humanitarian crises, the need for global support to programmes focused on education recovery is urgent. In 2022, as many as 78.2 million children affected by humanitarian crisis were out of school, while nearly 120 million crisis-affected children were in school but not reaching proficiency levels in mathematics and reading.
Education is a lifeline for children in emergency settings. Parents and children affected by crisis consistently cite education as a top priority. Yet even before the pandemic, education systems around the world weren’t meeting children’s needs to gain foundational literacy and numeracy skills.
UNICEF continues to provide children across the globe with uninterrupted education and learning programmes that support their psychosocial development. Mission: Recovery education in humanitarian settings, supported by the US government, reaches children in over 27 countries and uses emerging lessons and best practices to help shape education recovery strategies worldwide.
Some examples of the programme’s interventions include:
- In Cameroon, UNICEF is supporting the Radio Education in Emergencies non-formal education program (REP), which, in 2022, reached 44,424 children (24,724 girls) in the conflict-affected North West and South West regions. The pre-recorded lessons are narrowcast on transistor radios. The Government of Cameroon is interested in using the programme to support public schools and use radios to train teachers.
- In the Dominican Republic, UNICEF supported the Ministry of Education in the public launch of the national policy to improve learning in the first three grades of primary school, with the Building the Learning Base Program (known as “CON BASE” in Spanish).
- In Iraq, UNICEF trained 400 social mobilizers to conduct the 2022 annual back-to-learning campaign in six governates and the Kurdistan Region of Iraq to identify children who have dropped out of school or have not yet returned to school due to the COVID-19 pandemic and bring them back to education. By the end of 2022, 44,373 out-of-school children were identified (45% girls), 10,123 returned to formal education, and 3,179 enrolled in non-formal education.
- In the Philippines, UNICEF provided learn-at-home kits to parents to support 34,000 children, including children with disabilities, during the two-and-a-half-year COVID-19 closures.
- In Tanzania, UNICEF is supporting Congolese and Burundi refugee primary school children and teachers from two refugee camps in north-western Tanzania with teaching and learning materials, benefitting 55,726 children (26,818 girls) and 1,097 teachers (285 women).
- In Uganda, UNICEF is supporting the implementation of an abridged curriculum to help children in conflict- and climate-change-affected areas catch up after two years of COVID-19 school closures. Implementation focuses on training master trainers and 3,182 teachers from 2,217 primary schools and 1,102 secondary schools, reaching 580,937 learners (299,123 boys and 28,1814 girls).
- In UNICEF’s East Asia and the Pacific Regional Office and its South Asia Regional Office, UNICEF continues to support the Association of South-East Asia Nations to develop comprehensive guidance for the safe reopening and operations of schools, adopted by all Member States and launched in May 2022.
- In UNICEF’s Europe and Central Asia Regional Office, based on consultation with countries hosting Ukrainian refugees, UNICEF prioritized language development and inclusive education as key areas to promote quality education in protective and inclusive learning environments. Mapping of resources and formulating a training approach is underway to increase the provision of language support and strengthen the inclusive practices of educators across countries.
These interventions are informed by UNICEF’s Commitment to Action on Foundational Learning, along with the RAPID Framework, by which UNICEF continues to call on governments to:
- Reach every child and keep them in school
- Assess learning levels regularly
- Prioritize teaching the fundamentals
- Increase catch-up learning and progress beyond what was lost
- Develop psychosocial health and well-being so every child is ready to learn.