UNICEF celebrates learners’ first day back in school
Getting children back in classrooms is the first step to addressing the learning crisis
MANILA, 22 AUGUST 2022 – As millions of children go back to school today, UNICEF proposes concrete actions to tackle learning poverty in the Philippines and recover pandemic-related learning losses. UNICEF commends the Department of Education, the Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) Council and the Bangsamoro Region’s Ministry of Basic, Higher and Technical Education for taking decisive steps to fully reopen in-person schooling.
Prolonged school closures, poor health risk mitigation, and household-income shocks had the biggest impact on learning poverty, resulting in many children in the Philippines failing to read and understand a simple text by age 10. Vulnerable children such as children with disabilities, children living in geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas, and children living in disaster and conflict zones fare far worse.
“As we welcome children back into the classrooms today, let’s remember that this is the first of many steps in our learning recovery journey. Each day spent in the classroom is an opportunity for us to improve and chart the path to an effective, equitable, and resilient education system,” UNICEF Philippines Representative Oyunsaikhan Dendevnorov says.
UNICEF also emphasizes that recovering lost learning requires a sustained whole of society approach. Experience from schools and early learning centres that piloted in-person classes revealed that parents, local officials, the business sector and community members played a crucial role in ensuring that learning continues.
UNICEF supports the safe reopening of all schools and early learning centers in the Philippines by providing technical assistance through guidelines and standard operating procedures, supporting the Bangsamoro education ministry, orienting local governments in reopening pre-schools, providing schools with water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) facilities and cleaning and disinfection kits, and conducting rapid literacy assessments and learning recovery programs.
UNICEF calls on education stakeholders to adopt the RAPID learning recovery framework. The Government must accelerate efforts to:
- Reach every child and retain them in school;
- Assess learning levels;
- Prioritize teaching the fundamentals;
- Increase catch-up learning and progress beyond what was lost; and
- Develop psychosocial health and well-being so every child is ready to learn.
 The World Bank. The State of Global Learning Poverty (2022 Update)
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 in the Philippines, visit www.unicef.ph.