Learning loss: the EU and UNICEF support the students in the Gaza Strip to unlock their potential
The remedial education programme provides students in the Gaza Strip with the opportunity to cope with learning losses
Gaza, September 1, A large percentage of students in the Gaza Strip suffered learning loss due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the recurrent escalations. To address this, the Ministry of Education (MoE) put in place alternative learning avenues, including blended learning approach. This meant that children in the Gaza Strip could not learn normally. Children spend two years of online learning with the help of their parents. Children from marginalized areas could not use the remote learning opportunities because they didn't have access to the internet or the devices they needed. Weam Salah, an assistant teacher, says, "When we first got here, things were pretty bad because the children didn't know much and had learning losses."
As a result, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, UNICEF provided support for a remedial education programme which was implemented in 63 schools targeting 9,000 children from 8-12 years old in marginalized areas.
The face-to-face remedial classes aim to reach over 9,000 children (half of them are girls) from 8-12 years old with low performance enrolled in elementary grades. It focuses on the two core subjects, Arabic Language and Mathematics, and is provided by 189 teachers with support from another 189 newly assistant teachers. ‘I try as much as I can to help the teacher and support the low performance students’, says Weam Salah, an assistant teacher.
The assistant teachers together with the main classroom teachers received two-days training on remedial education, which helped them identify the gaps and learning losses. In addition, assistant teachers received an additional two-day training on applying children literature and expressive art.
Dalia Zagot an assistant teacher says, ‘The training helped a lot especially in identifying the learning loss for the children and how to use active education to attract the children attention’.
The assistant teacher’s task is to be in the classrooms to support the main classroom teachers and use other methods to help students compensate for the educational losses they have in the appropriate ways for them, such as taking additional classes and using active education methods to attract students' attention and raise their educational level.
‘I had a student who received zero out of ten for spelling every time. I completed the required work with him through active education and assisting him throughout the test by attempting to simplify problems for him and support him, and now his marks are 8 out of 10, which is a tremendous increase’, says Dalia Zagot an assistant teacher.
The programme is being implemented with remarkable success in the schools, and as a result, there has been a significant rise in both the students' educational level and their overall level of achievement. ‘There is a significant improvement among the students, and other students come to request more lessons’, says Weam Salah, an assistant teacher.
Majed, 8 years old in the third grade, says, ‘I really love my teacher and I enjoy going to the class and studying with her because we play a lot, and we receive gifts every time we answer correctly’.
This programme is supported by the EU Humanitarian Aid and aims at responding to the educational needs of the most vulnerable children, mitigate learning loss, provide catch-up learning opportunities for children's numeracy skills.
UNICEF will continue its work to support low-achieving students to reduce the learning gap caused by school closures, and the protractive humanitarian crisis to ensure equal access to learning opportunities for all children and to mitigate the risk of dropping out on the long term.