Header image: Irene Nyangoma, a teacher at the Clarke Junior School in Kampala, Uganda, hosts a new TV show created to help children learn at home with their families during the COVID-19 lockdown.
The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted education around the world. School closures due to the pandemic have affected around 1.5 billion children.
Teachers have gone above and beyond to support their students and to help them keep learning by whatever means possible. Many have embraced new ways of teaching, including online, over radio, television or hand-delivered materials.
While children in many countries are still waiting for schools to fully reopen, education for some has continued – thanks to these champions for children.
UNICEF celebrates these teachers and calls for more investment in education, especially for the 463 million students who remain cut off from education due to a lack of access to remote learning. It is time to reimagine education, where every child is connected to the internet and to quality digital learning.
“Let’s come together, help our children and provide them with quality education.”
Latifa Shafahi is a teacher in Bamyan, Afghanistan, where children are coping with the threat of conflict and COVID-19. Latifa notices the psychological impact these have on her students and tries to make classes engaging and friendly.
Under national school safety guidelines, schools have reopened in Afghanistan on September 12, 2020.
While schools are reopening in most countries in the South Asia region, UNICEF continues to support governments to provide home-based and online learning. A total of 60 million children have been reached with homebased learning as of September 30.
“I do not want the children to suffer the same as I did.”
Musah Samata could not complete her basic education while growing up in Ghana. Today, as a volunteer mother she helps children learn during the pandemic by assisting in classrooms and care centres. Her goal is to ensure children don't lose out on their education during school closures.
In addition to school reopening initiatives, UNICEF is engaging teachers on pregnancy prevention, psychosocial support and back-to-school communication campaigns.
“Their desire to learn … [was] the most important factor encouraging me to continue my effort.”
Aylin Tufan is a guidance counsellor in Turkey who helps Syrian refugee children and adolescents through issues such as discrimination, child labour and child marriage. When she heard that one of her students was being forced into marriage, she was able to talk to the girl’s family and successfully change their mind.
Turkey’s Ministry of National Education and UNICEF launched the Accelerated Learning Programme in 2018 providing a second chance to refugee children aged 10-18 years old who have been out of school for some time and are not yet ready to participate in formal education alongside other children in their own age group.
“We try to get the children to inquire and discover on their own.”
When schools closed in Uganda, school teacher Irene Nyangoma saw some of the challenges parents were facing in keeping children learning. She thought that seeing teachers on a television screen might help them stay engaged and helped launch a TV show to help her students learn.
UNICEF is supporting the training of teachers on COVID-19 in preparation for the reopening of schools in the country. Together with other partners, we continue to support efforts to prepare teachers and students to return to school.
Every child has the right to an education. Help support their right to attend school, learn in person and build important socialization skills. Send a letter to the Government of Canada, telling them teachers – in Canada and around the world – must be prioritized for COVID-19 vaccines. Send your letter now.