UNICEF reports that nearly 6 million school-age Syrian children and youth need education assistance. More than 7,000 schools in Syria – one in three – have been destroyed, damaged or are being used either as shelters for displaced families or for military purposes. In addition, UNICEF notes that a sense of fear and psychological distress has emerged among children, parents, teachers and community members, who are reluctant to send their children to school even when schools are operational. This climate of fear decreases the likelihood that children will return to, or stay in, school.
To address this multifaceted challenge, UNICEF developed an alternative approach to education called the “Self-Learning Program (SLP),” which enables children to learn at home, on location at NGO facilities, or in community learning centers. Using the accompanying “Self-Learning Materials” (a set of 50 modules with topics such as Arabic, English, mathematics, and science), the SLPs are positioned to give Syrian children access to a wide range of knowledge that will propel them towards brighter futures.
UNICEF is implementing the SLP in a way that is mindful of the complex environment in Syria (large populations of displaced people, widespread violence and poverty), with the goal of reaching 95,000 out-of-school children over three years, providing self-learning materials, supportive teachers, and safe and inviting learning spaces.
As always, the Foundation team is proud to partner with employees who bring such important global concerns to light, and honor their desire to help those in need. We look forward to sharing more about the impact of UNICEF’s Self-Learning Program in Syria.
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