The Luminos Fund commissioned an independent study to examine learning loss, trauma, and resilience among primary-school-aged children in Tigray, a region in northern Ethiopia, in the wake of COVID-19 school closures and two years of civil war.
The study, led by Dr. Belay Hagos from the Institute for Education, Health, and Development (IEHD) in collaboration with a team of researchers from Mekelle University, surveyed 600 internally displaced children who were enrolled in Grades 2, 3, and 4 at the time of school closures in 2020. It also included 450 parents and 400 teachers. Due to ongoing security concerns in various parts of Tigray, participants were selected from temporary shelters located in and around Mekelle.
The following findings are deeply alarming, indicating that children have experienced significant learning loss, and there is evidence of substantial psychological trauma affecting children, parents, and teachers. Our latest report, “Examining Levels of Learning Loss, Trauma, and Resilience in Children, Parents, and Teachers in Tigray, Ethiopia,” summarizes the findings of this independent study.
“The findings of our study are a stark reminder of the devastating toll that war takes on children. It’s not just the physical destruction and loss of life – it’s the psychological trauma.”
Dr. Belay Hagos Hailu, Associate Professor of Education and Director of the Institute of Educational Research, Addis Ababa University
Over the past two years, the war between the Ethiopian government and the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) devastated the education of millions of children in Ethiopia. The conflict affected over 20 million people, closed over 7,000 schools, and shut almost 1.5 million children out of school. The World Health Organization’s Director-General, Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus, referred to the war as “the worst humanitarian crisis in the world.” It came directly on the heels of earlier school closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
After the Ethiopian government and TPLF announced a peace agreement, Luminos moved to re-establish our education program in Tigray, in partnership with communities and government. In early 2023, Luminos commissioned this study to inform a variation of our core program model that is customized to the unique needs of children in Tigray.
Based on the comprehensive findings of this study, several key recommendations emerge:
- Provide comprehensive psychosocial support services for children, their families, and teachers to address the emotional and psychological needs resulting from the crisis.
- Implement an accelerated learning model that targets missed or disrupted learning and embeds Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) approaches, offering tailored interventions to facilitate catch-up and bridge the learning gap.
- Create and maintain conditions that encourage and support children’s continued attendance and engagement in learning, addressing potential barriers to ensure their sustained participation.
- Prioritize collaboration between relevant stakeholders, including educators, parents, community-based organizations, and policymakers, to collectively address the challenges and develop effective strategies for educational recovery.
By implementing these recommendations, it is possible to address the critical needs identified in the study and work towards mitigating the impact of the pandemic and war on children’s education and well-being.
To read the full report summary, including further data on learning loss, trauma, and resilience, and a more detailed overview of the evaluation and methods used, click here. The full independent study is available upon request.
Luminos is mobilizing support and making urgent plans to relaunch our accelerated education program in Tigray in autumn 2023. To learn more, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.