One in three Romanian secondary students have fallen behind in school in the last two years of pandemic restrictions, while the participation rate in early education has dropped, reveals a survey conducted in February by Save the Children Romania; given this situation, the organization is expanding its summer remedial education program for vulnerable children and opens summer kindergartens for the 25th straight year.
31 percent of middle and high school students report that two years of pandemic restrictions have left them lagging behind in school, and the gaps are wider in the case of vulnerable children, Save the Children Romania representatives caution in a statement released on Tuesday.
At the beginning of 2021, over 15 percent of the children who had turned 5 were not enrolled in kindergarten, although most of them were about to begin school in the autumn of the same year. Like most negative phenomena in the field of education, non-participation in pre-school education particularly affects children in rural areas, as the enrollment rate in pre-school education at the age of 5 is 87.8 percent in urban areas, compared to only 80.9 percent in rural areas.
Individuals with middle school as the highest completed education level account for 15.6 percent of Romania's youth aged 18 to 24, although in 2010 Romania set itself as a target reducing this percentage to 11.3 by the end of 2020.
Online schooling has exacerbated social disparities: as many as 286,150 children ages 7 to 17 were out of school as of January 1, 2021. There were 35,259 dropouts in the 2019/2020 school year, of whom 20,878 from primary and middle school and 14,381 from high school. Regarding the results in national exams, there were three times more scores below pass grade in rural areas compared to urban schools.
Save the Children representatives will carry out summer activities for 2,500 children, of whom 385 preschoolers and 2,115 students from Bucharest and the counties of Arges, Brasov, Caras-Severin, Constanta, Cluj, Dambovita, Dolj, Galati, Hunedoara, Iasi, Ilfov, Mures, Neamt, Olt, Suceava, Timis, Tulcea, Vaslui, Valcea and Vrancea. In Bucharest and the counties of Brasov, Constanta, Galati, Iasi, Mures, Suceava, Timisoara and Tulcea educational and socialization activities will also see the participation of children from Ukraine.
Also, Save the Children organizes this summer 20 camps for over 700 children from Romania and Ukraine.