"Education is Vital to Children’s Psychosocial Development"

Jan. 24, 2023

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Today, more than 48.5 million children are out of school as a result of armed conflict. Denied their right to an education, these children also come up against a range of social and mental health problems. War Child’s Can’t Wait to Learn innovation addresses this dual emergency.

The Right to Education = the Right to Mental Health

Article 28 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child states that every child has the right to a formal education. Yet, more than 48 million children worldwide are unable to enter a classroom as a result of armed conflict. What’s more, along with rising inequality, the global education gap is only getting wider.

War Child’s education programmes seek to reverse this trend with the goal of improving not only children’s academic knowledge but also their social and emotional skillsets. Our in-house team of researchers are constantly trialing and testing our methods with a growing body of evidence that supports this correlation.

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Emergency EdTech programmes are offering a solution to the global education crisis

Can't Wait to Learn Uganda children learn in classroom with War Child_190918

Our Can't Wait to Learn innovation is one key example

Photo: War Child

Innovative EdTech Programme

Take our Can’t Wait to Learn programme, for example. This emergency EdTech innovation has not only succeeded in reaching more than 85,000 children with quality education - helping them catch up and continue their learning journey; even in a war zone - research in Lebanon also shows a measurable positive impact on children’s self-esteem within a short 12-week period.

Having contextualized Can’t Wait to Learn to a number of conflict-affected countries, from Jordan to Uganda, we are currently rolling the programme out as part of our Ukraine Response.

You might remember the launch of the Can’t Wait to Learn: Ukraine application back in September? With some 29,415 children already using the app to learn maths online from temporary homes and shelters, now a new reading game has been launched.

Ukrainian Children Embrace New App

“The reading app takes the ‘game world’ to a whole new level”, says Judith Flick, Can’t Wait to Learn Programme Director. “From Andriy and Gosha; the official game-world tour guides, to Daddy Danylo and his little daughter Lesya, the faces - as well as the places - you meet along the way, were co-created with Ukrainian children themselves.”

Not only does this create a unique experience, it also helps children stay engaged with the reading tasks and progress through the lessons quickly - no matter where they are…

“To me, the app is a real saviour. The children are very excited and engaged in the game. Everybody tries to solve more tasks. Some have even completed several grades."
- Iryna, a teacher in Ukraine using Can’t Wait to Learn to continue her lessons from an underground bomb shelter.

Improving Psychosocial Wellbeing

Besides the obvious educational merits, Can’t Wait to Learn is also providing a much-needed escape from reality as well as a sense of hope and familiarity.

“One of the characters looks exactly like my classmate back home”, says nine-year old Mykola, a Ukrainian refugee living in the Netherlands with his mother. “I can’t wait to play and see if it’s really him.”

Adaptable and Scalable

Reaching displaced children though a digital application was a conscious choice by Judith and her team - and an exciting development for the programme. “Going online will not only allow us to scale much faster”, she adds. “It will also increase our adaptability to new circumstances. Together with our partners in the Ukrainian government as well as leading NGO Osvitoria, we are committed to delivering emergency education to many more children in the years to come.”

The Can’t Wait to Learn: Ukraine reading app is now available for download on iOS and Android. Are you a teacher or parent looking for more guidance on how to start using it? Visit this site. If you would like to partner with Can’t Wait to Learn in one of our countries of operation, please contact willem.nederstigt@warchild.nl