UNICEF: Almost Half of the Youth in Bulgaria do not have Basic Skills for Secondary EducationEducation | July 21, 2022, Thursday // 12:32| views
Almost three-quarters of young people aged between 15 and 24 in the 92 countries for which data are available fail to acquire the skills they need for work. This is according to data from a new report published on July 13 by the Commission for Education and UNICEF and supported by the global initiative "Generation Unlimited". The report, titled: "Recovering Learning: Are children and youth on track in skills development?", includes analyzes of skill development in early childhood as well as among elementary school-aged children and youth.
In Bulgaria, nearly half (47.9%) of young people between the ages of 15 and 24, or 315,149, do not have the basic skills they need for secondary education. This is shown by data from the international assessment PISA and TIMSS and calculations for children who are not in school. And 44.5% of the same age group, or 292,287, do not have the increasingly necessary digital skills in today's world, according to UNICEF.
"Digital skills" refers to the ability to understand and use technology and is measured by the proportion of young people who can perform basic activities on a computer, for example: copy or move a file or folder, copy and paste functions to duplicate or move of information in a document, sending emails with attachments and transferring files between devices
Basic literacy and numeracy; soft skills, including life skills and social-emotional skills; the digital skills that enable people to use and understand technology; occupation-specific skills that support the transition to employment; and entrepreneurial skills are essential to children's prosperity.
These skills are also critical to the development of societies and economies.
Due to the large number of young people not attending school and the low level of acquisition of basic skills, countries around the world are facing a crisis, with the majority of young people not being prepared to be part of today's workforce, the report further notes.
According to Eurostat data (2021), 14% of young people in Bulgaria are outside the employment, education or training systems. And 120,000 school-aged children are at risk of dropping out of the education system - according to a 2021 study by the Ministry of Education and Culture.
"UNICEF will support the Ministry of Education and Science over the next 5 years so that they increase access to better quality education and early learning for every child and introduce more successful mechanisms to prevent dropping out of school. The focus of the work in our new program will be on projects and initiatives through which young people, including the most vulnerable, can develop the skills they need for the future, which will allow them to be involved in public and economic life," said Maria Yankova, Program Director "Education" at UNICEF in Bulgaria.
UNICEF and the Commission on Education are calling on governments to provide every child with a quality education and remove the barriers that put them at risk of dropping out. Children's level of knowledge and skills should be assessed and appropriate additional hours should be provided to help them get up to speed with the knowledge and skills they need for life and work.
"To give young people the best chance to succeed and recover from learning losses due to the pandemic, we need to support them holistically. But we can't recover what we don't measure. We need to know where children are and young people in building the range of skills they need and to monitor their progress. That’s why the Commission for Education, UNICEF and partners are working to close the evidence gap, including launching the World Skills Clock to help tracking progress and raising awareness of skills acquisition by young people around the world. Only then will we be able to direct urgent action to prepare this generation for future prosperity," said Education Commission Executive Director Lisbeth Steer.
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