By Sumur Tsehaye
The prolonged war in northern Ethiopia, spanning over two years, has inflicted immeasurable suffering on innocent civilians, including women and children.
A recent study conducted by the Luminos Fund on the consequences of the conflict expressed grave concerns following its research findings.
It underlined the impact, particularly on students in Tigray, has emerged as a distressing concern and projected a recovery period spanning years to mend the grave educational setbacks they face.
The non-governmental organization claims to have found an alarming 75% of second to fourth-grade students in Tigray have forgotten essential knowledge, including basic reading skills.
“This significant loss of education paints a dire picture of the educational crisis plaguing the region,” Luminos stated.
Luminos researchers assessed students’ abilities in crucial areas such as reading, spelling, reading comprehension, English, and mathematics.
“The results unequivocally demonstrate the magnitude of the educational loss suffered by Tigray’s students, further exacerbating the challenges they already face due to the conflict,” it added.
Beyond the academic repercussions, the study also shed light on the severe psychological pressure experienced by the children of Tigray during the ongoing war.
“The cumulative effects of the conflict have inflicted deep emotional wounds, leaving a lasting impact on their well-being and development,” Luminos stressed.
Alemayehu Hailu, the Ethiopia Country Director of the Luminos Fund, further confirmed that the war had affected not only students but also teachers and parents in Tigray, describing the impact as “shocking.”
Alemayehu substantiated that the research was conducted according to internationally recognized measures of trauma and expressed concerns following the results.
“Statistics from the study conducted by the Luminos Fund indicate that 7% of students, 9% of teachers, and 11% of parents in the sampled population have suffered gunshot wounds,” Alemayehu underscored.
The study’s findings acknowledged the horrors witnessed by Tigray’s children and disclosed that a staggering 40% of the children in Tigray have witnessed incidents of sexual violence, including rape.
It also proclaimed that several children in Tigray were exposed to gruesome scenes of mass killings, threats with weapons, and were even coerced into carrying the wounded and deceased.
“They were also forced to flee following the destruction of their homes by heavy artillery” Alemayehu added.
Furthermore, the director called on all stakeholders to prioritize the need for a trauma healing program.
“We cannot start from scratch as if nothing happened. The education office can’t let the children enter classes and teach them on the blackboard as if nothing happened. It is important to treat the children first.”
The Ethiopian civil war, which broke out in November 2020, has claimed the lives of over a million civilians and forced the displacement of hundreds of thousands from their homes.
(The East African Daily)