The United Nations has urged governments to reopen all schools that were closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. James Elder, a spokesperson for the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said “this can’t go on,” noting that school closures due to the pandemic have jeopardised the education of over 600 million students.
Elder said, “It’s a terrible mistake that some countries haven’t restored schools despite reopening bars and restaurants”. He further added that schools could not wait for all teachers and students to get vaccinated to reopen, and urged governments to safeguard their education budgets. Despite the fact that governments all over the world have been forced to make difficult decisions in the aftermath of the pandemic, he believes schools should be the last to close and the first to reopen.
40% of students in East and South Africa are currently out of school
According to government statistics, nearly 40% of students in Eastern and Southern Africa are currently out of school. More than 32 million students are approximately out of school across the region due to Covid-related concerns. Many are failing to return to classes even after schools reopened. That comes on top of the 37 million students who were out of school before Covid-19 struck.
Almost half of Asia and the Pacific countries closed their schools for more than 200 days during the outbreak. According to Elder, schools are closed or partially shuttered in 18 nations and territories in South America and the Caribbean. He said that education, safety, friends, and food have been replaced with worry, violence, and adolescent pregnancy all around the world.
Pandemic will cost $10 trillion loss in income for the current generation
A third of students around the world, according to UNICEF, do not have access to remote learning. 80 million children in Southeast Asia and the Pacific had no access to distance learning while their schools were closed. Only 0.3% of Ugandan households have internet connectivity, and schools have been closed for 306 days. Elder cited a World Bank report estimates that the pandemic will cost nearly $10 trillion in income loss for the current generation of students.