The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation has disclosed that 60.2 million teachers and 1.37 billion students are out of classroom worldwide. This number means that more than three out of four children and youth worldwide are no longer in the classroom due to the coronavirus outbreak .
According to the statement issued by UNESCO, school closures globally have affected nearly eighty percent of the world’s student population.
The statement stated that an ad hoc group, consisting of education ministers from Nigeria, Costa Rica, Croatia, Egypt, France, Iran, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Peru, and Senegal, has been set up to look into the matter. After which, they will come up with means to cushion the effect of the pandemic on education.
Meanwhile, the United Nations Children’s Fund has lamented that the likelihood of vulnerable children returning to school after the crisis is slim.
UNICEF Executive Director, Henrietta H. Fore, stated that,
“The COVID-19 pandemic has upended children’s lives in unprecedented ways. Hundreds of millions of children will have to spend weeks and months away from their classrooms.”
“We know from experience that the longer vulnerable children stay away from school, the less likely they are to return. It is critical to give them alternative ways to learn and rebuild a routine. If we act now, we can take the necessary steps to safeguard their future while protecting them at the moment,” she added.
She announced that the Global Partnership for Education had made an $8.8 million contribution to UNICEF. She added that it would help children and young people in 87 developing countries access learning opportunities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Fore also disclosed that UNICEF would provide $4 million of resources to reach an additional 58 countries. She also explained that these funds would support children’s many needs. This included preparing alternative learning programmes, providing vital information on handwashing, counselling to support their mental health, prevention of stigma and discrimination, amongst others.
“Governments in 87 eligible countries will start receiving education funds from 30th of March, 2020 to support education systems’ response to COVID-19.
The funds will help scale up response planning, communication around safe school operations and sharing knowledge and building capacity,” she concluded.