UNICEF : 200 mn children live in countries unprepared to deploy remote learning in future

Insight Online News

New York, Oct 28 : At least 200 million school children are living in 31 low- and middle-income countries that remain unprepared to deploy remote learning in future emergency school closures, said United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) on Thursday.

According to a newly released report, among 200 million school children 102 million live in 14 countries that have kept their schools fully or partially closed for at least half of the COVID-19 pandemic – locking many schoolchildren out of any kind of education.

“Even in the midst of an ongoing emergency, we know there will be another one, but we aren’t making enough progress to ensure the next time students are forced out of the classroom, they have better options,” said Henrietta Fore, UNICEF Executive Director.

Fore said, “While disruptive, the past 19 months have given us a glimpse of what is possible during and after the pandemic. Together with partners, we have been hard at work to leverage the power of technology and to provide learning opportunities for children and young people everywhere.”

The list of countries included in the list are Benin, Burundi, Cote d’Ivoire, Congo, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Malawi, Niger and Togo.

Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, the impact of lack of remote learning readiness was mostly felt by students in countries where schools were fully or partially closed for at least half of the past 19 months, such as Congo and Madagascar.

The other important findings in the report include, “Of 67 countries assessed, 31 countries are not ready to provide remote learning at all levels of education, with schoolchildren in West and Central Africa most affected; 17 countries have average readiness;19 countries have above average readiness.”

It also said pre-primary education is the most neglected level of education as many countries not deploying a corresponding policy during COVID-19 lockdowns, thus, leaving behind the youngest learners during their most critical years of development.

“Other crises, such as those caused by climate change, can also significantly impact access to education. Of the 31 countries, 23 countries also face high or extremely high exposure to climate and environmental shocks, putting 196 million schoolchildren at greater risk of school disruptions in emergencies,” the report added.


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