According to an updated data analysis provided today by UNICEF, schools for over 77 million pupils in six countries are still almost fully closed 18 months after the COVID-19 outbreak began.
Bangladesh, the Philippines, and Panama are among the countries that have kept schools closed the longest, according to the study. In 11 nations, an estimated 131 million pupils have missed more than three-quarters of their in-person learning. Around 27% of countries around the world still have schools that are closed entirely or partially.
UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore remarked, “As classes begin in many countries throughout the world, millions of students are entering their third academic year without having set foot in a classroom.” “It’s possible that the losses pupils suffer as a result of not attending school will never be recouped.”
UNICEF and allies will shut down their digital channels for 18 hours today at 13.00 GMT to draw attention to the 18 months of missed learning, unrealized potential, and uncertain future, and to urge governments to restore schools as soon as possible.
Children are facing a shadow crisis as a result of school closures. Many children are losing out on school-based meals and basic immunizations, as well as facing social isolation and heightened anxiety, as well as being subjected to abuse and violence. School closures have resulted in dropouts, child labor, and child marriage for certain students. Many parents have found it difficult to continue working while juggling their children’s needs for care and education. Some people have completely lost their jobs, plunging their families into poverty and exacerbating the economic catastrophe.
Even within towns and school districts, access to technology and the quality of the curriculum has been inconsistent, despite the fact that remote learning has been a lifeline for millions of pupils.