â463 million children lack access to distance learningâ
The report, released yesterday, said as countries grapple with their “back-to-school” plans, children were unable to access remote learning when COVID-19 shuttered their schools.
Miguel De Guzman
‘463 million children lack access to distance learning’
Pia Lee-Brago (The Philippine Star) - August 28, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — An estimated 463 million schoolchildren globally lack the equipment or electronic access to pursue distance learning, according to a report by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

The report, released yesterday, said as countries grapple with their “back-to-school” plans, children were unable to access remote learning when COVID-19 shuttered their schools.

“For at least 463 million children whose schools closed due to COVID-19, there was no such a thing as remote learning,” UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore said.

“The sheer number of children whose education was completely disrupted for months on end is a global education emergency. The repercussions could be felt in economies and societies for decades to come,” Fore said.

At the height of nationwide and local lockdowns, around 1.5 billion schoolchildren were affected by school closures. The report outlines the limitations of remote learning and exposes deep inequalities in access.

It uses a globally representative analysis on the availability of home-based technology and tools needed for remote learning among pre-primary, primary, lower-secondary and upper-secondary schoolchildren, with data from 100 countries.

Data include access to television, radio and internet and the availability of curriculum delivered across these platforms during school closures.

Although the numbers in the report present a concerning picture on the lack of remote learning during school closures, UNICEF warned the situation is likely far worse.

Even when children have the technology and tools at home, the UNICEF said they may not be able to learn remotely through those platforms due to competing factors in the home including pressure to do chores, being forced to work, a poor environment for learning and lack of support in using the online or broadcast curriculum.

COVID-19 SCHOOL UNICEF
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