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UNICEF: 168 million kids missed a year of class learning
Based on UN data, 214 million children one in seven pupils globally missed more than three-quarters of their in-person learning, while over 888 million continue to face disruptions to their education due to full and partial school closures.
Boy Santos, file

UNICEF: 168 million kids missed a year of class learning

Pia Lee-Brago (The Philippine Star) - March 5, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — More than 168 million schoolchildren globally missed out on learning in class as schools in some countries remained shut for almost an entire year due to coronavirus-related lockdowns, according to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

Based on UN data,  214 million children one in seven pupils globally missed more than three-quarters of their in-person learning, while over 888 million continue to face disruptions to their education due to full and partial school closures.

“As we approach the one-year mark of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are again reminded of the catastrophic education emergency worldwide lockdowns have created,” Henrietta Fore, UNICEF executive director, said on Wednesday.

“With every day that goes by, children unable to access in-person schooling fall further and further behind, with the most marginalized paying the heaviest price,”she said.

The UN children’s agency said school closures have devastating consequences for children’s learning and wellbeing. The most vulnerable children and those unable to access remote learning are hit even harder, as they are at an increased risk of never returning to the classroom, sometimes forced into child labor and even child marriage.

Schoolchildren globally also rely on their schools as a place to interact with peers, seek support, access health and immunization services and a nutritious meal, it said.

“The longer schools remain closed, the longer children are cut off from these critical elements of childhood,” it added.

Fore called on all nations to keep schools open or prioritize them in reopening plans where they are closed.

“We cannot afford to move into year two of limited or even no in-school learning for these children,” she said.

UNICEF also urged governments to focus on the unique needs of every student, with comprehensive services covering remedial learning, health and nutrition, and mental health and protection measures in schools.

UNICEF
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