Globally 1 in 3 children missed out on remote learning during school closures: UNICEF

Globally 1 in 3 children missed out on remote learning during school closures: UNICEF
For at least 463 million children whose schools closed because of COVID-19, “there is no such a thing as remote learning,” the top of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said on Thursday.

UNICEF  launched a new report outlining the limitations of remote learning and exposing the deep inequalities in access.  

“The sheer number of children whose education was completely disrupted for months at a time is a worldwide education emergency. The repercussions could possibly be felt in economies and societies for decades to come,” said Henrietta Fore, UNICEF Executive Director, in a news release announcing the findings. 

At the height of nationwide and local lockdowns, practically 1.5 billion schoolchildren were influenced by school closures. 

‘Competing factors’ impact learning The report - predicated on a globally representative analysis on the availability of home-based remote learning technology and tools for children from pre-primary to upper-secondary levels - also discovered that even though children had the required platforms, they might not exactly have the ability to learn remotely due to competing factors in the home. 

The competing factors, UNICEF said, could include pressure to do chores, having to work, an unhealthy environment for learning, and lack of support in using the online or broadcast curriculum. 

The report used data from 100 countries, including usage of television, radio and internet, and the option of curriculum delivered across these platforms during school closures. 

Stark inequality within countries 

The report highlighted stark inequalities across regions and within countries. Schoolchildren in sub-Saharan Africa were the worst affected, with half of most students not reached with remote learning. 

Schoolchildren from the poorest households and the ones residing in rural areas are also at risky of really missing out during closures.  

Globally, 72 % of schoolchildren unable to access remote learning reside in their countries’ poorest households. In upper-middle-income countries, schoolchildren from the poorest households take into account up to 86 per cent of students struggling to access remote learning.  

Age groups also had a direct effect, with the youngest students probably to lose out on remote learning throughout their most significant years of learning and development. 

Addressing the challenges 

To respond, governments should prioritize the safe re-opening of schools if they start easing lockdown restrictions, UNICEF urged, along with urgent investment to bridge the digital divide. 

“When reopening is not possible, [we] urge governments to include compensatory learning for lost instructional time into school continuity and reopening plans,” added the UN agency, explaining that school opening policies and practices must include expanding usage of education, including remote learning, specifically for marginalized groups.   
Tags :
Share This News On: