UNICEF labels pandemic school closings a 'catastrophic education emergency' | Eurasia Diary - ednews.net

21 April, Wednesday

UNICEF labels pandemic school closings a 'catastrophic education emergency'

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The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is calling school closings during the COVID-19 pandemic a “catastrophic education emergency,” as schools around the world have shut down for almost a year. 
Schools that teach more than 168 million children have remained “completely closed” since the pandemic first struck last year, with about one in seven children, or 214 million, missing out on more than three-quarters of in-person learning, according to UNICEF analysis.   
UNICEF’s data determined that 14 countries, mostly in Latin America and the Caribbean, have had their schools stay “largely closed” between March 2020 and February 2021.
“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,” UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore said in a statement. “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.”
“We cannot afford to move into year two of limited or even no in-school learning for these children,” she continued. “No effort should be spared to keep schools open, or prioritise them in reopening plans.”
In recognition of the millions of schoolchildren missing in-person instruction, UNICEF created a model classroom of 168 empty desks with each one standing for 1 million children who live in countries where schools have mostly stayed closed. 
Fore said the “Pandemic Classroom” also includes an empty backpack hung behind each empty desk. 


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