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11 million girls may never get back to school due to Covid-19- UNESCO

UNESCO Director-General, Audrey Azoulay, has said that due to Covid-19 some school-going children have been reported missing while an estimated 11 million girls may never get back to school.

A new alarming statistic from UNICEF shows that at least 24 million schoolchildren are expected to drop out of school due to Covid-19.

The Organisation has said it is now urging governments to prioritize re-opening of schools and lift restrictions.

UNICEF’s Executive Director, Henrietta Fore, has also said that one in four countries has not put a date in place for allowing school children back in classrooms.

“We know that closing schools for a prolonged time will have devastating consequences to children that become more exposed to physical and emotional violence. Their mental health is affected, they are more vulnerable to child labour, sexual abuse and are less likely to break off a cycle of poverty.

For the most marginalized, missing out on school even only for a few weeks can lead to negative outcomes that can last for a lifetime. We know that beyond learning, schools provide children with vital health, immunization and nutrition services as well as safe and supportive environments. These services are put on hold when schools are put on hold,” said Fore.

This comes out of a survey of 158 countries about their school re-opening plans.

“At the height of Covid-19, schools closed their doors in 192 countries, sending 1.6bilion students home. Almost nine months since the coronavirus upgrade started, 872 million students or half the world’s student population in 51 countries are still unable to get back to their classrooms.

Millions of these students were fortunate enough to learn remotely online, through radio, through television, broadcast or through the internet. UNICEF data shows that for at least 463 million children whose schools closed during Covid-19 there was no such thing as remote learning,” she said.

This is because one-third of the globe’s schoolchildren were unable to access remote learning when Covid-19 shut their schools as well as failure to have access to the internet.

Fore added that the number of children whose education was completely disrupted for months is nothing short of a global education emergency.

Julia Heita

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