Children can’t afford another year of school closure: UNICEF
Published 11:57 pm | January 12, 2021
Online Desk : UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore today said no effort should be spared to keep schools open or to prioritise them in reopening plans as they enter the second year of the Covid-19 pandemic with cases continuing to soar around the world, reports UNB.
“Despite overwhelming evidence of the impact of school closures on children, and despite increasing evidence that schools are not drivers of the pandemic, too many countries have opted to keep schools closed, some for nearly a year,” Fore said in a statement.
Covid-19 affected 90 percent students worldwide and left more than a third of schoolchildren with no access to remote education which has been devastating, said the UNICEF ED.
“The number of out-of-school children is set to increase by 24 million, to a level we have not seen in years and have fought so hard to overcome.”
Children’s ability to read, write and do basic math has been hampered due to the pandemic lockdown, and the skills they need to thrive in the 21st century economy have diminished, Fore further said.
“Their health, development, safety and wellbeing are at risk. The most vulnerable among them will bear the heaviest brunt,” she said.
“Without school meals, children are left hungry and their nutrition is worsening. Without daily interactions with their peers and a reduction in mobility, they are losing physical fitness and showing signs of mental distress. Without the safety net that school often provides, they are more vulnerable to abuse, child marriage and child labour,” Fore also added.
Closing schools must be a measure of last resort, after all other options have been considered, she said.
Assessing the risk of transmission at the local level should be a key determinant in decisions on school operations.
Nationwide school closures must be avoided whenever possible, she said.
“Where there are high levels of community transmission, where health systems are under extreme pressure and where closing schools is deemed inevitable, safeguarding measures must be put in place.
This includes ensuring that children who are at risk of violence in their homes, who are reliant upon school meals and whose parents are essential workers are able to continue their education in their classrooms.”
In case of lockdowns, schools must be among the first to reopen once authorities start lifting restrictions, Fore said. “Catch-up classes should be prioritised to ensure that children who have been unable to learn remotely are not left behind.”
She said if children are faced with another year of school closures, the effects will be felt for generations to come.
দৈনিক সময় সংবাদ ২৪ ডট কম সংবাদের কোনো সংবাদ, তথ্য, ছবি,আলোকচত্রি, ভিডিওচিত্র, অডিও কনটেন্ট কপিরাইট আইনে র্পূব অনুমতি ছাড়া ব্যবহার করা সর্ম্পূণ বেআইনি। সামাজিক যোগাযোগ মাধ্যমে যে কোন কমেন্সের জন্য কর্তৃপক্ষ দায়ী নয়।