UN proposes distance learning as 290 million children in 22 countries are kept away from school due to Coronavirus

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UN proposes distance learning as 290 million children in 22 countries are kept away from school due to Coronavirus
Students wear masks as prevention against coronavirus during school assembly, in Jammu.Photo)(

  • All the primary schools in Delhi — both government-aided and private — have been closed down until March 31 as a precautionary measure.
  • Globally, as many as 290 million school kids are suffering due to suspension of classes. And an additional 180 million may miss out on school, if the closures go nationwide.
  • Given that, the UN agency is now formulating solutions for inclusive distance learning programmes. It is considering open educational applications and platforms for schools and teachers to reach learners remotely.
India’s national capital Delhi has been dealing with unexpected school closures for a long time now. First, in the wake of protests and now the outbreak of coronavirus — which has cost over 3,000 lives across the world — has left its students confined to homes.

All the primary schools in Delhi — both government-aided and private — have been closed down until March 31 as a precautionary measure. In Delhi, there have been 30 confirmed cases, while 23 more have shown positive in the first test.

UN proposes distance learning as 290 million children in 22 countries are kept away from school due to Coronavirus
School students wear mask to mitigate the spread of coronavirus as they arrive to appear for an examination, in Agra.Photo)(

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On Friday (March 6), an Australian high school shut its doors after a 16-year-old student tested positive for the COVID-19.

"Our first concern is for the health of the school's students, and it was decided that until we learned more about this specific case, the school should be closed as a precaution," said New South Wales (NSW) State Premier Gladys Berejiklian.

Across the world, as many as 290 million school kids are suffering due to suspension of classes. And, it could prevent an additional 180 million children from attending school, if the countries implement nationwide closures.

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Students are not attending schools in South Korea, Iran, Japan, France, Pakistan and others.

UN proposes distance learning as 290 million children in 22 countries are kept away from school due to Coronavirus
A student and school staff leave after the government announced a 14-day closure as they found a 8-year old student was infected with coronavirus, at Phraharuthai Donmuang School in Bangkok, Thailand February 26, 2020. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun

It was only two weeks ago that China — which was first hit by the novel coronavirus — was implementing school closures. According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), 22 countries have shut down their schools so far to control the spread of coronavirus.

“Thirteen countries have shut schools nationwide, impacting 290.5 million children and youth who would normally attend pre-primary to upper-secondary classes. A further nine countries have implemented localized school closures to prevent or contain COVID-19,” UNESCO release said.
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“While temporary school closures as a result of health and other crises are not new unfortunately, the global scale and speed of the current educational disruption is unparalleled and, if prolonged, could threaten the right to education,” said Audrey Azoulay, UNESCO Director-General.

Given that, the UN agency is now formulating solutions for inclusive distance learning programmes. It is considering open educational applications and platforms for schools and teachers to reach learners remotely. An emergency meeting of all the education ministers will take place on March 10 to strategize the learning process and ensure inclusion and equality.

UN proposes distance learning as 290 million children in 22 countries are kept away from school due to Coronavirus
Students show a theatrical performance about coronavirus in Solo, Central Java, Indonesia, February 6, 2020 in this photo taken by Antara Foto. ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. MANDATORY CREDIT. INDONESIA OUT.

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“We are working with countries to assure the continuity of learning for all, especially disadvantaged children and youth who tend to be the hardest hit by school closures,” Azoulay added.

This explains how deeply the pandemic has gotten into the routine work of people. Offices have been evacuated and employees are now asked to work from home.

The virus has already affected people in over 75 countries and is showing no signs of slowing down — triggering fears of large-scale unemployment as trade and travel have also to come a grinding halt.

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See also:
Coronavirus: Infected cases rise to 30, Delhi shuts primary schools and Mumbai isolates 9 suspects

Coronavirus panic grips India, face mask prices surge by twenty times, hand sanitizers go out of stock on Amazon

Coronavirus myths and facts: here are 10 rumours about COVID-19 that aren’t true
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