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Montevideo, November 25th 2020 - 02:25 UTC

 

 

Covid-19: UNICEF calls for opening schools and “averting lost generations”

Friday, November 20th 2020 - 08:40 UTC
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“Evidence shows that the net benefits of keeping schools open outweigh the costs of closing them,” reads a new UNICEF report “Evidence shows that the net benefits of keeping schools open outweigh the costs of closing them,” reads a new UNICEF report

The United Nations agency responsible for aiding children is warning that the costs of coronavirus-related school closures out-weight the benefits, and that the pandemic poses substantial threats to children and their countries' long-term well-being.

“Evidence shows that the net benefits of keeping schools open outweigh the costs of closing them,” reads a new UNICEF report titled “Averting a Lost Generation.” “Data from 191 countries show no consistent association between school reopening status and COVID-19 infection rates,” it adds.

Released on Thursday, the report casts doubt on government leaders' rationale for closing schools amid a surge in cases, and highlights the pandemic's economic and health consequences for children.

“Other consequences, such as a year of interrupted school with little learning or getting a virus without suffering severe symptoms may not seem all that serious against the backdrop of this global pandemic,” reads the report.

“But these experiences reverberate into the future of every child who goes through them. And there are more hidden impacts – loss of future employment potential, rising violence, increased poverty, mental health issues and COVID-related long-term morbidity for children who are malnourished or already vulnerable.”

While UNICEF acknowledges that children with co-morbidities may be “especially vulnerable” to the virus, it adds: “Greater threats to children’s health, however, are caused by the disruptions in critical services that protect and support children and young people caused by efforts to contain the virus.”

It's unclear how much school closings contributed to some of the outcomes mentioned in the report. However, it argues that the pandemic overall has deepened “poverty across every dimension of a child’s life, including health, education, nutrition, housing, water and sanitation.”

“Approximately 150 million additional children are living in multidimensional poverty. This represents a roughly 15 per cent increase compared to pre-pandemic levels,” it notes.

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  • MarkWhelan

    I see that UNICEF has not actually kept up with the computer and internet age. Many countries actually moved to online education to reduce the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic.
    What will be happening is not what UNICEF seems to be implying. Children will not stop their education at the pre 2020 level but will in fact progress at a level which will start at a new, lower to begin with, level. With changes in education and relevance of subjects being looked into and altered to meet the new need we can finish up with a better education system than what is available now. The idea of moving students up one level at the end of each school year regardless of their level of understanding needs to stop. Children need to only move up to the next level when their comprehension of the subjects validates the change. This is the fundamental change necessary to enhance our education system. The biggest block to implementing the change is that governments have not provided or considered the need to provide additional classrooms to hold the equivalent to one more age group.

    Posted 4 days ago 0
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