With Coronavirus gripping almost all the countries, one in five children worldwide is staying away from school and an additional one in four students is kept out of higher education establishments.
The deadly virus has affected about 363 million students from the pre-primary to tertiary level, according to UNESCO. The world body also said that 57.8 million students in higher education were also affected.
About 15 countries have issued orders to shut down educational institutions and 14 countries have ordered localized closures. UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay said that they were coordinating with the countries to find solutions to ensure that the children continue their studies. She also said that international cooperation was vital in this respect.
UNESCO has already announced the creation of UNESCO-COVID19 Emergency Task Force for supporting countries. The organisation said that they were establishing a wider community of practice to enhance knowledge sharing, capacity building and peer learning on distance and open learning. Microsoft has already extended technical support, the UNESCO said.
As part of the initiative, UNESCO held a video conference with majority of the countries. They exchanged their views to ensure continuity of learning. China, Egypt, Nigeria, Croatia, France, Lebanon, the Republic of Korea, Italy, Mexico, the Islamic Republic of Iran and Japan participated in the conference,
UNESCO has also published a list of freely accessible learning applications and platforms for teachers, parents and learners. UNESCO’s Assistant Director General for Education Stefania Giannini said that the world was facing an unusual situation. Stefania Giannini stressed the need to join together to address the immediate educational consequences and build up the longer-term resilience of education systems.