Crisis in education divisive and deepening: UNICEF

Stating that access to technology and materials for continuing the learning process while schools are closed is desperately unequal, the UNICEF said that the world was in a critical position to provide every child the needed education.

“Providing a range of learning tools and accelerating access to the internet for every school and every child is critical” UNICEF Chief of Education Robert Jenkins said. Pointing out that a learning crisis already existed before the coronavirus pandemic, he said that the crisis was even more divisive and deepening.

The UNICEF said that less than half the population has internet access in 71 countries. However, it said that about three-quarters of the governments in 127 countries were using online platforms to provide education at the time of the pandemic. They mainly use television. It said more than 90 per cent of countries in Central Asia and Europe use the medium. It also said that this was cent per cent in South American. Latin America and Caribbean figures stood at 77 per cent, the UNICEF said.

With respect to TV, the UNICEF said that children in urban areas are twice more likely to have a TV than their rural counterparts in 40 of the 88 countries with data. It pointed out that that the largest disparity was found in sub-Saharan Africa. Here only one in 100 homes in rural Chad has a television, compared to 1 in 3 in cities.

Apart from TV, the governments in some countries are also using radio as means of educating the children.

The UNICEF said that several countries were adapting to new education methods.  It said that Governments in West and Central Africa were working with local service providers to deliver education for primary and secondary school children through online, radio, TV and paper-based approaches. The UN Agency said that offline recorded lessons are uploaded onto solar-powered tablets in Somalia. Video lessons are also shared through social media such as facebook and WhatsApp, it said.




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