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Over 850 million students worldwide out of school due to coronavirus: UNESCO

March 24, 2020

More than 850 million young people which is about half the world’s student population have been barred from attending their schools, colleges and universities due to the coronavirus pandemic, the UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) said in a statement.

“As of late Tuesday, over 850 million children and youth – roughly half of the world’s student population – had to stay away from schools and universities due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Nationwide closures are in force in 102 countries and local shut-downs in 11 others. This represents more than a doubling in the number of learners prevented from attending educational institutions, with further increases expected,” UNESCO said.

Calling it an “unprecedented challenge” the UN body said “Countries around the world are racing to fill the void with distance learning solutions but the uncertain duration of the closures adds further complication to their efforts. These range from hi-tech alternatives like real-time video classes conducted remotely to lower-tech options such as educational programming on radio and television.”

The organisation said it was holding regular virtual meetings with education ministers around the world to find assess priority needs. It is also launching a “Global COVID-19 Education Coalition that brings together multilateral partners and the private sector, including Microsoft and the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSMA), to help countries deploy remote learning systems so as to minimize educational disruptions and maintain social contact with learners. ”

All educational institutions in India have been shut down and are opting for online courses to complete the curriculum. Most of the schools in India will remain closed until March 31, 2020. 30 states and UTs are under complete lockdown. Nearly 500 positive COVID 19 cases have been reported till date with nine deaths.

Also read: Online classes amidst coronavirus outbreak

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