Over 168 million children miss nearly a year of schooling, UNICEF says

UNICEF’s ‘Pandemic Classroom’ at the UN Headquarters in New York. Each empty desk and chair represents the million children living in countries where schools have been almost entirely closed.
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(United Nations News) More than 168 million schoolchildren globally missed out on learning in class, as schools in some 14 countries remained largely shut for almost an entire year due to coronavirus-related lockdowns, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) reported on Wednesday. 

“As we approach the one-year mark of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are again reminded of the catastrophic education emergency worldwide lockdowns have created”, Henrietta Fore, UNICEF Executive Director, said in a news release, announcing the agency’s findings. 

“With every day that goes by, children unable to access in-person schooling fall further and further behind, with the most marginalized paying the heaviest price”, she added. 

According to UNICEF, nine of the 14 countries, where schools remained mostly closed between March 2020 to February 2021, are in the Latin American and Caribbean region, affecting nearly 100 million students. Of these countries, Panama kept schools closed for the most days, followed by El Salvador, Bangladesh, and Bolivia. 

In addition, around 214 million children – one in seven pupils globally – missed more than three-quarters of their in-person learning, while over 888 million continue to face disruptions to their education due to full and partial school closures, according to UN data. 

Read more at: United Nations News

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