COVID-19: Over 463m school children lack access to remote learning — UNICEF

COVID-19: Over 463m school children lack access to remote learning — UNICEF

COVID-19: Over 463m school children lack access to remote learning — UNICEF

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The United Nations in a new report says over 463 million school children worldwide lack access to remote learning, following school closures due to COVID-19.

This represents nearly a third of the world’s 1.5 billion school children  affected by the closures, according to the report released by the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) on Thursday.

UNICEF said the situation was mainly due to lack of remote learning policies or lack of equipment needed for learning at home.

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The report highlights significant inequality in access to remote learning across regions, with school children in sub-Saharan Africa the most affected.

According to UNICEF,  half of all students in sub-Sahara Africa cannot be reached with remote learning.

It said the study examined the availability of home-based technology and tools needed for remote learning among pre-primary, primary, junior and senior secondary school children, with data from 100 countries.

Data included access to television, radio and internet, and the availability of curriculum delivered across these platforms during school closures, according to the agency.

“Students in rural areas consistently represent the vast majority of those who cannot be reached by any of the three remote learning modalities analysed.

“This is irrespective of the country’s level of economic development.

“Overall, three out of four students, who cannot be reached live in rural areas, but in lower-income countries the percentage is even higher.

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“In addition, students from the poorest 40 per cent of families account for a disproportionately high percentage of those who cannot be reached.

“In low-income countries, they represent 47 per cent of those who cannot be reached, while in middle-income  countries they constitute 74 to 86 per cent of those who cannot be reached.

“Boys and girls were almost evenly represented among students who cannot be reached,” UNICEF said in a factsheet on the report.

It said the actual number of students left behind was likely significantly higher than estimated in the report, “which reflects best-case scenarios based on policies that were implemented and the technologies available in households.

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