The COVID-19 pandemic creates a series of disasters that make each of us rethink the meaning of humanity. Efforts to control the spread of the disease require a great deal of sacrifice.
We see healthcare workers and others on the first line throwing themselves at great risk, without hesitation, to protect us all. The decision to close schools is a major commitment: 87% of all students in the world – over one and a half billion – are now unable to attend class due to the closure of schools in 165 countries.
As is always the case with human nature, when we are deprived of anything, the value is obvious. Education is more than just classroom learning. For millions of children and young people, schools are a way of opportunity and a safe haven. Episodes provide protection – or at least delayed – from violence, exploitation and other dangerous situations. In the U.S, some 22 million children depend on school for everyday food that stands between them and starvation. In low-income countries, closing schools are more likely to be disruptive and ruin the lives of children forever.
As the schools close more than a few weeks, the number of marriages increases, young children are taken into the military, mistreatment of girls and boys, child molestation, and child prostitution. The statement is also true: Education improves not only the quality of one’s life, but also the well-being and prosperity of communities as a whole.
The odds will only grow as the days turn into weeks, weeks to months. We see this in most of the world’s population of refugees. How many of the five refugees were in a migrant situation that lasted 20 years or more – more than the length of their child’s studies.
Without first aid, some children left without going to school worldwide as a result of coronavirus would never be able to set foot in class. We must look for ways that we can try to ensure the continued growth of educational opportunities for young people around the world, as well as recognize the challenges.
Today, UNESCO is launching a new Globalasa Education Association International to promote innovative solutions. We urge international organizations, civil society and the private sector who are committed to the management of their services to stay together.
The goal is to discover and share the best of the latest in continuing education for children during disasters, and to help lay the groundwork for further education and equality in the face of crisis.
The biggest response to closing schools is to dive into distance learning online. For the core of students, school suddenly comes into the home, and parents, siblings, guardians, relatives and close friends find themselves in a teacher role, along with student teachers. Many parents, who are now working from home, are also trying to balance work requirements with being a full-time teacher. These skills remind us of the value of the work of our everyday teachers, many of whom have little value or are often criticized.
International monitoring of school closure through COVID-19
However, not all youths are given the same opportunities for learning. Many households, especially in low-income countries, lack the capacity, technical resources and financial resources to conduct distance learning at scale. Not all existing curricula are assumed to be taught very far. And the ability of parents to devote time and resources to facilitate learning at home varies between and among countries. These are rigid hedges.
Global Collaboration will strive to find resources and skills development, as well as free technology solutions and digital tools for those in need. We must speed up our sharing of skills, and help those who are weaker, whether they have an internet connection or not. The steps can be as useful as a national cloud platform, or as simple as radio programs and mobile applications that allow online access – using a combination of technology and methods al. um, according to local conditions.
Disadvantaged and underprivileged children – including young girls, poor, disabled and displaced students – must be a priority. Children are often illiterate or have a decline in their health and nutrition and learning development. And they will not be able to return to schools when these institutions reopen. The education sector should be protected from future decisions.
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Noviruses are already happening because of the closure of schools. Peru offers television and radio instructional materials, which are translated into 10 original languages, to help students deal with the transaction. In Senegal, the Ministry of Education has launched the Apprendre à la maison (learning from home). In the process of recent years, such as UNESCO’s Passport for Refugees and Refugees were introduced to help displaced persons qualify for benefits. These are some new things we can improve on.
But this time it was about more than just short steps to reduce tension and save lives. The COVID-19 crisis is a wake-up call to the world, including the United Nations. Even before the outbreak, 258 million children and adolescents were out of school in the world. There are so many missed opportunities before. This is a time for rethinking the future of education, and the change that can be achieved through access to education in general.
Today we must rise to the unimaginable challenge of providing education without schools. But we also have the opportunity to revive the knowledge about the future. We must seize her.
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