According to research carried out by the United Nations, the lockdown imposed due to COVID-19 pandemic has led to school closures, and at least one-third of students affected globally lack access to online education. As per the UNICEF report, an estimated 463 million children lack the equipment or electronic access to pursue online learning.
463 Million Children Globally Don’t Have Access to Online Schooling: United Nations
The executive director of the UN Children’s Fund,
The sheer number of children whose education was completely disrupted for months on end is a global education emergency. The repercussions could be felt in economies and societies for decades to come.
The report also spotted geographical variations in children’s access to online education, with much fewer children affected as compared to Africa or parts of Asia. The UN report is published based on the data collected from nearly 100 countries, measuring public access to the internet, television, and radio.
Even children with proper access may face other impediments to distance education. For instance, lack of a good workspace, the pressure to do other home chores for the family, etc.
According to the UN report, among children around the globe unable to access online education, 67 million belong to eastern and southern Africa, 54 million in western and central Africa, 80 million belong to the Pacific and East Asia, 37 million in the Middle East and North Africa, 147 million in South Asia, and 13 million in Latin America and the Caribbean.
With the new school year soon going to begin in several countries, UNICEF urged governments to “prioritize the safe reopening of schools when they begin easing lockdown restrictions.” Where reopening is not yet possible, governments must arrange for “compensatory learning for lost instructional time.”