A United Nations agency said that the world has never witnessed educational disruption at this scale as governments around the world have announced the temporary closure of schools and other educational institutions to contain the spread of coronavirus. United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) said that nationwide closures are affecting over 1.5 billion students across the world.
UNESCO said that education is a fundamental human right and it will take alternative measures to ensure the continuity for learners despite closures and lockdown. UNESCO has launched the Global Education Coalition and is inviting expressions of interest from organizations interested in joining COVID-19 response in the field of education.
The UN agency said that it is supporting countries in their efforts to mitigate the immediate impact of closures, especially the disadvantaged communities who lack the facility to avail digital and remote learning. The Coalition has multilateral partners including the World Health Organisation (WHO), UNICEF, International Labour Organisation (ILO), and World Food Programme (WFP).
UNESCO has been warning about the evolving situation and recently it convened a global videoconference of high education officials to step up the emergency response and share strategies to minimize learning disruption worldwide. During the conference, 73 countries were represented including 24 education minister and 15 vice ministers.
“We are entering uncharted territory and working with countries to find hi-tech, low-tech and no-tech solutions to assure the continuity of learning,” said UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay.
“As countries try to prepare their response, international cooperation is vital to share the most effective approaches and support students, teachers and families,” she added.
As part of the Global Education Coalition, the partners are trying to mobilise actors and resources to develop an effective and unified response. It also focuses on coordination in order to maximise the penetration of resources and its impact by avoiding overlap. It is based on the theory of distance education by leveraging hi-tech, low tech and no tech approaches.
(Image Credit: Twitter / @UN)