As the coronavirus pandemic has led to the temporary closure of schools and colleges, the specialised agency of the United Nations said that nearly half of the world’s student population have been barred from their educational institution. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) warned that there would be more closures saying schools had been closed in 102 countries, with partial closures in 11 more.
The UN agency has been warning about the evolving situation and last week UNESCO 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.
According to the latest report, over 200,000 coronavirus cases across the world have been confirmed of which over 80,000 have recovered from the illness. China has been the worst-hit country but has witnessed a significant decline in the rate over the past few days. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the epicentre of the outbreak has shifted from China to Europe, with Italy being the worst-hit.
A coronavirus projection study painted a grim picture with hundreds of thousands of deaths with the lack of aggressive interventions. The researchers said that the pandemic would have resulted in more than half a million deaths in the UK and 2.2 million in the United States in case of no mitigation measures. The team predicted the two possible scenarios of the impact depending on the intensity of the interventions and combinations.