The prolonged closure of educational institutions during the COVID 19 pandemic has affected over 40 million students from the pre-primary to the higher education level in Bangladesh.
Based on a new analysis released on Tuesday, UNICEF said that over 140 million young minds have missed the first day of their school due to the pandemic in the world.
This includes about four million first time learners from Bangladesh where all educational institutions have remained closed since 17 March 2020.
The analysis points out that the problems caused by prolonged closure of the educational institutions especially for the youngest learners in critical development stages.
It says learning loss, mental distress, missed vaccinations, and heightened risk of drop out, child labour, and child marriage will be felt by many children. The longer children remain out of school, the less likely they are to return as they face increased risks of violence, child labour and child marriage.
While countries worldwide are taking some actions to provide remote learning, at least 29 per cent of primary students are not being reached, said UNICEF.
UNICEF representative in Bangladesh Tomoo Hozumi said that closure of schools and absence of in-person teaching and learning activities have an extremely serious impact not only on children’s education but also on their health, protection and psychosocial well-being.
He said marginalized children are suffering the heaviest losses which push them further into poverty and inequalities now and in the future.
UNICEF urged the government to reopen schools for in person learning as soon as possible. (DD News/August 25, 2021)