UNICEF: 'Irreparable losses' to millions of children from school closures due to pandemic
More than 616 million students are still affected today by the complete or partial closure of schools
The closure of schools due to its pandemic Covid-19 caused almost "irreversible" losses in the education of children around the world, according to Unicef. More than 616 million students are still affected by the full or partial closure of schools today, according to the United Nations Children's Fund.
In many countries this situation not only deprived millions of children of basic knowledge but also affected their mental health, increasing the risk of abuse and preventing many of them from accessing "a regular food source".
"We are all facing almost irreparable losses in terms of children attending school," said Robert Jenkins, head of education at Unicef. And the reopening of schools "is not enough", he underlined, asking for the children to be supported in order to regain "their lost education".
Unicef noted that because of these "education losses" due to school closures, up to 70% of 10-year-olds could not read or understand a simple text. This rate was 53% before the pandemic in low- and middle-income countries. In Ethiopia, for example, children learned 30-40% of the math they would learn in a normal elementary school year, according to Unicef.
This phenomenon has occurred in rich countries, such as the United States, where there have been losses in Texas, California or Maryland, among others.
Early school leaving is also a problem: in South Africa, around 400-500.000 students dropped out of school between March 2020 and July 2021. In addition to the increased stress and depression in children and young people, more 370 million children worldwide have been deprived of school meals since their schools were closed. In some cases, school meals are the only solid source of food for many of these children.