Millions of youngsters in South Asia are backed by remote learning: UNICEF

In India, 80% of pupils aged 14 to 18 reported poorer levels of learning than when they were physically present at school.

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Millions of youngsters in South Asia are backed by remote learning: UNICEF

Hundreds of millions of children in South Asia suffer due to the coronavirus that shuttered their schools, but there are no internet gadgets and remote learning links, UNICEF warned on Thursday.

Specific priority should be given to the safe reopening of schools, as over 60 percent of children in the densely populated region could not read and comprehend by the age of 10 a simple paragraph even before the epidemic, according to the UN Children’s Office.

“School closures in South Asia have forced hundreds of millions of children and their teachers to transition to remote learning in a region with low connectivity and device affordability,” said George Laryea-Adjei, UNICEF’s regional director for South Asia.

“Even when a family has access to technology, children are not always able to access it. As a result, children have suffered enormous setbacks in their learning journey.” The repeated school closures since last year had affected 434 million children in South Asia and a substantial proportion of them were learning significantly less compared with pre-pandemic levels, UNICEF said in a report based on research in India, the Maldives, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.

In India, 80% of pupils aged 14 to 18 reported poorer levels of learning than when they were physically present at school. In Sri Lanka, 69% of primary-school parents reported that their children were learning less or a lot less.

In Pakistan, 23% of younger children lacked access to a gadget for remote learning. In India, 42% of students aged 6 to 13 said they had no access to remote learning during school closures. Indian epidemiologists and social scientists have petitioned authorities to restore courses for all students, arguing that the advantages outweigh the dangers, particularly because poor, rural children are missing out on online education.

South Asia, which has a population of almost 2 billion people, has recorded over 37 million coronavirus infections and over 523,000 fatalities.

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Millions of youngsters in South Asia are backed by remote learning: UNICEF
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In India, 80% of pupils aged 14 to 18 reported poorer levels of learning than when they were physically present at school.
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THE POLICY TIMES
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