The education sector has suffered the worst crisis in history these last two years, with prolonged school closures, despite the fact that some progress has been made in the second year of the covid-19 pandemic.
– Countries adapt –
For UNESCO, the global disruption in education caused by the covid-19 pandemic is the worst educational crisis on record.
“However, a notable change is noticeable between December 2021 and January 2022: there are no more massive school closures, the States managed to stabilize a new crisis management model with the ability to keep schools open thanks to the adoption of reinforced and safe health protocols,” UNESCO told AFP.
Countries such as France, Brazil or Mexico applied new measures such as distancing, closures on a case-by-case basis, in addition to the traditional washing of hands or the wearing of masks, UNESCO added.
Others like France, Canada or Italy have resorted to screening tests.
Schools are currently open in 135 countries. In addition, 25 countries decided at the beginning of the year to postpone the reopening of schools after the Christmas holidays. Twelve chose to close completely, compared to 40 who did so on the same date last year, according to the institution.
“The message that consists of saying that it is essential to leave schools open, from a social point of view and for the well-being of children, has worked at the level of the different States,” he congratulated.
– The countries with the most school closures –
In the last two years, the countries that have had schools closed the longest, that is, more than 60 weeks, are Bangladesh, Kuwait, the Philippines, Uganda and Venezuela.
If partial closures are taken into account, Uganda reached more than 60 weeks of total closure and 23 weeks of partial closure, while Bolivia reached 43 and 39 weeks, respectively, Nepal totaled 35 and 47 weeks and India 25 and 57 weeks.
– The countries with the fewest lockdowns –
Four countries have not resorted to school closures in two years: Belarus, Burundi, Nauru and Tajikistan.
Another dozen have not resorted to full lockdown, including Russia, the United States and Australia. Oceania is the region that closed its educational centers the least.
France, with a total closure of seven weeks and a partial closure of five weeks, is among the 10% of countries that closed their schools the least.
– The consequences –
The more or less extensive closure of schools or higher education centers has dramatic consequences, especially in low- and middle-income countries.
Certain regions of Brazil, Pakistan, India, South Africa, and Mexico, among others, experience substantial learning losses in math and reading.
According to UNESCO, by 2030 “no region of the world plans to achieve universal secondary education”, “educators consider that only a third of students will have basic skills in mathematics” and “33% of students will not have the ability to read a sentence at the end of elementary school”.
In the long term, the generation of young people currently in school is at risk of losing almost 17 billion dollars in income due to the shortages caused by the closures of educational centers due to the pandemic, warned the World Bank and UN agencies. .
“Learning loss for many children is morally unacceptable, and the potential increase in learning impoverishment could have a devastating impact on the future productivity, income and well-being of this generation of children and youth,” said Jaime Saavedra, director of education at the World Bank, cited in a report published in December.
The priority is “to bring all young people back to school, and especially girls in certain countries,” UNESCO said.
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