Schools shut, Unicef working with Indian govt for alternative ways of learning
India has put in place a complete lockdown for three weeks, hoping to be able to break the chain of transmission. The disease has already infected 724 people in the country and killed 17, according to Union health ministry data.Updated: Mar 27, 2020 11:24 IST
Unicef is working with the Indian government towards providing alternative ways of learning to about 200 million children currently enrolled in government schools, who are missing out on learning as at least 1.5 million schools across India remain closed in the wake of nationwide lockdown because of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outbreak.
India has put in place a complete lockdown for three weeks, hoping to be able to break the chain of transmission. The disease has already infected 724 people in the country and killed 17, according to Union health ministry data.
Not just in India, the nationwide school closures have disrupted the education for more than 80% of students worldwide, so it announced a significant scale up support in all countries to help children continue their learning while keeping schools safe.
“As the situation unfolds and the closure of schools for greater duration, Unicef supports National and State education departments (17 states) to ensure continuity of learning and continuation of education for all children. State-specific appropriate strategies are supported for continuous learning that allow school-aged children, teachers and schools to utilize flexible and remote/ home-based learning, which may include reading material, Radio, TV, online content, and internet-based learning,” the UN body said in a statement about its efforts in India.
“Giving children alternative ways to learn and also by doing so, rebuild a routine is a critical part of our response. In addition, it is important to plan for the reopening of schools as the longer children stay away from school, the less likely they are to ever return.”
In order to help the government in its fight against Covid-19, Unicef is also supporting risk reduction communication targeting school-aged children, teachers, and school management committee members through various platforms.
“Schools in the majority of countries worldwide have closed. It is an unprecedented situation and unless we collectively act now to protect children’s education, societies and economies will feel the burden long after we’ve beaten Covid-19. In the most vulnerable communities, the impact will span generations,” said Robert Jenkins, Unicef-global chief of education.
“Based on lessons learned with the school closures in response to Ebola, the longer children stay away from school, the less likely they are to ever return. Giving children alternative ways to learn and also by doing so, rebuild a routine is a critical part of our response,” he added.
It has allocated additional funding to accelerate work with governments and partners in more than 145 low- and middle-income countries.