The world is in the face of a “generational catastrophe” because of shutdowns of educational institutions amid the coronavirus pandemic, warns UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres while launching a ‘Save our Future’ campaign on August 4, reports Reuters.
The Secretary-General also emphasized getting students safely back to classrooms once covid-19 transmission comes under control globally.
According to Reuters tally, the novel coronavirus has infected at least 18.1 million people with more than 689,000 known deaths worldwide to date.
The UN campaign calls for action in four key areas, including reopening schools, prioritizing education in financing decisions, targeting the hardest to reach and focusing on creative and innovative ways of teaching.
At the launch of the campaign, Secretary General Guterres in a video statement said that as of mid-July schools were closed in some 160 countries, affecting more than 1 billion students, while at least 40 million children have missed out on pre-school.
This came on top of more than 250 million children already being out of school before the pandemic and only a quarter of secondary school students in developing countries leaving with basic skills, he said in the statement.
Expressing the warning regarding global education, Antonio Guterres said, ‘now we face a generational catastrophe that could waste untold human potential, undermine decades of progress, and exacerbate entrenched inequalities.’
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He further said, ‘once local transmission of Covid-19 is under control, getting students back into schools and learning institutions as safely as possible must be a top priority,’ adding ‘consultation with parents, carers, teachers and young people is fundamental.’
The recommendations from the UN for getting global education back on track come at a time when US President Donald Trump pushes for schools to re-open in the country despite opposition from various quarters including teachers, parents and politicians while cases of Covid-19 is witnessing surge in many parts of the country. Source : Straits Times Online