Covid closures still affecting 405m children
As the COVID-19 pandemic enters its third year, 23 countries - home to around 405 million schoolchildren - are yet to fully reopen schools, with many schoolchildren at risk of dropping out, said the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) on Wednesday.
Over the past two years, nearly 147 million children missed more than half of their in-person schooling, amounting to 2 trillion hours of lost learning, UNICEF said in a report.
"When children are not able to interact with their teachers and their peers directly, their learning suffers. When they are not able to interact with their teachers and peers at all, their learning loss may become permanent," said UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell in a press release. "This rising inequality in access to learning means that education risks becoming the greatest divider, not the greatest equalizer. When the world fails to educate its children, we all suffer."