UN data shows ‘almost insurmountable’ scale of school losses due to Covid

(ORDO NEWS) — Up to 70% of 10-year-olds in low- and middle-income countries lack basic reading skills, with learning losses seen from the US to Ethiopia.

According to the UN, the scale of the number of children who have lost their schooling during the pandemic is “almost insurmountable”.

Up to 70% of 10-year-olds in low- and middle-income countries cannot read or understand simple text, up from 53% before Covid, the study says.

Class closures continue to affect more than 635 million children worldwide, with younger and more marginalized children facing the most learning losses after almost two years of Covid, according to children’s agency Unicef, which has called for intense support to help students recover. .

All over the world, from Ethiopia to the US, children have lost basic literacy and numeracy skills, and their mental and physical health has suffered.

In South Africa, students are 75% behind their chances and by an entire school year, and between March 2020 and October 2021, up to 500,000 people will drop out of school altogether.

The decline in academic performance is observed in the US, including California, Colorado, Tennessee, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia and Maryland. In Texas, in 2021, two-thirds of third-grade children (ages eight to nine) will pass below their grade in math than half of children in 2019.

In Ethiopia, it is estimated that primary-age children have learned 30-40% of the math they should have learned in a typical school year.

Robert Jenkins, Head of Education at Unicef, said: “In March we will mark two years of disruption to education around the world caused by Covid.

Simply put, we are seeing an almost unstoppable scale of loss in children’s learning. Although learning disruptions should be stopped, simply reopening schools is not enough.Students need intensive support to regain their lost education.

“Schools must also go beyond educational institutions to restore children’s mental and physical health, social development and nutrition.”


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