COVID-19 Takes a Toll Education, Disrupts Over 290 Million Learners

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Physical contact with infected persons has been described by the World Health Organization as one of the most prevalent ways through which COVID-19 is spread. To minimise the risk of exposure to the virus, countries globally have been forced to temporarily shut down education centres and places of public gathering to contain the situation.

According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), at least 22 countries have implemented school closure disrupting learning for almost 290 million students across the world so as to prevent the spread of COVID-19. This directive has its implications on the learning curve of the students. For instance, parents are now forced to facilitate how their children can learn while at home,  a task which a majority will struggle with because some are working parents while some homes have limited access to technology an option that is being exploited by many to enhance studying while at home.

There is a high risk of students dropping out of school especially for underprivileged learners as the situation puts an economic and social burden on these parents. In China, the number of students affected has is 233, 169, 621, followed by Japan at 16,496,928 and Iran at 14,561,998. Bahrain recorded the least number of students affected at 247,289. Ove4 450,000,000 learners enrolled at pre-primary, primary, lower-secondary, and upper-secondary levels of education, in 13 countries with confirmed cases of the virus are potentially at risk.

UNESCO has recommended the use of distance learning programmes to limit the disruption of education, in response to the deadly virus in its publication. It describes numerous projects on open and distance learning via mobile devices and further provides a breakdown of over 30 mobile applications and platforms that can help connect teachers and students remotely as well as provide students direct access to educational content.

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