For the second time this year, the largest school district in the United States closed recently. After New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s announcement, my 8-year old daughter was devastated. She missed her friends, but more than that, she longed for the nurturing environment of the classroom.
As hard as this has been to witness as a father, my daughter is one of the privileged ones who can easily learn remotely. Underserved and vulnerable children without access to high-speed internet are reeling from months without an education, and the ramifications of learning loss and lack of socialization could have long-term consequences for our society.
Nearly 600 million children worldwide were out of school as of November, according to a report from UNICEF. The organization warned against extended closure of schools, saying there was no evidence of increased transmission of COVID-19 in the classroom and that we risk a “lost generation” if shutdowns persist.
The Flexible Learning Strategies for Out of School Children programme is a UNESCO initiative with the aim of supporting inclusive and quality education for every child in the region. Our goal is to reach the remaining and most vulnerable 5% of children with no access to education in the region and support quality improvements in learning for every child.
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