Saturday, September 26, 2020 | ePaper

Set strategy to recoup education after pandemic

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UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that the world set to face a generational catastrophe because of school closures amid the coronavirus pandemic. The states must take appropriate action to return students to the classroom. 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. In Bangladesh, remote learning system introduced to minimise the disruption for pandemic has been hampered for the flood. These students are not able to take part in lessons online and on TV, which they had been relying on the most since the coronavirus outbreak and the closure of schools on March 17.
The UN recommendations for getting global education back on track have come as US President Donald Trump pushed schools to reopen in the face of opposition from some teachers and parents while Covid-19 is still surging in many parts of the country. After controlling local transmission of Covid-19, getting students back into schools and learning institutions as safely as possible must be a top priority. A deeper consequence of the pandemic on the education sector might emerge from the economic downturns being ignited by the pandemic control measures. The crisis could also be more threatening for students with special needs. Due to the pandemic, more than 45 per cent of such students' families might fall below the poverty line.
After the pandemic, the crisis will not be any easy for the students remaining at school either. Due to fall in income at large, overall out-of-pocket expenditure in education will inevitably fall, particularly for the families from the lower-income bracket. Many students might shift from low-cost private schools to already over-burdened public schools. Combating the challenges would require a stronger collaboration between the Government, NGOs, and the development partners. However, it is the government who needs to take the lead in steering up from this crisis.

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