(United Nations, New York). The COVID-19 pandemic has created the largest disruption to education in history and prolonged school closures could further entrench inequalities in access to learning, the UN Secretary-General said on Tuesday, underlining the need for “bold steps” to address the crisis.
Describing education as “the key to personal development and the future of societies”, António Guterres issued recommendations to get children back in the classroom in a policy brief launched alongside a new global campaign called Save our Future.
“As the world faces unsustainable levels of inequality, we need education – the great equalizer – more than ever,” he said in a video message.
The UN estimates that the pandemic has affected more than one billion students worldwide.
Despite efforts to continue learning during the crisis, for example through lessons by radio, television and online, many are still not being reached.
The UN chief said learners with disabilities, members of minority or disadvantaged communities, as well as refugees and displaced persons, are among those at highest risk of being left behind.
Even those students who can access distance learning face challenges, as success depends on their living conditions, and other factors such as not being overloaded with household chores.