Lockdown has hurt education of 247 mn school kids in India. According to the report, at least 600 million South Asian children have been threatened by the impact of COVID-19 pandemic. A report prepared by UNICEF has revealed that COVID-19 pandemic in India and lockdown has “impacted” 247 million children enrolled in elementary and secondary education, besides 28 million children who were undergoing pre-school education in Anganwadi centres.
The report has highlighted the efforts done by the central and state government to continue education for children through multiple e-platforms like web portals, mobile apps, TV channels, radio and podcasts to reach children, Diksha platform, Swayam Prabha TV channels, e-Pathshala and the National Repository of Open Educational Resources. In the wake of COVID-19 lockdown, recently, the National Council for Educational Research and Training (NCERT) has prepared an alternative academic calendar for classes 1 to 12 with suggested activities to guide learning at home. “In India, around 20 million children under five years of age are suffering from wasting, over 40 million children are chronically malnourished and more than half of Indian women aged 15-49 years are anaemic,” said the UN report.
Dr Yasmin Ali Haque Said:
Dr Yasmin Ali Haque, UNICEF Representative in India said, “The pandemic has exposed the fragility of children, less by the virus itself but much more by the indirect and long-term fallout. Millions of vulnerable children are losing out on their development and learning opportunities and their right to survive. The most vulnerable families need to be protected by social protection schemes that can help them access healthcare, schooling for children, afford nutrition etc. This can only be ensured by a firm commitment from the governments and all stakeholders.”
According to the newly published study by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in the Lancet Global Health Journal, due to reductions in routine health service coverage levels, disruption in life-saving immunization activities and an increase in child wasting, up to 3, 00,000 children could die in India alone in the next six months.
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