UNICEF: Over 635 million students continue to be impacted by complete or partial school closures. On the occasion of International Education Day and as the COVID-19 pandemic approaches its two-year anniversary, UNICEF shares the most recent available data on the pandemic's impact on children's learning.
"In March, we will commemorate two years of disruptions to global education caused by COVID-19. Simply put, we are looking at an almost insurmountable scale of educational loss for children "UNICEF's Chief of Education, Robert Jenkins, stated. "While disruptions to learning must be addressed, simply reopening schools is insufficient. Students require intensive support in order to reclaim their education. Additionally, schools must go beyond the classroom to rehabilitate children's mental and physical health, social development, and nutrition."
Children have deteriorated in their basic numeracy and literacy abilities. Globally, disruptions to education have resulted in millions of children missing out on academic learning that they would have acquired in a classroom, with younger and more marginalised children bearing the brunt of the loss.
In low- and middle-income countries, school closures have resulted in up to 70% of 10-year-olds being unable to read or comprehend a simple text, up from 53% pre-pandemic. Around 3 in 4 children in grade 2 are reading below grade level in several Brazilian states, up from 1 in 2 children pre-pandemic. Throughout Brazil, one in ten students aged 10-15 stated that they do not intend to return to school once their schools reopen.