January 24 - International Education Day. This year, it is being celebrated at a time when, due to the pandemic, many schoolchildren and students rarely visit educational institutions, study mainly from home, or are completely deprived of such an opportunity. Saying that disruptions to the education system could be a disaster for a generation, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for improved methods of distance learning.
In connection with the coronavirus pandemic, many countries around the world have decided to close all educational institutions. One and a half billion children have lost the opportunity to go to school. Many have switched to distance learning. However, about a third of children - 463 million - cannot study “at a distance”, because they do not have a computer or Internet at home, or because they have to “fight” for gadgets - for example, in large families. In addition, many schools have not been able to organize online education.
UNESCO stressed that today, almost half of all students in the world are still suffering in one way or another due to the fact that schools are closed or school hours are reduced.
Disruptions to the education system affect everyone, especially students and their families, as well as teachers, according to the Secretary-General's message on the occasion of International Education Day.
Due to failures in the traditional education system, it became necessary to introduce innovative teaching methods. But not everyone was able to switch to distance learning, and as a result, many children lost their right to education. Everyone will suffer from this, Guterres believes, since transformation can only be achieved in an educated society.
The head of the UN noted that even before the pandemic, about 258 million children and adolescents, most of whom were girls, did not attend school. In low- and middle-income countries, more than half of children under 10 years of age have not had the opportunity to acquire even basic reading skills.
He proposed rethinking education concepts in relation to teacher training, bridging the digital divide, revising curricula, and thereby helping to equip students with skills and knowledge that meet today's realities.