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A Third of World’s School Children are Unable to Access Remote Learning Due to COVID-19 Shutdown: UNICEF Report

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A-third-of-world's-children-missed-remote-learning-UNICEF-reportOn 27th August 2020, United Nations Children’s Fund(UNICEF) released the Report “ COVID-19: Are Children Able to Continue Learning During School Closures?”, which states that at least a third of the world’s school children, which is around 463 million children couldn’t not access remote learning amid the closure of schools due to COVID-19 pandemic.

About the Report:

i.This report is a global analysis of potential reach of remote learning policies on the availability of home based technologies and tools among various level school children, with the data from around 100 countries.

ii.The data includes access to television, radio and internet and availability of curriculum delivered on these platforms.

Key Points:

i.More than 90% Ministries of Education opted to some form of policies to provide digital and broadcast remote learning.

ii.Due to lack of necessary assets around 31% school children around the world couldn’t access remote learning programmes.

iii.40% countries did not provide any remote learning opportunities to the students at preprimary level.

iv.The highest number of children affection by region were in South Asia, at least 147 million.

Reasons for limited reach of Remote learning:

  • Limited Focus on pre-primary education.
  • Rurality and poverty.
  • Regional discrepancies.
  • Huge variation between and within countries.

Reachability of Remote learning:

i.Due to limitations to online learning for young children and lack of remote learning programs for this category, around 70% of preprimary level children cannot be reached.

ii.Around 29% of primary level children and 24% lower secondary level children cannot be reached.

iii.18% of the Upper secondary level children miss out on remote learning due to lack of technological tools required to access remote learning.

Remote learning in India:

i.Around 15 lakh schools are closed due to the global pandemic which affects around 28.6 crore school children of which around 49% children are girls.

ii.This is in addition to the 60lakh children who were already out of school before COVID-19 pandemic.

iii.The central and state governments have initiated various initiatives over digital and non-digital platforms to provide continuity of learning at home amid pandemic.


Only 24% of Indian households have internet connection to reach remote education and the learning gap across high, middle and low-income families are likely to widen by the large rural-urban and gender divide.


i.Prioritizing the safe reopening of schools after easing the restrictions on lockdown.

ii.Government should incorporate compensatory learning for the lost instructional time into school continuity and reponing plans 

Click here for the complete report

Recent Related News:

i.Girls still face violence and discrimination, 70% trafficked in 2016: UNICEF report titled “A New Era for Girls: Taking stock on 25 years of progress”

ii.672 million children will be trapped in to poverty by the end of 2020 due to COVID-19 Impact: UNICEF report titled “Children in monetary poor households and COVID-19: Technical Note” 

Executive Director– Henrietta Holsman Fore
Headquarter– New York, United States (US)