UNESCO forms 'coalition' to tackle coronavirus

Date: 26/03/2020     Time: 8:02 PM

UNESCO has decided to establish a multilateral, international coalition to find ways to support education in the 165 countries that have stopped formal education because of school closures due to the coronavirus pandemic, a statement from the Paris-based UN body said Thursday. It is estimated that 87 percent of the world's student body is affected by coronavirus, corresponding to 1.5 billion learners deprived of access to formal education. UNESCO said that its "Global Education Coalition" aims to help affected countries boost distance teaching and remote learning systems for children and youth who are most at risk. "Never before have we witnessed educational disruption on such a scale," UNESCO Director General Audrey Azoulay said in the statement. She called for global "partnership," saying this is "the only way forward" in tackling the crisis. Noting a number of nations have already put in place remote education practices, Azoulay stressed there was a divide between wealthy and poorer nations in having access to such technology and resources. UNESCO called for speeding up experience-sharing and to "help the most vulnerable, whether or not they have internet access." A number of high-tech and other companies have joined the 'Coalition', including major internet providers and computer companies, among others. Institutional bodies, from the UN and outside, in addition to NGOs and philanthropic organisations are also involved, as well as certain media.