GENEVA / COVID-19 EDUCATION IMPACT

27-Jul-2021 00:02:51
“Education, safety, friends and food have been replaced by anxiety, violence, and teenage pregnancy,” the United Nations Children’s Fund said on Tuesday. UNTV CH
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STORY: GENEVA / COVID-19 EDUCATION IMPACT
TRT: 02:55
SOURCE: UNTV CH
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 27 JULY 2021, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND
SHOTLIST
1. Wide shot, United Nations flag flying.
2. Wide shot, journalists listening to press room briefing
3. SOUNDBITE (English) James Elder, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) spokesperson:
“Education, safety, friends and food have been replaced by anxiety, violence, and teenage pregnancy. If we look at one country, Uganda, we’ve seen a 20% spike in the last 15 months in teen pregnancies or pregnancies of 10-24-year-old girls who were seeking antenatal care. Across the globe in all continents, we’ve seen child helplines, a good precursor to understanding kids who are reporting violence, seeing often triple-digit increases.
4. Med shot, journalists at press room briefing
5. SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH) James Elder, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) spokesperson:
“More than 600 million children who aren’t on academic break remain affected by school closures. In Asia and the Pacific: in nearly half the countries, schools have been closed for about 200 days there. Amid some of the longest closures ever seen in Latin America and the Caribbean, still, 18 countries are affected by either full or partial closures. And as of today, our most recent estimates in Eastern and Southern Africa are that 40 per cent, 4 in 10 of all children 5 to 18 are currently out of school.
6. Med shot, journalist writing during press room briefing
7 SOUNDBITE (English) James Elder, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) spokesperson:
“At least a third of the world’s schoolchildren, remote learning is just not an option. We’re not talking about too much time for children on screen, they dont have access to screens. Again in East Asia and the Pacific, 80 million children have no access whatsoever to any remote learning. If you go back to Eastern and Southern Africa, Uganda, children there have passed to 300 days out of school. Home internet connectivity the lowest on the planet, is about 0.3%.
8. Wide shot, journalist at press room briefing
9. SOUNDBITE (English) James Elder, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) spokesperson:
“Beyond those clear numbers of replacing education and learning with voice and teen pregnancy, if that doesn’t resonate with those in power, then the World Bank does have a report showing around, their estimate is about a 10 trillion dollar loss in earnings for this current cohort of students over time.
10. Wide shot, journalist at press room briefing
11. SOUNDBITE (English) James Elder, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) spokesperson:
“Schools need to open as soon as possible. Reopening schools cannot wait for all teachers and students to be vaccinated. Governments at a time of great fiscal stress need to protect those education budgets. We need to find new ways to try and get those children who were never in schools to get them back in amid COVID. You know remove financial barriers loosen registration requirements. Forth, cash transfers, they work.
12. Various shots, press briefing room
STORYLINE
“Education, safety, friends and food have been replaced by anxiety, violence, and teenage pregnancy,” the United Nations Children’s Fund said on Tuesday (27 Jul).

Owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, “more than 600 million children in countries not on academic break are still affected by school closures”, said James Elder, UNICEF spokesperson, at a press conference at UN Geneva.

In countries such as Uganda, this has led to a “20 per cent spike in the last 15 months in teen pregnancies, or pregnancies of 10-24-year-old girls who were seeking antenatal care. Across the globe in all continents we’ve seen child helplines, a good precursor to understanding kids who are reporting violence, seeing often triple-digit increases.”

In nearly half of countries in Asia and the Pacific, schools have been closed for around 200 days. Latin America and the Caribbean have seen some of the longest closures ever with 18 countries and territories affected by either full or partial closures. As of today, the UN agency estimates in Eastern and Southern Africa that 40 per cent of all children aged five to 18 are currently out of school.

Mr. Elder added that if these figures “did not resonate with those in power”, then perhaps a World Bank report would, as it forecast a loss of $10 trillion in earnings over time for this generation of students.

Equally alarming is the fact that the solution of remote learning is “simply out of reach” for at least a third of the world’s schoolchildren, the UNICEF spokesperson continued.
In East Asia and the Pacific, “80 million children have no access whatsoever to any remote learning. In Eastern and Southern Africa, Uganda schoolchildren have passed over 300 days out of school. Home internet connectivity is the lowest on the planet there at about 0.3 per cent.”

In a call for action, UNICEF appealed for five main steps: schools should reopen as soon as possible, governments and donors must protect the education budget, enrolment should be extended to children who were already out of school pre COVID 19 by removing financial barriers and loosening registration requirements and cash transfers to the most vulnerable must be increased.

“Everything needs to be done to bring an end to the pandemic,” Mr. Elder said, starting with making vaccines available everywhere by sharing excess doses and financing to support the roll-out of vaccines.
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