Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary-General, warned about the “generational catastrophe” on the brink of which the world stands considering the present situation of school closures in 160 countries affecting around 1 billion with 40 million already having missed out on pre-school. Guterres emphasized that getting students back to the classroom must be a “top priority” for all.
“Now we face a generational catastrophe that could waste untold human potential, undermine decades of progress, and exacerbate entrenched inequalities,” said Guterres launching a UN “Save our Future” campaign.
In a video statement, he said that more than 250 million children were already deprived of education before the pandemic with only a bleak number of secondary school students passing out from school with necessary skills.
“Once local transmission of Covid-19 is under control, getting students back into schools and learning institutions as safely as possible must be a top priority,” Guterres explained. “Consultation with parents, carers, teachers and young people is fundamental.”
According to a survey covered by UNESCO and partner organization, it has been predicted that approximately 23.8 million students from pre-primary classes to universities might drop out or lose access to education due to the severe economic impact that pandemic will cause.
Guterres has focused on four key areas for improvement: bringing students back to classrooms, improved fund allocation for education, recognizing the vulnerable students “those at greater risk of being left behind” in education and implementing new initiatives to bridge the digital divide.
Guterres also highlighted the possibilities of “a generational opportunity to reimagine education” amidst the crisis that would provide for a major leap forward to construe quality education.