Henrietta Fore, Executive Director of the United Nations Children's Fund or Unicef, has urged governments around the world to keep educational institutions open so that children's education does not get disrupted any further.
She also urged governments to invest in digital connectivity to make sure no child is left behind, adding, "We need bold action to enable every child to return to school. This includes providing comprehensive support with a particular focus on marginalised children in each community, such as catch-up classes, mental health and nutrition support, protection, and other key services."
In a statement on Friday, the Unicef executive director mentioned a few recommendations by the organisation to avert a learning catastrophe, reads a press release.
She also urged governments to prioritise the vaccination of teachers and school staff, once frontline health personnel and high-risk populations are vaccinated.
However, Unicef urged not making vaccination a prerequisite for in-person schooling. "Making access to in-person schooling contingent on Covid-19 vaccination, risks denying children access to education which can increase inequalities," she added.
Consistent with WHO recommendations, Unicef recommends ensuring that Covid-19 control strategies of countries facilitate children's participation in education and other aspects of social life, even without vaccinating children and adolescents.
"In crisis conditions there are always difficult decisions that force difficult trade-offs, and we recognise the unprecedented challenges that the Covid-19 pandemic is creating for school systems worldwide," said the Unicef executive director.
"But the stakes are too high. We must collectively do everything we can to keep children in school," she added.