MANILA, Philippines, April 4 ------ As schools around the world remain closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has said it would be ramping up support to all countries to help children continue their education. For this, UNICEF announced its allocation of $13 million as extra funding to support 145 low and middle-income countries. According to UNICEF, $9 million of the total additional cash would come from the contribution of the Global Partnership for Education.
UNICEF said in a statement Monday that such appropriation “will be catalytic by supporting national governments and a wide range of education partners in each country to develop plans to enable a rapid, system-wide response.” The initiative will also enable countries to prepare alternative learning programs in the case of school closures, as well as keeping the children and communities safe by providing vital information such as the importance of handwashing and other hygiene practices, UNICEF noted.
The fund, UNICEF added, will also help support children’s mental health and prevent stigma and discrimination, such as students being encouraged to avoid stereotypes on talking about the disease. COVID-19 has so far infected more than 803,520 people and killed over 39,035 across the world.
In the Philippines, 2,084 persons have been confirmed positive for COVID-19 as of March 31. Of this number were 88 fatalities and 49 recoveries. To contain the spread of the disease, President Rodrigo Duterte has placed the entire Luzon under enhanced community quarantine, wherein classes in all levels were suspended until mid-April. “Schools in the majority of countries worldwide have closed. It is an unprecedented situation and unless we collectively act now to protect children’s education, societies and economies will feel the burden long after we’ve beaten COVID-19,” UNICEF Global Chief of Education Robert Jenkins said.
“In the most vulnerable communities, the impact will span generations,” he added.