NEW DELHI :
NINETEEN months after the COVID-19 pandemic forced school closures worldwide, only half of the schools across the globe have resumed classroom teaching and learning while around 34 per cent schools are relying on mixed or hybrid instruction mode, according to the COVID-19 Global Education Recovery Tracker. The tracker has been jointly created by Johns Hopkins University, the World Bank, and UNICEF to assist countries’ decision-making by tracking reopening and COVID-19 recovery planning efforts in more than 200 countries. According to the tracked data, 80 per cent of schools worldwide are in regular session. Out of those, 54 per cent are back to in-person instruction, 34 per cent are relying on mixed or hybrid instruction while 10 per cent continue remote instruction and 2 per cent offer no instruction at all. While the tracker noted that only 53 per cent of countries are prioritising vaccinating teachers, the World Bank has recommended that countries should no longer wait to get their population or school staff fully vaccinated before reopening schools.
“To promote education recovery, teachers should be prioritised for vaccination where possible, while recognising that there are ways to reopen safely without vaccination through adequate safety measures,” said a report by the World Bank’s Education team. “Given that schools that have reopened around the world have been able to effectively curtail transmission within schools with simple and relatively cheap infection control strategies like masking, ventilation, and physical distancing, and considering that widespread vaccination coverage in most countries is not expected for many months, keeping schools closed until all staff can be vaccinated results in very little benefit in terms of reduced risk of transmission but potentially generates substantial costs for children,” it said.