School closures in Bangladesh enforced due to the Covid-19 lockdown have not only disrupted the education of around 37 million children, but also exacerbated worrying gaps in basic literacy and numeracy skills which existed before the pandemic began.
Only 34 per cent of children in Grade 3 in Bangladesh have foundational reading skills, and only 18 per cent have foundational numeracy skills, reports Unicef.
The report also highlighted striking differences in the reading skills of children who dropped out of school in the past year and those who continued learning. Only 29 per cent of the children who dropped out of school within the past year have foundational reading skills, compared with 39 per cent of children who stayed in school.
"Even before the pandemic, children in Bangladesh faced education hurdles. Children in Bangladesh need full access to flexible and remedial learning to help make up for the time lost," said Mr. Sheldon Yett, UNICEF Representative to Bangladesh. "A failure to take action now puts the well-being of children and their families at risk for generations to come," he added.
The report states that Bangladeshi children endured one of the longest school closures in the world, missing almost 18 months of in-person education.