More than 10 months have gone by since the shutting down of all educational institutions across Bangladesh to contain the Covid-19 contagion whereas the average period of school closures globally is 3.5 months.
The global figure rises to 5.5 months, equivalent to two-thirds of an academic year, when localised school closures are taken into account. Latin America and the Caribbean countries have seen closures for 5 months on average and Europe 2.5 months.
As of February 2, Bangladesh is the only country in South Asia that has kept its schools fully closed and one of 28 nationals globally that are yet to reopen educational institutions.
The UNESCO's interactive monitoring map shows over 221.96 million learners are affected in these countries, who account for 12.7% of the world's student population.
Due to school closures in Bangladesh, a majority of nearly 40 million learners have been away from academic activities, with a few having the opportunity to participate in online education. Students at the primary level are facing hurdles the most in accessing education.
Of the students, 17.34 million are primary school goers, 15.87 million of the secondary education level, and 3.15 million are in tertiary education, according to the UNESCO data.
In addition, 3.58 million preprimary-level children are deprived of education by the virus outbreak.
Not much affected by the pandemic, Nepal and Sri Lanka partially reopened their educational institutions in September and November, whereas schools are now open in three other South Asian countries – Pakistan, the Maldives, and Bhutan. India, despite having high infection and death cases, partially reopened institutions in mid-October.
Meanwhile, in Afghanistan, students are enjoying an academic break since 21 December last year. The country reopened its schools in October.
Of the 28 countries whose schools are still fully closed, six countries are from Asia – Bangladesh, Lebanon, Myanmar, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.
Schools in developed countries such as the United Kingdom, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, and Netherlands are closed as well.
The United States, having recorded more than 4.5 lakh deaths from Covid-19, has partially opened their educational institutions, while Mexico and the United Kingdom with more than 1 lakh deaths have kept their institutions closed.
It is to be noted that, on 16 March last year, the education ministry of Bangladesh ordered educational institutions to suspend classes until 31 March for the safety of students.
The time has been extended 13 times to 14 February.