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Pandemic Leaves Nearly Half-a-Billion Children Without Access to Distance Learning

FILE - A student takes a class online at her home in San Francisco, March 19, 2020. Hundreds of students in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, did not take part in online learning when schools closed, one report shows.

With the total number of worldwide COVID-19 cases surpassing 24 million, including more than 824,000 deaths, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) says nearly one-third of the world’s schoolchildren are unable to participate in remote learning.

A report issued Wednesday by the agency says that of the 1.5 billion children who have been forced to miss in-person learning because of the pandemic, about 463 million did not have the equipment or electronic access to continue their studies through television, radio or the Internet.

UNICEF says 49% of all children in sub-Saharan Africa are unable to access any type of remote learning, followed by West and Central Africa with 48%, and North Africa and the Middle East with 40%. More than 200 million children combined in South Asia, East Asia and the Pacific regions are unable to continue their education outside the classroom.

“The sheer number of children whose education was completely disrupted for months on end is a global education emergency,” said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore. “The repercussions could be felt in economies and societies for decades to come.”

WATCH: Stacey Knott's report from Ghana

Ghana Children Learn to Read on the Radio
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In Myanmar, all three million people living in the troubled northwestern Rakhine state are under a near-total lockdown with the number of new COVID-19 cases on the rise.

Of the more than 100 new infections reported in Myanmar in recent days, most of them are in Rakhine, where health care facilities are substandard and extremely limited.

Only one member of each household is allowed to leave their homes for essential shopping under the new quarantine measures imposed for Rakhine state.

Rakhine is home to hundreds of thousands of ethnic Rohingya living in refugee camps after being displaced due to fighting between the army and ethnic minority Rohingya insurgents. Health experts have warned the novel coronavirus could spread in crowded camps.

Pandemic Paves Way for Virtual Reality Education
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