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Education: The Covid Patient.

schools closed during epidemic aftermath

One of the worst hit areas of the covid pandemic is Education, there will be far reaching consequences of Government policies and many are starting to see worse outcomes sociologically than how the lockdowns helped people.

Psychologists feel that is a decade or so, there will be a wave of ‘Covid kids;’ a generation of affected adults who will be under therapy for the time Covid came and rudely interrupted their schooltime.

Since its outbreak two years ago, the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted education systems globally, affecting the most vulnerable learners the hardest. It has increased inequalities and exacerbated a pre-existing education crisis. School closures have ranged from no closures in a handful of countries to up to more than a full school year. Lack of connectivity and devices excluded at least one third of students from pursuing learning remotely.

Today, despite the Omicron variant, schools are open in the majority of countries, supported by health and safety protocols and vaccination programmes. But the costs stand to be tremendous in terms of learning losses, health and well-being and drop-out.

Prioritizing education as a public good is crucial to avoid a generational catastrophe and drive a sustainable recovery. To be more resilient, equitable and inclusive, education systems must transform, leveraging technology to benefit all learners and building on the innovations and partnerships catalyzed throughout this crisis.

Teachers in UK as an example fear children have become “feral” and are suffering “extreme” separation anxiety as a result of the pandemic disrupting their education, ministers have been told.
MPs raised concerns shared by teachers in their constituencies as they debated the government’s education catch-up and mental health recovery programmes today.

Robert Halfon, the Conservative chairman of the Commons Education Select Committee, opened the debate by warning that the impact of Covid-19 on education has been “nothing short of a national disaster”.

MPs then gave a series of examples in which teachers had highlighted to them how pupils had struggled on returning to the classroom after lockdowns.

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Mark Fletcher, Conservative MP for Bolsover, said: “It’s amazing how many of my primary schools have said that children, particularly the youngest, have returned and were unable to share space, were unable to share toys and resources. And that is a massive challenge because of Covid.

“And actually, more than one headteacher has used the word ‘feral’, in terms of behaviour. Pupils returned in a state in which they really had to be managed in a completely different way, on a scale that schools haven’t had to do before.”

Sarah Olney, Liberal Democrat MP for Richmond Park, said: “As I’m speaking to headteachers, I’m hearing all sorts of stories. They’re telling me about the new Reception class that started in September 2021, these four- and five-year-olds, so much of their lives have been spent in lockdown that they’re suffering extreme separation anxiety from their parents.”

She added: “And as we go up through primary school age, what we’re finding is in the older years the ones who had two years at home sat in front of laptops, they’re finding it really difficult to play with each other. Young people, small boys don’t know how to play football in the playground any more.

“I don’t know about anyone else, it’s these little details – particularly as the mother of an eight-year-old son – that I find really distressing: the thought that our young people don’t know how to play with each other, they don’t know how to share in the classroom, they don’t know how to talk to each other.”

Several MPs raised the possibility of extending the school day to deal with the impact of the coronavirus on children’s learning.

In the US:

Many families report that the stress of the pandemic has led to a poorer diet in children with an increase in the consumption of sweet and fried foods. Shelter at home orders and online education have led to fewer exercise opportunities.

Research carried out by Ammar and colleagues found that daily sitting had increased from 5 to 8 hours a day and binge eating, snacking, and the number of meals were all significantly increased owing to lockdown conditions and stay-at-home initiatives. There is growing evidence in both animal and human models that diets high in sugar and fat can play a detrimental role in cognition and should be of increased concern in light of the pandemic.

Spell Diabetes!

In Thailand:

Even before the pandemic, less than six in 10 children in Grades 2 and 3 in Thailand had basic reading skills, and just under half had basic numeracy skills, according to the 2019 Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey by the National Statistical Office and United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef).

A recent study by the Equitable Education Fund, with the Office of the Basic Education Commission, Department of Local Administration and police, found about 40,000 low-income students in Grades 6 and 9 in Thailand reported they were at risk of dropping out or not pursuing further education.

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Thai students, especially the most disadvantaged, will need help catching up on lost learning since early 2020, and teachers will need help in teaching critically important remedial programmes. The UN and the Equitable Education Fund will jointly assess children’s learning recovery needs in the worst- affected provinces, with the intention of designing closely-tailored support for both students and teachers.

The urgency for providing support and services at school for the physical and mental well-being of students is more acute than ever. More than seven in 10 young people in Thailand are experiencing stress, worry and anxiety over family income loss and disrupted learning.

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A survey of nearly 190,000 adolescents conducted by the Thailand Department of Mental Health from January of 2020 from last month indicates that 32% are at risk of depression; perhaps even more alarming, 22% are at risk of committing suicide.

If we hesitate any longer, we risk worsening the chances for children to ever recover from an already daunting educational calamity.

Is the the world our elderly wanted to leave behind for their children? Given a choice we think most elderly, whom society was really protecting, would have rather carried on as normal and thought the measures during covid were too much!

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