The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.

Collective efforts needed to tackle COVID-19 impacts on current school year

Afghanistan reopened schools at all levels on Saturday after Ministry of Public Health authorities claimed the country surmounted the first wave of the novel coronavirus outbreak.
The Ministry of Education announced that all public-school students from grades 1 to 10 would again start going to their schools, where hygiene measures will be ensured to avoid contracting COVID-19.
Last month, the government only allowed private schools, as well as the 11th and 12th grades in public schools, to re-open. The Ministry said the extended closure was due to a lack of facilities and the large numbers of students in these schools amid fears of the virus.
Hundreds of thousands of students went to their schools for the first time on Saturday since winter holidays in December 2019, which were supposed to end in March 2020. However, the schools were kept closed following a government move in March until Oct. 3.
According to official statistics, there are currently roughly 16,500 public schools across the country, of which 6,211 are primary schools and 3,856 are secondary schools. These serve over 5 million primary-level and nearly 3 million secondary-level students.
The upheaval caused by the novel coronavirus around the world is highly critical and needs a worldwide campaign against it. Peopled are highly worried about the threat the COVID-19 has posed to the world, including Afghanistan, as the situation has been declared a pandemic.
The COVID-19 pandemic has created the largest disruption of education systems in history, affecting nearly 1.6 billion learners in more than 190 countries and all continents. Closures of schools and other learning spaces have impacted 94 per cent of the world’s student population, up to 99 per cent in low and lower-middle income countries, including Afghanistan.
Education is not only a fundamental human right. It is an enabling right with direct impact on the realization of all other human rights. It is a global common good and a primary driver of progress across all 17 Sustainable Development Goals as a bedrock of just, equal, inclusive peaceful societies. When education systems collapse, peace, prosperous and productive societies cannot be sustained.
Despite all many challenges at the COVID-19 era, the efforts of Afghan government and the Ministry of Education in Afghanistan are appreciated – especially in developing hundreds of hours of audio and video-based content for all 12 grades of general education and making those available via the internet and radio and television channels. While not much could be done to close the educational gap between the rich and the poor at this stage, there is still enough time to save the current school year and turn the crisis into an opportunity.
Besides schools, families with better literacy level can help their children to cover their lessons and fill the gaps of five months closure of educational institutions. The current school year has badly impacted by the virus outbreak, and the only way to tackle its consequences, is that families and the communities join hand and make collective efforts together with the Ministry of Education in successful implementation of the curriculum this year.

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The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.