Many Thai families 'not equipped' for online school switch

Many Thai families 'not equipped' for online school switch

More than half of Thai families are not adequately equipped for their children to receive online education, a report revealed on the same day the United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef) released its own joint reflection on the impact of Covid-19 on education.

Unicef and the World Bank on Tuesday launched "Where are we on education recovery", revealing that students all over the world are facing learning difficulties due to school closures throughout the outbreak.

"With a combined 2 trillion hours of in-person schooling lost due to school closures since March 2020, students in more than four out of five countries have fallen behind in their learning. Less well-off children have seen their learning falling back," Unesco Assistant Director-General for Education Stefania Giannini said.

"In particular, the most marginalised -- those living in poverty and rural areas, children with disabilities, and the youngest students -- have fallen the furthest behind."

Ms Giannini insisted that due to the school shutdown, basic, foundational skills upon which every aspect of education is built have been erased in many countries.

"Children who were poised to start school for the first time never got the chance to learn these skills in the first place, as early childhood education disappeared in most countries," she said.

Without urgent remedial action, she cautioned that this could carry serious lifelong consequences in terms of health and well-being, future learning and employment as this group reaches adulthood.

With the pandemic entering its third year, 23 countries -- home to around 405 million schoolchildren -- are yet to fully reopen their schools.

Meanwhile, in Thailand, a survey by the National Statistical Office in 2020 revealed that more than half of Thai families are not ready to educate their offspring at home, as 51% of them lacked the equipment, 26% did not even have internet access, and 40% of parents did not have time to assist their children with participating in the online classes.

In order to mitigate this problem, the Representative for Unicef Thailand Kyungsun Kim said it has been working with the Ministry of Education and allied agencies to reverse this worrying trend.

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