Fair access to online learning, safe schools reopen: students urge MPs on World Children’s Day

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On World Children’s Day, students focused on resuming learning after dropping out of school during the COVID-19 pandemic and urged parliamentarians to reopen schools in full. security and take action to bridge the digital divide. On the occasion of World Children’s Day, the Parliamentary Group for Children (PGC) in partnership with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in India convened on Saturday a virtual “Children’s Parliament” in presence of 35 MPs, including PGC President and Congress MP Gaurav Gogoi and officials Dr Sanjay Jaiswal (BJP) and Dr Heena Gavit (BJP).

PGC is a platform that brings together, informs and engages MPs from all states and political affiliations on children’s rights. The children presented a nine-point charter of demands to the parliamentarian, urging them to take action to support their recovery to learning.

The Children’s Charter of Claims emphasized the safe reopening of schools as well as equitable access to online learning, reducing the size of the program and prioritizing immunization of children. Representing 1,500 children from 16 states, 14 children shared their experiences of lost learning and the challenges they faced due to prolonged school closures during the pandemic.

Kritika, a 15-year-old student from Delhi who facilitated the Charter of Claims presentation, said: “My peers and I have faced various challenges in education. Today, we are grateful that parliamentarians have come here to listen to our demands. According to UNICEF, the prolonged closure of schools affected not only education but also the physical and psychological well-being of children. Online learning was not accessible to everyone.

A UNICEF survey on the state of learning during the pandemic found that just over 10% of students surveyed did not have access to a smartphone inside or outside their home . It was also found that almost 45 percent of children who did not use any distance learning opportunity knew absolutely no resources from which they could learn. This underlines the critical importance of schools as a physical space for learning.

According to the UNICEF rapid assessment conducted in six states in 2020 – Assam, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh, 76 percent of parents of children aged 5 to 13 and 80 percent of adolescents between 14-18 years, said they learned less than when they learned at school. Addressing the session, Yasumasa Kimura, UNICEF India Representative, said: “The global pandemic has impacted children in many ways – education being a critical area, as is nutrition, immunization, mental and physical health and child protection. As we hope to recover from nearly two years of the pandemic that has deprived the school education of countless children, it becomes essential to move forward with a plan to resume education. “

Addressing the session, Gogoi said World Children’s Day reminds us of our commitments and our duty to ensure that children’s hopes, dreams and aspirations remain intact. “As we move forward, I want you to know that we have your best interests at heart. I sincerely hope that the teachings from today guide us to work even harder for the same,” he said. he adds.

Indevar Pandey, Secretary, Ministry of Women and Child Development, Government of India, said the Center strives to create a world in which every child has a safe and healthy childhood. He said the government is committed to protecting children’s futures and must ensure that no child is left behind. Shombi Sharp, United Nations Resident Coordinator in India, said: “India plays a central role in the global quest for children’s rights and the UN is proud to be associated with the achievement of SDG 4 (Quality education) as a force multiplier for the entire 2030 Agenda. “

From National Children’s Day on November 14 to World Children’s Day on November 20, UNICEF has organized a range of activities across India in solidarity with children’s rights. Over two hundred and thirty iconic government buildings and landmarks including the Rashtrapati Bhavan, the North and South Blocks, Parliament and Qutab Minar, the Indian Women Press Corps in New Delhi and other important buildings across India were illuminated blue in November. 19-20, signifying the national celebration of the rights of the child. (ANI)

(This story was not edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)


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