The coronavirus pandemic is disrupting the education of an eye-popping 849.4 million people worldwide, the monitoring arm of the United Nations’ Cultural and Education Agency, UNESCO, said on Wednesday.
Schools, nurseries and universities are now closed in 113 countries across the globe to contain the spread of coronavirus, suspending learning for hundreds of millions of children, youth and adults.
Of those, 102 countries have closed all educational institutions nationwide, while a further 11 have closed schools in some regions, according to UNESCO monitoring.
Millions more would be affected should those 11 countries decide to shutter all schools, the UN agency said.
In China, where the coronavirus outbreak originated in December, some selected schools have begun to re-open as the daily number of reported cases begins to fall.
The majority remain closed, however, disrupting the learning of 233.2 million school children and 45.3 million university students in China alone, UNESCO figures showed.
India, which has the world’s second largest school system after China, has so far only opted to close schools in some regions.
UNESCO said it was supporting countries with distance learning and other solutions to minimise the disruption as the global coronavirus crisis continues.